Sunday, May 17, 2009

Teaching Exclusivity

I've mentioned in a previous post that I, along with a classmate here at Loma Linda, have begun leading a Bible study with some kids we met through a tutoring program. Usually we'll take them out to eat at a place like McDonald's and go through a short passage. We've tried to keep the messages fairly simple for these boys who haven't yet committed their lives to Christ and we've focused on some basics like the Creation, the Fall and its consequences and the nature of Christ, His mission, and our need for Him. These kids have short attention spans so the last couple of weeks we've just looked at one or two verses. This week our verse was John 14:6, "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'"

After reading the verse we asked them if they thought all religions were equally true or if they thought all religions might lead to God. I was surprised that their answers were strongly negative considering the post-modern world they're growing up in. Today it also struck me that this was one of the most counter-cultural messages we've given. Sure, evolutionists would probably disagree with the way we taught about Creation, materialists wouldn't like the way we've talked about the miracles of Christ and liberals would be angered by the penal substitution view of the atonement we continually present but this message could probably inspire the most vehement disagreement, even from those claiming to be Christians.

After they affirmed that not all religions were equally true and they don't all lead to God I asked them why it is that we should believe that. I didn't get a quick answer so I explained that the reason was because Christ himself taught that. When we affirm that other religions could be equally true or could give any merit before God in coming to salvation we dishonor Christ. His is the only merit in the universe by which man can be saved. Peter affirmed this truth before the rulers, elders and scribes in Jerusalem when he said, "This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 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 4:11-12)."

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