Presentation on theme: "Is Jesus the Only Way to God? Particularism and Pluralism."— Presentation transcript:
Is Jesus the Only Way to God? Particularism and Pluralism
Biblical Claims Salvation only through Jesus Acts 4:12 - Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved Eph 2:12-13 - Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world
Salvation by faith in Jesus Rom 3:21-26 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
Rise of Pluralism Was perception that Christianity had filled earth 1450-1750 Marco Polo, Columbus, Magellan New worlds discovered who knew nothing of the Christian faith Christian belief confined to Western Europe Exclusiveness seemed narrow and cruel Pluralism is the belief that there are many roads to God
Common Arguments for Pluralism It is arrogant and immoral to believe that non- Christians are mistaken You only believe in Christianity because you were born in the west. It is just an accident of birth.
Response to Arrogance Argument Ad hominem argument - Truth is independent of the proponent’s morality Why is particularism immoral? It might be true Pluralist believes pluralism is true - Isn’t that arrogant and immoral?
Response to Accident of Birth You are only a Christian because you were born in the west If you were born in Pakistan you would be a Muslim Genetic Fallacy – invalidate a position by explaining the origin of the belief If you were born in ancient Greece, you would have believed sun rotated around earth. If you were born in 20 th century you would believe earth rotates around sun – does this mean that the heliocentric belief is invalid? Can also turn the argument back on the pluralist: – If you were born in Pakistan you would be a particularist – You are only a pluralist because you were born in the 20 th century west – Therefore pluralism is invalid
Issues How can a loving God condemn those outside the Christian faith? Does the punishment fit the crime? Why is there an infinite punishment for a finite offence? Why should the gospel improve peoples’ chances? Why create a world in which so many are lost?
Does God want to send people to hell? 2 Peter 3:9 - The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
1 Tim 2:1-6 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men.
Ezek 18:31-32 Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!
Possible Answers? Craig’s suggestions: – It may not be possible to create a world in which everyone is freely saved – Hell may be self perpetuating – rejection and rebellion continues – Rejection of God’s gift in Christ has eternal consequences – God may have ordered the world so that the optimum proportion of people are saved – God could have ordered world so that those who never heard would not have responded. Thus those who have not heard would not have been saved anyway – People can respond to general revelation; e.g. Melchizedek. They draw a cheque on Calvary. Craig is a bit of an Arminian – Do you agree with Craig? – Does God want to maximise saved?
God’s Plan (Acts 17:25-28) From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.' What are the implications of this statement? What is your response?