Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
April 17, 2000
Jesus saw only one way to salvation
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
Several hundred Christians, Jews, and Muslims gathered for a conference in Edmonton last month to discuss understanding and cooperation among the three faiths. While this is a commendable initiative in general, the syncretistic stance assumed by those who spoke for Christianity was not.
Leonard Swidler, a professor of Catholic thought at Temple University in Philadelphia, is quoted by the WCR expressing the un-Catholic thought that "(Christians) need to turn from their imperialistic convert-making among Muslims, Hindus and other religious peoples to turn toward bearing witness to Jesus Christ by their lives and words, toward helping Muslims be better Muslims and Hindus better Hindus."
Oblate Brother Mark Hawgood said he was impressed by the concept of a "plurality of salvation" and the Jewish assertion that "salvation is tied to our behaviour."
However, Christians who advocate syncretism contradict the message Christ preached. "A plurality of salvation" may appeal to a liberal, humanistic culture obsessed with multiculturalism and universality, but it is not Christianity.
"All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth," the risen Christ told his disciples. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you."
Pope John Paul recently addressed this issue in a talk to the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, noting that "in some ecclesial environments, a mentality has arisen over the last few years that tends to relativize Christ's revelation and his unique and universal mediation in regard to salvation."
If this is permitted, said the pope, the Church would also lose her reason for existing because she would no longer be "the universal sacrament of salvation."
"It is against the faith of the Church to hold the thesis on the limited character of Christ's revelation, which would find its complement in other religions," the pope continued, recalling that Jesus established "his Church as a salvific reality: as his body, through which he himself acts in the history of salvation."
"Therefore, it is an error to consider the Church as one more road to salvation together with that of other religions, which would be complementary to the Church," said the pope. "Consequently, a certain mentality of indifference characterized by religious relativism that leads to believing that religions are equivalent among themselves, must be excluded."
That is neither pluralistic nor politically correct, but it is bona fide Christian doctrine, as contrasted with the revisionist babble emitting from theological liberals like Anglican Bishops Desmond Tutu of South Africa and Canada's Michael Ingham.
"On earth we learn how to discover home, and each faith leads its adherents homeward," declares Tutu. "We must learn here how to live together among those with whom we will spend eternity.
"How can we arrogantly claim that ours is the only way and not learn to remove our shoes as we stand on what others consider to be holy ground, where they catch their glimpse of the Eternal, the Inscrutable, the Holy, the Compassionate, the Gracious One?"
Unfortunately for Tutu and those he misleads, he is calling Jesus Christ "arrogant" in that statement. Jesus said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
In his latest Christmas message, Ingham proclaims:
"I can imagine a time when the founders and saints of all the traditions - Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Guru Nanak and so on - are honoured and cherished in all of them. I foresee the day when powerful religious elites will have to became servants again of self-determining religious communities, and the intellectual Berlin Walls, erected by guardians of dogmatic orthodoxies, will come tumbling down at the hands of ordinary believers."
Once again, pure, distilled, liberal humanism, but nothing remotely resembling the message of Christ and his Apostles.
God is the final judge, and what he will do with those of other faiths who have not heard the Christian Gospel, or who have heard it and rejected it, we can safely leave up to him. However, Tutu, Ingham and the pluralists at Edmonton are affirming that all religions are equal, which amounts to an abject denial of Christ's Incarnation and resurrection as the sole agents of human salvation.
In short, if Jesus Christ was not God; if he did not rise from the dead on Easter, as St. Paul put it, our preaching is in vain, our faith is futile, and we are of all men most pitiable. On the other hand, if Jesus really did rise from the dead, then everyone would be well-advised to get with the program. That is the choice. "What think ye of Christ?"
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