Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Exclusivity of Jesus

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

“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.”  Acts 4:12

Nothing is more repugnant to the offspring of postmodernism than the proclamation of an exclusive gospel.  The children of tolerance desire truth to be inclusive.  “Let us not divide humanity into sinners and saints.  Let us include and affirm everyone equally,” says their creed.  Yet they never seem to consider the stubborn fact that truth is necessarily exclusive.  Whenever we say that something is true, we also exclude an indefinite number of other propositions that must be false.  For example, when I say that two plus two equals four, I also mean that it is not five or six or a whole list of other numbers that are not four.  Truth claims always exclude counterclaims; for that is the essence of a truth claim.  This even applies to the ridiculous claim that truth is inclusive; for it excludes the notion that truth is exclusive.  Therefore, we can see that the denial of exclusive truth claims necessarily assumes agnosticism about truth itself.  No one knows the truth; so we dare not assert it with confidence.  This explains why people now speak of “epistemic humility” (translation: humility about what you claim to know).  The postmodern world has made us skeptical about the possibility of knowing anything.  And we are no better for it because if this were so, then we could not know that we cannot know anything.  Thus we see that postmodernism has contained within it the seeds of its own destruction.  Enter the Lord Jesus Christ who claims to be the truth.  The proleptically postmodern sensibilities of Pilate may cause him to query, “What is truth?”  Regardless, Jesus proclaims to be the way, the truth, and the life.  We should observe that Jesus did not claim to be a truth or a way or a life.  He claimed to be the truth, the way, and the life.  He intended to communicate that he was the exclusive truth, way, and life.  This means that the other ways are false ways.  With these words our Lord excludes all other philosophies and religions as false.  The language of the apostles is a lucid negation: “There is no other name under heaven.”  His name is the only name.  Salvation from sin and death are found in him alone.  Despite the clarity of Jesus and his apostles on this matter, ivory tower theologues have sought to adjust teaching in order to accommodate postmodern sensibilities.  They have argued for a universalism that teaches that all people will eventually be saved.  “Love wins,” they say.  Obviously, this is appealing because it conveniently discards the just wrath of God and the unspeakable thought of an eternal hell.  Many American already believe that all people go to heaven.  After all, “God is a loving God who would never send a good person to hell.”  The Christian scratches his head and wonders where he might find this hypothetical good person.  Another corruption of the simple truth of Scripture on this matter is inclusivism.  This is sneakier than universalism as it claims that Jesus will save some good people out of other religions and philosophies without their knowing it.  Some inclusivists refer to “anonymous Christians.”  So in their minds they are able to maintain that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.  A person may benefit from this truth yet not know it.  Now this is a distortion of the biblical gospel that calls for repentance and faith.  But they overlook the obvious and stubborn fact that the Bible tells us that Jesus must be acknowledged.  There are no “anonymous Christians.”  Those who are Christians know that they are Christians.  They know Jesus by faith.  No Muslim is saved by being a follower of Muhammad.  No Jew is saved by obeying the works of Moses.  No Buddhist is saved by applying the principles of Buddha.  There is no other name.  The name is the means by which Jesus is known.  A bold person will ask, “Does this mean that those who have never heard the good news of Jesus are perishing in their sins?”  Absolutely.  Let me ask you, “Why would we send missionaries if they were going to heaven for not knowing?  If not knowing means heaven, then why would we give them the possibility of knowing and rejecting and then reversing their blessed condition?”  The first three chapters of Romans teach us that God’s creation and their conscience reveal enough truth to condemn them.  General revelation is to damn them, not enough to save them.  We have the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.  The gospel alone is the hope of those who have never heard.  So let us take them the gospel!  Let us pray for their salvation!  Let us support missionaries!  If we are called, let us go to the place where they have never heard and lay down our lives for the gospel!  To be sure, this is not an easy doctrine, but it is the truth; and if it is the truth, we should respond to it accordingly.  We may not like the truth, but the truth is a stubborn thing.  The exclusivity of Jesus is a stubborn reality and a glorious one.  Jesus Christ alone suffered and died on the cross for the sins of the world.  He alone rose again and ascended to the right hand of his Father in heaven.  He alone rules the universe as the Lord of heaven and earth.  He alone shall return to judge the living and the dead.   This truth may be denied, but it cannot be changed.  So who dare deny it?  It is truth.  Let us keep this great truth in mind today.  Your co-workers, classmates, and neighbors cannot find their way to God in any other way but Jesus.  They cannot be good enough for God.  They cannot be ignorant enough to excuse their sin.  Their only hope is the name of Jesus.  You know his name.  Shall you be silent?  Dare you be silent?  “There is no other name under heaven.”  “There is salvation in no one else.”     

1 comment:

  1. Well said, Pastor Logan. Thank you for unashamedly proclaiming the Truth!