Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 18, 2005
Yes, Jesus is the only saviour
Christianity says Jesus is the truth
My Glass is Half Full
By MARK PICKUP
Recently, the Associated Press interviewed James R. Edwards about his new book, Is Jesus the Only Savior? (Eerdmans). Edwards' answer is an emphatic "Yes." It's not the sort of answer to ingratiate him to the World Council of Churches, of which his denomination is a part.
Edwards is a Presbyterian minister and chairman of theology at the Presbyterian Whitworth College in Spokane Wash. An Internet book review of Is Jesus the Only Savior? says:
"After tracing the currents of modernity from the Enlightenment to the Jesus Seminar, Edwards contends the assumptions of most skeptical historical-Jesus scholars are no more intellectually defensible than the claims of faith.
He then assembles extensive support to show Jesus considered himself the unique and saving mission of God to the world.
The belief that Jesus Christ alone is the saviour of humanity and the only way to salvation has been a foundational tenet of Christianity from its beginning.
At the Last Supper, Jesus spoke to his disciples about the way to heaven. He said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6.) Jesus went on to promise "I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept" (verse 16-17).
After Christ's Ascension, Peter (the first pope) was filled with the Holy Spirit (as promised) and proclaimed this about Jesus: "There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved" (Acts 4:12).
Pretty clear, pretty exclusive. St. Timothy was equally clear: "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5).
This sort of message is not generally welcome in our age of pseudo-pluralism where truth is relative and people like to hear about many paths to God. But if the testimony of Jesus, Peter and Timothy are to be believed, this is not true. The only way to God is through Jesus Christ.
Should I believe those who espouse that all religions are basically the same and there are many paths to God, or should I believe Jesus, Sts. Peter and Timothy. Hmmm, I wonder who it will be ?
Truth is rarely fashionable-but it is knowable.
Pope Benedict XVI has stated this in his book Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions (Ignatius). The truth is knowable because Jesus Christ is truth and he is the saviour of the world.
Many people in the 21st century no longer accept that there is such a thing as truth, and certainly no such thing as absolute truth. To them, the only absolute truth is that there is no absolute truth - there's no right and wrong, only opinions.
All ethics are situational. (Actually, if there's no such thing as right and wrong then the concept of ethics is meaningless.) Everybody is tolerant of everything; the only thing not to be tolerated is intolerance.
People must rely on laws as the only recourse for moral direction. But even laws can be changed with a simple majority vote and a stroke of a legislative pen. In a world of relativism, there is no higher truth that exists apart from what legislatures declare and enforce.
The final arbiter of truth is power. Change the government and what was right and true yesterday is usurped by a new set of standards and a different set of lawmakers. What was previously unthinkable can become the law of the land. Germany showed us that in the last century.
Without a higher moral law or standard for people to agree upon and follow (or an author and giver of that higher law or standard), well then all that's left is consensus of those who are most powerful and cunning.
If there's no lawgiver, no Messiah to save us from ourselves, then ultimately most people will find no meaning or purpose to life, no truth, life will have no intrinsic value.
Society may have to hunt down and jail criminals like Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo to protect itself. But if we seriously believe there's no such thing as right and wrong, no truth, then it's pointless condemning what they did. After all, when they committed their sexual abductions, tortures and murders, their personal definition of truth may have been dominance and self-gratification. Somebody may interject to say, "They had no right to impose their views on others or kill those women!" Why not? If there is no right and wrong, then there's no basis to make such a claim.
What is truth?
That's why I find 21st century relativists suspect. In one breath they maintain there is no objective right and wrong, no absolute truth. In the next breath they're decrying the destruction of the rain forests, or using animals in medical experimentation, or they're marching in the streets against globalization.
Methinks the relativist believes in objective truth more than he's letting on and he expects the rest of us to agree (or at least acquiesce). Why? Each person has his personal truth, his own standard of right and wrong, and he must not inflict his standards or morals on others.
Now, if there is such a thing as objective truth, where does it come from? Christianity says Jesus is the truth and that his crucifixion and resurrection gave rise to a tidal wave of love and hope for millions of people for more than 2,000 years.
Each person must decide whether Jesus is the only saviour of the world. Personally, I've concluded the answer is Yes. Christ has utterly changed my life for more than a quarter of a century.
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