Pluralism & Christianity

One of the most offensive claims of Christianity to modern people is that Jesus is the only way to be reconciled to God.  We're encouraged within the church and without to update the Gospel to a contemporary world.  Drop this offensive element because we have to make it more palatable to modern people.

I heard Timothy Keller make a great point.  It's rather obvious, but I've never heard anyone make it plainly before.  Christianity was born in a pluralistic society.  This is nothing modern.  And if it began in a pluralist society with that narrow claim, there's nothing about contemporary circumstances that should motivate us to change it.

First century Judea was a Roman colony.  The Romans told Christians they could worship their Jesus as long as they also called Caesar Lord.  They didn't do it and paid with their lives.  Paul preached on Mars Hill to people who believed in a variety of gods, and He told them who the one true God was.  Even ancient Israel lived in a pluralistic society with Canaanites deities and Egyptian gods, but they were people of the One True God.

There's nothing new about religious pluralism.  And there's nothing new about the pressures from culture to compromise the central truth of Christianity that there is one God and Jesus, His Son, is the only one who can reconcile us with Himself.

And what is the modern pluralist appeal based on? The fact-faith divide, which is a European Enlightenment idea, which pretty much only western white people believe.  How narrow and imperialist is that!

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Melinda Penner

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