I’m pulling out this excerpt from my response to a comment. Does this make sense to you?
“As I said in my sermon, we are not surprised or threatened that there are many common points of agreement between the world’s religions. By all means! We should understand and celebrate what we have in common. We have much to learn from one another, I’m sure. Thomas Merton, Trappist monk and renowned 20th-century Christian thinker, went east to study with Buddhist monks and found it valuable. There is only one truth, and inasmuch as other religions reveal it, I say a hearty, “Amen!” We believe that there is one Spirit, after all, revealing truth.
What I argued in my sermon (and in my “Questions” Sunday school classes) is that Jesus is the definitive revelation of God: everything we need to know about God and God’s relationship with us is revealed in Jesus. Notice that I don’t say that God is not revealed to some degree elsewhere, but where there are competing truth claims between our faith and others, we side with Christ and the Church he instituted.
What’s the alternative? To pretend that these differences don’t matter? They certainly do matter to the people who hold their faith’s truth claims dear. In a well-intentioned effort to respect someone else’s path to God (or ultimate reality), we end up disrespecting it by saying that their path and our path are really just the same. That insults practitioners of other religions, many of whom would say that if they wanted to be Christian, they would be, thank you very much. Does that make sense?
I might say more about different strands of universalism later, but I reject the kind of broad-minded universalism that rejects the uniqueness and, yes, exclusiveness of the revelation of God in Christ. I affirm that Jesus is “the way,” not one of many ways, to the Father. As I said in my sermon, however, the question of Jesus’ being “the way” is separate from the question of hell (and who goes there). I think I’ll say more about that later in this sermon series.
See all the stuff you have to look forward to?”