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Buffet-Line Religion

A few days ago I had a lunch appointment with a group of church planters connected with my church. One of them was supposed to cook for us but there was a miscommunication and we were forced to find a restaurant where we could eat. We ended up heading to Pizza Hut for their all-you-can-eat lunch buffet. In case you are not familiar with their lunch special, I’ll give the details. In the middle of the room is a cart, and sitting on this cart are all different varieties of pizza. There are also a few types of salad and bread available. They usually also have dessert pizza which surprisingly is not quite as disgusting as it sounds. The pizza is cut into miniscule slices and the plates are equally tiny. This is geared, of course, at limiting the amount you can eat.

I watched with amusement as the guys filled the tiny little plates with slices of pizza. One of them is on the Atkins Diet, so he stacked at least half a pizza on his plate and as soon as he returned to the table, proceeded to pull all of cheese and toppings from the pizza. He then threw all the crust in the trash and ate only the cheese and toppings before returning to the cart for another round.

It occurred to me as I sat there munching my pizza that many people treat religion in general and Christianity in particular much like that buffet. They stand back and survey the religious options and then choose a bit of this one and a bit of that one. They might like Jesus’ teaching about loving your neighbor, so they’ll add that to their plate, but when it comes to his teaching about sin and damnation, well, they just leave that one sitting on the cart. Then their eye catches a glimpse of Hinduism and the teaching about reincarnation, and again, that gets shoveled onto their plate. They pick and choose, adopting the parts they like and rejecting those they don’t.

But what of truth and what of absolute standards? Surely one of those religions must be superior to the others or hold the keys to truth! But no, people prefer to believe that there is truth to be found in any and all religions, regardless of how those religions may contradict or condemn each other.

Jesus did not allow for buffet-line religion. He said “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” When it comes to Jesus, we have to take Him as He is, and that means taking all of Him – the parts we like as well as the parts we may not like.

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