With any analogy, if you push it too far, it eventually breaks down. I’ll admit before I begin that this analogy is only meant to go so far but here goes.
In the game of Monopoly, you’re never really out of the game until you’re bankrupt. If you keep rolling bad numbers, ending up in jail, drawing bad cards, you’re still part of the game. You still get a turn, you still collect rent when people land on your space. Not until you are completely bankrupt are you actually out of the game. I realize that in the game, a lot of chance plays a factor so that is where this analogy breaks down, but stick with me on the first part.
In the “Game of Faith”, once you are part of the game, you’re never out of the game. Once you have accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, acknowledged Him as part of the trinity, part of and equal to God… you’re ‘in the game’. This great thing about this game is that nobody can make you go bankrupt. Jesus said, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:28) You may still have to pay rent, draw bad cards, even go to jail, but you will always remain in the game.
So, what’s the point of this limited analogy you ask? I believe sometimes people can get too tied up in minor details that they begin to miss the big picture. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe that ‘all religions are the same’ or even that ‘all denominations are the same’. There are legitimate and significant differences between them all. But the things that separate them fall into two categories, critical and influential.
“I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30)
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1)
“who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped” (Philippians 2:6)
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6)
Jesus is absolutely God. No question and no alternative. Accepting these facts (shown in way more than these 4 quotes) is critical to accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior. There is no salvation, no eternal life without accepting these facts.
There are tons of religions, cultures and philosophies that do not accept this. We should be of the business of praying for and evangelizing too these groups of people.
Within all the groups and denominations that accept the facts above, there is great decent about many topics beyond. How to worship, baptize, pray, take communion, celebrate, serve, etc. Deep theological discussions can be had, citing biblical references to support each. Arguments can be made back and forth about the faults or errors of one interpretation or another. But the fact remains that NONE of these have impact on salvation but they CAN impact your evangelistic potential.
When it comes to the critical differences above, you should not bend or flex one single bit. There is no room for argument how WHO Jesus is and what role He should play in your life. You should stand absolutely firm on these facts. However, it’s not a bad idea to maintain a bit of flexibility on many other aspects.
When Paul explained to the Corinthians that he became all things to all people (in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23) he was showing flexibility, but for what purpose? So that “by all means I might save some” (v 22). Paul never wavered on who Christ is, but he was willing to bend and be like those under the law or outside the law in order to relate and connect with them.
Do you think if Paul was absolute hard core about every little aspect he would have won so many to Christ? Likewise, do you think that if Paul ever did waver on who Christ is, that Christ would have used him for such a huge mission?
“Be imitators of [Paul], as [Paul is] of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1)
Never waver on Who Chris is, but be willing to flex and bend on non salvation issues so that you may connect and win others to Christ.