A Pluralistic Society
I’m asked the question all the time: How can Jesus be the only way?
Pluralism and competing religious ideas have been a problem for the Christian church since its inception. People wouldn’t have had a problem with Christianity if early Christians had just said, “We follow Jesus, one god among many.” But Christians were persecuted and killed because they took seriously the Scriptures and the words of Jesus that He is the only truth, the only way to get to heaven.
In our multicultural society that emphasizes political correctness, the prevailing opinion is that telling other people what they should believe is wrong. It strikes non-Christians and some Christians as arrogant for Christians to claim there is only one way to God. Just because people don’t believe like us, we’re condemning them to hell? The idea of seemingly nice, kind, good people with different belief systems being separated from God strikes people as profoundly unfair.
In our secular culture, we tend to think of science, math and maybe history as objective, fact-based categories, but religion and morality as subjective categories. That’s why people say, “ Christianity may be true for you, but I have a different truth.” That thinking infiltrates our churches. We have to clarify that when it comes to Christianity, we’re dealing with objective truths about the world that either Jesus was God or He wasn’t. Either the Bible is true or it isn’t.
Christians become more accepting of the ways of the world as we become less astute theologically. I’ve found in dealing with Christians that questions about the perceived unfairness of other religions not getting to heaven tend to wane when people really understand the truths of Christianity—how corrupt human nature is apart from Jesus, why we need Him, why Jesus died upon the cross and what He actually accomplished on the cross.
The local church also needs simply to get out there and engage people of other religions. People in our neighborhoods. People in the work place. Sometimes that may be a specific evangelism effort. Most often it’s simply building relationships with people, listening to them, trying to understand them. In doing so, we earn the right to be heard, and what we say is more specifically tailored to their need.
Notes taken from an undocumented source...