In a speech in Jakarta Indonesia this week, Obama said, “I believe today, that we do have a choice. We can choose to be defined by our differences, and give in to a future of suspicion and mistrust. Or we can choose to do the hard work of forging common ground, and commit ourselves to the steady pursuit of progress.”
Seeking common ground between Islam and Protestantism is a falsity that will have tragic consequences. Seeking common ground between Followers of Jesus and any religion is a falsity that will have eternally devastating consequences.
It is de rigueur now to try and appear to be ‘reasonable minded’ and ‘tolerant’ by spouting pabulum that says we have a starting place from which we can ‘bridge our differences.’ To paraphrase the current cultural conversations, I hear things like “we both believe in Jesus, that’s a good place from which to begin a conversation to find mutual understanding.” Mutual understanding and common ground by definition is a compromise. The definition of common ground is “a basis of mutual interest or agreement.”
Jesus is not a basis from which men debate until they decide they understand enough together to leave it and move on. Jesus did not compromise. He did not come to be common ground, He came to show us the Truth.
Jesus didn’t come to earth and approach the Pharisees and say, Gee, you believe this, and I believe that, so let’s have a conversation and see if we can’t get together on the sum of our parts.” He is ALL the parts. There is only belief in Him. But which Him? What if this common ground you seek is really quicksand?
Catholics believe Jesus lived as the sinless Son of Man, died, and rose again. But they also believe Mary was sinless, that Jesus designated Peter to be Pope, that you can remain in purgatory and be prayed out by your friends and family. In effect, then, they believe that Jesus didn’t finish the job (John 19:30) but that sinful humans can pray a person into heaven, adding to Jesus’ work on the cross. And that our works can get us into heaven, again adding to His work in the cross. In effect, then, they believe Jesus is a liar when He said “it is finished” and we are saved “not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph 2:9)
The same goes for Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists. There is no common ground. The only common ground they share with us is that they are sinners in need of a savior, but the difference is we recognized that fact already and they have not.
Jesus said there is no middle ground. He is about division. Not commonalities.
“I come not to send peace on the earth but a sword.” Mt 10:34
“Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division;” Luke 12:51
“But Jesus said to him, “Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you.” Mark 9:50
“The Jews who heard these words were again divided. 20 Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?” But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?” John 10:19-21
Even when Jesus was walking the earth as a man and speaking directly TO the Pharisees, they either believed, or they didn’t. They were divided. Jesus said repent, or die. (Rev 2:16) Where’s the middle ground in that?
You believe, or you do not. You are His friend, or His enemy. You go to heaven, or you go to hell. You are saved, or you are not. It is either-or. The entire point of the end of the end time is a process that is slowly and inexorably removing middle ground so as to strip false notions away or leave people entrenched in their false notions. Which is why the more the common ground disappears, the more the Powers That Be say we need to find it.
There will be no fence-sitters by the mid-point of the tribulation. The False prophet will force all to receive a mark on their hand or forehead to worship the Beast, and if you do not take the mark because you choose to worship Jesus, you will be beheaded. (Rev 13:16-17; Rev 6:9; Rev 20:4) There will be no “common ground” then, you worship Jesus and live after martyrdom, or worship the beast and die after judgment.
It is my belief that the end of the end time is all about common ground shrinking. Commonality among and between religions will disappear. There will be only all the false religions, and believers in Jesus, with NO COMMON GROUND in between. “And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.'”
Whenever you hear of someone talking of finding “common ground” with someone of another religion you have just heard a man who is seeking to establish truth on sand. (Matthew 7:26). And that never works.