The Washington National Cathedral, in its commemoration of the 10th anniversary of 9/11, has deliberately and carefully excluded evangelicals from their multi-religious commemoration. The service includes Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims, but not evangelical Christians. Mind you, I am opposed to interfaith services in any shape or form and that is why, in a previous blog,I stated that I was relieved that the Mayor of New York spared us the agony of watching the One, True God of the Bible “worshipped” alongside false gods.
The National Cathedral is a member of the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation. Having served as an Episcopal Priest in the past for a number of years, the fact that they have excluded evangelicals from their service did not come as a surprise to me at all. Twenty-five years ago, I was one of only a few evangelicals left in that denomination and some of my colleagues labeled me as “narrow-minded” and “intolerant”. What was my sin? I took Jesus at His word and believed that He and He alone – by dying on the cross and rising again – is the only way to the Father and eternal life in Heaven for all people of all races and religions.
For believing Jesus’ own claim that He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), I was called “intolerant”. Never mind over 500 years of Anglican history that proclaimed these truths and enshrined them in its Thirty-Nine Articles of Faith. Never mind the many Anglican martyrs who have died defending this truth.
I remember asking the question once, “If you are so eager to preach the gospel of tolerance, how about tolerating me as a Bible-believing Anglican?” A senior clergyman who I was very fond of whispered in my ear in jest, “We use intolerance to shut up people like you so that we can get our agenda through.” I remember thanking him for his honesty.