Awhile ago, I was with a group of pastors and leaders – a great group of people. As our conversation went on, one of the pastors commented, “Well, I know that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life for me, but I can’t say that for others.” As I swallowed hard and tried to grasp what was just spoken, this person went on to affirm their remark by saying that there is no way to demand this belief of another person.
Prior to that gathering of pastors and leaders, I had another circumstance where someone who pastors a large and influential church, said much the same thing. This leader was questioned about his remark and affirmed that this was his position. Those that challenged him were called, “fundamentalists.” If this is taking place within my limited sphere of influence, I wonder how widespread this line of reasoning might be within what was once defined as the “Bible-believing” American church.
I try not to get angry when I hear remarks like these. I even try to not redefine my personal anger as the anger of God, but something rose up in me when these two shepherds talked this way. If Jesus is only right for you, and you could never bring yourself to infer that He is right for another person – as in, “No one comes to the Father, but through Me”, then someone has made a major departure from what we have known for 2,000 years as Truth. This is, and has become, a big deal.
Think about it, if someone were to adopt this line of thinking, “I know Jesus is right for me, but I could never require that of another person,” then some realities need to be considered.
If Jesus is no longer the Way, the Truth and the Life for all humanity then Buddha is another option. If this is no longer true – why did Jesus not include an expiration date on what He said? If Jesus is no longer all that He said He was, then the Early Church martyrs wasted their lives. If He is only right for you and you could never suggest He is right for someone else, then stop sending money to missionaries because those in a distant land might find another option for salvation in their homeland that will work instead of Jesus.
The next great frontier for what was known as the Bible-believing American church, yours and mine included, will not be some obscure doctrine or worship preference. The next great frontier will be the Divinity of Jesus Christ and the re-affirmation of His exclusivity as the One and only Way of salvation for you, me, and our neighbor next door.