Saturday, August 15, 2009

Everybody Get in the Truck, We're Going Up to the Big House

There is a movement afoot called Universalism. Merriam-Webster tells us this word means "a theological doctrine that all human beings will eventually be saved". We see it applied at one level or another by many people who call themselves "Christian".

A common combination of Universalism and works-salvation philosophy goes something like this: "Well, he doesn't go to church, but he's a good person, so I'm sure he will go to Heaven." Another pseudo-theology that you might hear is "Ultimately, all religions are praying to the same god, so it doesn't matter if you're Christian or Buddhist or Hindu, just as long as you are faithful and are good to other people."

(Yes, I realize these are not strict Universalist doctrines, but they are individual philosophies that are influenced by the concepts that were injected into society by Universalism.)

Since these philosophies hold all points of view to be equally valid (see my older post on relativism), they hold Christianity to be just as valid as any other worldview. There is a logical fallacy in this, however. If we hold Jesus' words to be true, and He said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me" (John 14:6, NASB), then we have a conflict. To put it in modern parlance, "What part of 'The Way' don't you understand?"

"The" is a definite article. This means "designating an identified or immediately identifiable person or thing" (Merriam-Webster). In plain language, "the" indicates "the one and only". When "the" is used, there is only one. In this case, "the way" means there is only one way, and Jesus says that He is this "way". (Side note: prior to adopting the term "Christianity", the Jesus' disciples said they followed The Way. See Acts 9:2)

While some might argue ancient Greek semantics about definite articles and conjugations, Jesus does not only claim to be "the way, and the truth, and the life"(as if this were a small thing), but He follows the statement, in a case of classic Jewish parallel speech, "no one comes to the Father but through Me". There are no arguments about the meaning of "no one" (Greek: oudeis).

The only logical way to dismiss the unique, singular nature of "the way" is to claim the Bible is not accurate. Since this post is about Universalism, I think I'll leave the proofs of the veracity of our Scriptures for another day.

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