Sometimes it’s very difficult to explain what the fundamental problems are within the Anglican Church, obscured as they are by the latest round of ‘who’s done what to whom’, or by the whole presenting gay issue. These latter things often become the smoke and mirrors that obscure the deeper issues.
So, with that in mind, I’d suggest checking out this article recently posted by Fr Jake. Now, I’m not suggesting that everybody with a ‘liberal’ perspective shares these sentiments, nevertheless it is revealing of a particular way of understanding the gospel, that uses the same language, but ends up in a very different place.
I read what John-Julian has written, and some of it I can agree with in part, but some of it certainly not.
My whole issue is with a gospel that, at the end of the day, seems to be a rather weak version of the same. Why evangelise when the best you are doing is to give a person who already knows Christ through their own religion (or no religion at all) a better understanding of the truth? No salvation, mind, they are already saved.
The issue is not about sincerity. The issue is about sinfulness. The issue is about recognising that even our most righteous acts are no more than dirty rags in Gods eyes. Hence, we don’t need a friend we can reach out to in sincerity. We NEED a saviour.
As far as other religions go – yes, I can see that they contain good aspects, and that goodness comes from God. However, I affirm salvation is through Christ alone. The truly historical, living Christ. Not, have some have put it, Christ as ‘love’, which can be a very amorphous concept flecked through, at least in our case, with plenty of sin.
I don’t believe that Muslims are worshipping Jesus at all. They would be insulted if you suggested this. They worship Allah. I know an ex-Muslim who has very particular ideas as to who Allah is.
Can ‘good’ people of other religions come to God through Christ? Perhaps so, it is simply not for us to know. But to move from that to a position where all faiths are worshipping Jesus, well no, I cannot go there. I think that indeed demotes Jesus, who suddenly is everything and thereby rather amorphously nothing.
The sense I get from “whose Son sacrificially cancelled all ideas of divine wrath or judgment” is definitely one of universalism. Jesus spoke rather a lot of hell. Either He was mistaken, or there really are going to be many who are going to go there. You and I might not like it, but those are the words and I prefer to read them plainly.
To finish with, John-Julian says: “He is the Way – that is, any human way to God is Christ. He is the Truth – that is, every truth is Christ. He is the Life – that is, every life is Christ. There is no way to the Father except through the Christ, so all ways to the Father are also Christ, even when that is not overtly stated.”
I’m going to go with Matthew 7: 13“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
God in His mercy grant that we, in fear and trembling, may find that Way.