September 20, 2020
I preach sermons. Every Sunday morning, I work my way verse-by-verse through passages of Scripture and even entire books of the Bible. It took me two and a half years to complete the Gospel of Luke. For the past seven years, each of sermon was recorded and posted on the Calvary East YouTube channel. But this fall I am doing something a bit different.
Today I begin a series called, “Finding Your Way in the Religious Maze.” I have taught the series in classroom settings on four occasions in the past. But I have always wanted to take it to a different level by interviewing people from the various world religions and branches of Christianity. I can quote what others say about a group’s beliefs, but its much more powerful to hear it first hand from a devoted practitioner. So, I have begun recording interviews on camera, so that I will have clips to use throughout this series.
Interactions between people of different faiths typically fall into two categories. Some are heated debates in which participants speak over one another without listening. They may even distort the other side’s views to make their point. Then there are other events designed to cultivate ecumenical unity by dimming the lights on any differences. They end up obscuring people’s understanding. But my goal is to conduct respectful interviews to gain a more accurate knowledge of a person’s beliefs. I will then take the opportunity to show how the substance of his or her beliefs compare with the teaching of the Bible. I believe that this contrast will help Christians deepen their grasp on biblical truth. Our polarized culture needs to learn how to interact this way.
Preachers seldom achieve this tone. When we speak to a large group, we project our voice even though we use microphones. But we are also tempted to exaggerate ideas and emotions. I strive to resist this. I want people to respond to truth from God’s Word, not to emotional manipulation.
I believe that creating a podcast of these messages will allow me to take this approach a step farther. I will present “Finding Your Way in the Religious Maze” from the pulpit on Sunday morning. But I will also record each session in private in a more conversational tone. My hope is that it might reach those would not enter a church.
I have created a website for the series—religiousmaze.org. Each episode will be posted there, but you will also find them on popular podcast apps like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher. The full interviews will also be available on a “Finding Your Way in the Religious Maze” YouTube channel.
So, please pray that God would open doors for me to complete all the interviews for the series, and that he would use these messages to lead people to himself. If you know someone who might be open to it, please let them know about this series. Perhaps it would open up an opportunity for you to interact with them further.
– Bryan Craddock