Assumptions - Part 8
In the December 2017 issue of "Christianity Today", Dr. Karl Vaters wrote an article entitled "8 Assumptions Pastors Can't Make in a Post-Christian Culture." We've been considering these assumptions for the past several weeks and today come to the final one. All of us, not just pastors, need to be aware of these things as we seek to glorify God in a secular culture.
The final assumption is this:
An Acceptance of Salvation Through Christ Alone
The author says, "The idea that there are multiple paths to truth is more palatable to post-Christian people than accepting Jesus' claim of exclusivity."
About 15 years ago I was teaching an Inquirers' Class for prospective new members. It was the first class and I asked everyone to introduce themselves and tell us what church they had come from, if any. I was surprised by one man who was coming from a very liberal Presbyterian church in Nashville. I was so curious I put him on the spot and asked, "Why are you visiting our church since we are quite conservative theologically?" His answer was unforgettable: "Our pastor is preaching a sermon series he has entitled, 'Terrible Texts.'" I said, "You mean terrible texts from the Bible?" He nodded affirmatively so I asked, "Like what?" He said, "My wife and I only stayed for one sermon in the series but it was on John 14:6 where Jesus says, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by Me.'"
I'm not often speechless but I was on that occasion. I was so naive! I would have expected to hear that sort of comment from a university professor but this came from a Presbyterian pastor right here in the Bible belt.
In these last 15 years it has become more commonplace for clergy to take issue with Jesus' exclusive claim of salvation. And if clergy take issue with it you can be sure the laity will too. We are told that Jesus' statement was narrow, rigid, arrogant, and too exclusive of other people's beliefs. But Jesus said it! And Jesus meant it! And frankly, I don't think there is anything else worth preaching. Some may complain that Jesus said there is only one way to be saved. I believe we should rejoice that there is a way, albeit only one, for sinners to be saved.
To borrow Augustus Toplady's words:
Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress; helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the Fountain fly; wash me, Savior, or I die.
There is only one way to be saved and that is by faith in Jesus Christ who died for our sins and rose for our justification. May God help us to declare that wonderful gospel to a world that desperately needs to hear it.