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Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience (1 Peter 3:15b-16a ESV)

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4/20/2004

Truth Claims and Christianity -- Are We Too Exclusive? 

The opening salvo was fired on April 16, on Al Mohler's blog. I try to read this one every so often, since I'm hoping to go to Southern for Seminary this year. The actual fuss started because of a book -- When Religion Becomes Evil: Five Warning Signs by Charles Kimball. Dr. Mohler took exception to a few of the things that Kimball asserted in his book, which indicated that Christianity was far too dogmatic in it's claims to absolute Truth, especially our claim that Jesus Christ is the only Saviour, the only way to get to God and have any hope of Heaven.

Jollyblogger was the first place I read about this, since I had missed Mohler's blog that day. He's got a good number of quotes from that blog, so I won't quote them again here. He also makes the point that the claim that Christ is the Messiah, the olny way to Heaven, is the very foundation of Christianity. Without that, what point is there? There are certainly other faiths that require less devotion, whose rules are less stringent, whose pathway is broader and smoother. If pluralism is true, if there are a multitude of pathways to God, then Christianity is the toughest road to get there.

Today, Walloworld took up the discussion. I love the candy bar analogy that he uses, and he brings up a great point -- the people who are saying "Be more inclusive, don't be so dogmatic" are in reality saying "Hey, you're wrong, we're right. Be more like us! Be more tolerant, and less inclusive -- just like us!". They are ignoring their own claims to absolute truth -- what they believe is the Truth, and we should all follow them!

Everyone has blinders to their own beliefs. None of us recognize our shortcomings automatically; that is why debate is a good thing. Christianity's truth claims, our exclusive "ownership" of the one Way to Heaven, isn't a shortcoming -- it's our strength. As Paul says, without the ressurection of Christ, our preaching and our hope is in vain. Without the Truth that Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Light (not just A way, A truth, or A light), we are nothing more than a bunch of clanging cymbals. When we give up our Truth, when we back down, we lose. And when we stop proclaiming that Truth, unashamedly, everyone loses. Without the Truth of the Gospel, we are just another philosophy that is full of "sound and fury, signifying nothing" (one of my favorite Shakespearian quotes).


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