The Challenge of Pluralism II

Earlier, I mentioned that Christianity is inherently exclusive. I thought it might be good to expand on this for clarity sake. I mentioned that today the common mindset is that no one religion is true. People use the analogy that we are all climbing the same mountain, and there are many paths that eventually reach the top. After all, even Oprah says there couldn't possibly only be one way! Sadly though, many Christians believe the same thing. Even Billy Graham has compromised the gospel. One wonders why he has used all the time and energy he has trying to convert people to Christianity, if their own religion or lack thereof would have been sufficient to get them to heaven in the first place. Billy, and Joel say the answer is in God's hands not ours. The only problem is that God has revealed himself quite clearly on this very issue.

Also today the popularity of the emergent church is ever increasing. I actually have a lot of agreement with some of the insights of the emerging church, but not the emergent movement (McLaren and the Emergent Village guys). This is really nothing new though. Friedrich Schleiermacher, the father of liberal theology, was doing the same thing 200 years ago: compromising Scripture in order to better engage culture. The difference is the new guys are no longer engaging modernism and now they sport goatees.

The fact of the matter is that the Christian faith is clearly exclusive. When you take Scripture on its own terms without imposing a foreign (usually man-centered) worldview on the text, you will see that God alone provides salvation and restoration and he does so through the person and work of Jesus Christ. He is the center of all history, and he will wrap it all up at the end and establish the new earth. Three texts are explicitly clear:

John 14:6: Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Acts 4:12: And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

1 Tim 2:5: For there is one God and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus

Those who care more about pleasing men than pleasing God can try to twist them as they may, but it is very difficult to do so without having to do exegetical cartwheels around these texts. Faith in Jesus Christ is necessary for inheriting the new creation. Jesus does not save people without their knowing it, contra Billy Graham. People complain that this message is arrogant, and narrow but we cannot compromise the teachings of Jesus to please people. Jesus himself told us the way is narrow and those who find it are few (Matt 7:13-14). We must understand 'fairness' in a God-centered way. Will we take him at his word, or construe a Jesus in our own image who fits into the postmodern context easier? Christians, know the Christian worldview deeply and read the newspaper with a Bible right beside you. Master the meta-narrative that Scripture presents. This message must be taught, and shared, with fear and trembling, and with tears in our eyes.