A very interesting subject often comes up within Christianity but is sometimes raised in a subtle, even sneaky manner. This could be a divisive message for some people, though I suggest that problem is with them not me. That subject is exclusivity, or the exclusiveness of the Christian faith. No matter how many times arguments against it are injected, it is not a new issue. In fact, it has been with us from the beginning.
The first thing to remember, for most people who were either drawn to or matured in their faith, is that exclusivity is an important part of the Christianity message. It wasn’t called the “way” or the road for nothing. But exclusivity has consequences and significance. It makes some people cringe. One reason that matters is it comes from Christians. If it were only from secularists and atheists it would be just another criticism of Christianity.
The whole problem comes in when talking about other religions, whether it’s Hinduism, Buddhism, or Islam etc. But in a nutshell, to take exclusivity out of the equation would mean that it doesn’t matter which religion(or faith) you subscribe to, if basically the same. In application, those of this philosophy say they feel that way – uncomfortable. The effect is to make all beliefs coequal ways. Jesus did not teach that. How long then before people turn that thinking into a consensus of convenience? Then anyone opposing that view, like me, would be the marginalized outliers. That’s how it works in practice.
I apologize for having a habit of repeating myself. But it is a critical point.
II Corinthians 11:4
“For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.”
The real problem is some insist this non-exclusivity is the way it really is, or should be. Some people are just not comfortable with the idea of Christianity as the only, true way. They want to believe there are other ways. They often cite ‘my Father’s house has many mansions’ or ‘judge not lest you be judged’ to make their case. [Jn 14:2 & Mat 7:1]This creates a problem for Christians and Christianity. It is a politically correct view. One does not want to offend others by believing the Christian path, as espoused by Jesus, is the only way. It is inconvenient and makes them uncomfortable.
However, since the beginning of the church and after Christ’s death and resurrection, this exclusive message has been the case. Not accepting Christian exclusivity goes against the grain, fundamentals and the teachings. It’s also a concept inherent in many faiths, in their message. So why are Christians the only ones intimidated and uncomfortable with that tenet of their faith? It doesn’t seem to bother other faiths.
The exclusivity of Christianity is something we must come to terms with though, that is if we believe our own faith. Partly the reason for the issue is because much has been made of it over the years, largely by secularists extorting it for their own gain. The logic goes something like this: ‘sure, everyone thinks that theirs is the only true way and that is the problem. Everyone thinks he/she is right and, thus, believes everyone else is wrong. That is divisive.’ They ask you to alter your belief based on the idea you may offend someone. While you are at it, they insinuate, suspend your belief in who Jesus is too. It’s just the friendlier thing to do. Of course, the problem would then be what Jesus came and died for. He is the fulfillment of prophecy.
Why we are supposedly the only ones who need to accommodate all the others is a question mark for me? Now if you take that exclusive part out of the faith, what do you have? It wouldn’t matter what you believe in whether it is Buddhism or the Hale Bopp comet, if all roads lead to the same place. Now I am not referring here to inter-denominational battles over doctrinal differences. That is a little different. Sure disagreements exist but part of that has to do with the necessary exclusivity. Again, the exclusivity is inherent in the message and our faith. But it is not the problem with it; it is the purpose of it.
Now how we treat people outside of that is another matter. We would like them to find Jesus, certainly not by force or duress. We love them and treat them nice. Then we go out of our way to be non-offensive by bending over backwards until we’re basically saying there is no difference between one religion or the other. That’s the message we are sending. Secularists pounded that drum for years. Whether consciously or unconsciously, that’s the effect of what we are doing.
If we did not believe in exclusivity we wouldn’t be Christians, because that is the message we accept in Christ and are baptized into. No, it is not politically correct.
“Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.”
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword”
I Corinthians 1:23
“but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,”
And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.
It works to the enemies’ favor because then we have, in effect, disarmed ourselves if we no longer believe Christianity is the only true way. (John 24:6) Jesus said to [Thomas], “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me”. So many people make themselves the judge and jury that everyone is right, to avoid thinking others are wrong. It just sounds better and nicer, doesn’t it? Believing others are wrong just doesn’t feel comfortable. And who wants to tell others that the faith they believe or have been raised in is not the correct way? So let’s just remove that.
It’s not only coming from random pews, but from some pulpits and clergy as well. I’m not referring to the non-Christians because they will say what they will anyway. So this puts the problem within the walls of the church, not just outside it. If you are Christian, you should accept the exclusivity of the faith as a reality and come to terms with it.
If believing in exclusivity of Christ was a problem, the disciples were heavily involved in it. And they even died for that purpose. They weren’t suspending their judgement about other religions by preaching in the synagogues. That would have been politically incorrect to do. Jesus didn’t ask Peter if he would die for all the world’s religions. And Christ did not say he himself was irrelevant. But that would be the extension of what people are doing by reducing everything down to a politically correct stew.
Well, all that political correctness…. that was never my cross to bear.
“He is the stone which was rejected by you, The Builders, but which became the chief corner stone. ”And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
1 Corinthians 3:11
“For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
“It’s Not My Cross to Bear” — by Allman Brothers Band 1969
I have not come, yeah, to testify
About our bad, bad misfortune
And I ain’t here a wonderin’ why
But I’ll live on and I’ll be strong
‘Cause it just ain’t my cross to bear
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