Tough Texts, Week 2…

September 22, 2009

vinebranchlogoWe’re continuing our Tough Texts series this Sunday, September 27, with John 14:1-14. We’ll focus on Jesus’ words in John 14:6: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Religious pluralism is one of the biggest challenges facing the Church today. Is Jesus really the only way to God? Don’t all the major religions point to the same ultimate reality? What do we say to our Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu friends about what we believe? Is it arrogant on the part of Christians to be exclusive? What do you think? Feel free to comment below.

6 Responses to “Tough Texts, Week 2…”

  1. Brian Sassaman Says:

    That is a tough question, and I’m looking forward to your sermon. On the one hand, I think we all have a selfish view that good and generous and righteous people we know should not be excluded from the Father, especially those Jewish and Muslim friends we have. There is, at the very least, a tenuous connection to our faiths.

    But on the other hand, the statement seems fairly straight forward. Jesus does specifically mention “the Father,” so it seems he is expressing a differentiation between Himself and the Father, and that Jesus, Himself is the path. Maybe the believing is the hardest part; in the case of the robber on the adjacent cross, it seems he had belief, and that was what mattered.

    Here is a cool Emily Dickinson poem related I guess:
    http://www.bartleby.com/113/5096.html

  2. brentwhite Says:

    Thanks for the thoughtful post, Brian–and the link to Emily Dickinson. I don’t think I’d read that poem before. As I prepared my sermon today, I reflected on your words about believing and Jesus’ being the path. I’m going to explore that. Say more about what you meant when you wrote, “Maybe the believing is the hardest part”?

    It should be fun on Sunday!

  3. Brian Sassaman Says:

    “Maybe the believing is the hardest part”

    I think it is easy enough to see and even predict that good behavior and good deeds have positive results, so the good that people do across all religions or even through civic pride is understandable, and a great thing too. So while being good honest people, charitable and even loving is wonderful, it is not, I guess, an entry to paradise.

    Believing in Jesus, and that he is the gate, requires tons more thinking – tons more faith. Maybe that is what makes a more significant change in a person – it changes their outlook.

    That is what I meant, the belief is harder to accomplish, but ends up with the everlasting reward.

    Heh- I’m starting to confuse myself 😉

    • Brian Sassaman Says:

      Even with all I’ve said, I do not quite understand how people of a different, but similar, faith could be excluded. And I do think others do have faith. And when is it too late to believe? Before you die, or before judgement day? It is a hard teaching, and ultimately, not our decision to make. I guess we continue to lead our lives so that it looks attractive to others and continue to spread the Word! So I’ll look forward to your sermon…

  4. Jeff Says:

    Brent,

    I was a visitor yesterday and found the sermon both edifying and thought provoking. I have wrestled with this subject in recent months (is there only one way?) My takeaway yesterday: embrace The Way personally — with all its implications. It will leave little time for judgement (by me) and while embracing The Way, I’ll manifest a compelling witness to The Way (Christ). b/t/w the analogy in the Childrens’ Sermon was spot on.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s