Would your kids like this world map?" my friend Steve asked the plumber. Steve and Kathy were redecorating.

"That map?" the plumber chuckled and shook his head. "No, my kids' world is all mapped out. The video store, the 7-Eleven, school, home. That's their map."

Does that sound familiar? The office, church, the mall, the gym … . In the confusing world of the 1990s, with multiple cultures and multiple religions, some evangelicals are drawing small maps and staying within fixed boundaries.

Others go to the opposite extreme, muddling cultures and faiths.

"Well, I don't want to be racially prejudiced," they argue, "so I can't judge Muslims, can I?"

The virus of universalism spreads silently through our churches like an epidemic.

How should we relate to the people of other religions who appear on our maps-both world maps and city maps?


I have been blessed by people of various faiths. From Buddhists, for example, I have learned to be more sensitive to suffering and paradox. From Confucianists I have learned to pay attention to my roots. And I have learned more of the value of courtesy. With animists I have seen that the supernatural permeates every area of life. Muslims have awed me by their reverence for God, their prayer-surrounded life, their emphasis that faith must be expressed publicly, and their focus on ethics.

It was the Muslim representative who spoke up in support of prayer in schools in a recent public forum in Seattle. God the Creator should be honored every day in school, he argued: Couldn't we agree on that?

There are beautiful qualities in these religions. And yet, in the end, if a faith does not lead to God in Christ, it is missing something right at the core. If it does not lead to God taking on ...

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