Following Twain’s Divine Law

Some New Englanders are in tune with the divine law of their fellow New Englander, Mark Twain.

Several Christian denominations see New England as a “mission field” — a term often associated with unchurched, foreign lands. As they evangelize and work to plant new churches, they speak of possibility, but also frustration. The area’s highly educated population is skeptical and often indifferent to their faith. [MSNBC, emphasis added]

For it was Twain who said,

Ye shall be indifferent as to what your neighbor’s religion is. Not merely tolerant of it, but indifferent to it. Divinity is claimed for many religions; but no religion is great enough or divine enough to add that new law to its code. [apud Paine, Mark Twain: a Biography]

Others, in support of Twain’s observation about the divinity of religions, are having trouble with his new law.

“You look at this area and it’s a great area of potential, it’s a great area of need,” said Redeemer Fellowship pastor Chris Bass, a Houston native.
Several Christian denominations see New England as a “mission field” — a term often associated with unchurched, foreign lands. As they evangelize and work to plant new churches, they speak of possibility, but also frustration. The area’s highly educated population is skeptical and often indifferent to their faith. [MSNBC]

But it doesn’t end with the unchurched.

Several groups trying to re-ignite New England’s faith are theologically conservative, such as the Southern Baptists, Presbyterian Church in America and the Conservative Baptists’ Mission Northeast. They say a reason for the region’s hollowed-out faith is a pervasive theology that departs from traditional Biblical interpretation on issues such as the divinity of Jesus, the exclusivity of Christianity as a path to salvation and homosexuality.
The Rev. Wes Pastor, head of the NETS Institute for Church Planting in Williston, Vt., said New England’s liberal mainline denominations, such as the United Church of Christ and the Episcopal Church, have been practicing a “different religion.”
“I’m not saying it to be snooty, but they have a different belief system and that belief system … is a profound departure from historic Christianity,” said Pastor, whose group trained Bass and supports his Baptist church. [MSNBC]

I call upon The Rev. Pastor and The Rev. Bass and all others who claim to be or even seek to be reverent to follow the simple commandment from that great American theologian, Mark Twain. Be indifferent to your neighbor’s religion.
By the way, I am a little baffled by the minimal creed, “divinity of Jesus, the exclusivity of Christianity as a path to salvation and homosexuality.” I’d have thought that it should read “divinity of Jesus, the exclusivity of Christianity as a path to salvation and homophobia.” Hmmm