Christians Say Our Way Is the One Way to God. How Arrogant Is That??

By Tom Gilson Published on March 10, 2018

Are Christians as arrogant as our reputation indicates in some quarters? We must be! We think our way is the one way to God, right? How could we possibly think that?!

Actually, we can’t. We shouldn’t, anyway. (Don’t worry, you’ll see what I mean in a moment.)

Last week when I first brought up the question I said it had two sides. Side One is the truth/fact side: Could it possibly be true that there’s just one way to God, and that it’s Christianity? That’s the one I worked with in last week’s article and on Facebook live a few days later. Side Two is the attitude side: How can Christians be so arrogant? What gives us the right to think we hold the only truth?

Again, we don’t think we hold the only way. Or we shouldn’t, anyway. It’s really, really rude.

Now, I get that there are some really rude Christians. I’ve written at least one article here at The Stream critiquing that attitude. But that’s not what Christian truth is about; not in the least. It’s even wide of the mark — in today’s language, that is — to say “we hold the truth.” There’s a much better, wiser, more accurate way to say what we mean.

I’ll be interacting live by video on this topic on The Stream’s Facebook page on Tuesday, March 13, at 8:00 pm Eastern time. It’s episode number two of “Contentious Questions (Because some questions just are that way).”

Bring your questions and your comments, and join me there then!

What Does It Mean These Days to “Hold a Truth”?

Before I get there, though, I have to dwell a moment on what it means to hold a truth. It used to be that “holding a truth” was synonymous with “holding something to be true,” i.e., believing that it was true, and being right about its truth. Holding a falsehood could never be the same as holding a truth, after all.

But that view of truth has changed over the past generation or so; not in every domain — everyone still “holds the truth” that a circle’s area equals π times the square of its radius, or that a flu shot is generally better for you than a dose of strychnine — but particularly for religion and morality. In those two areas, to “hold a truth” has a rather more literal connotation: We hold it like it’s our very own.

Let me explain what I mean by that. Typically in today’s world, people develop their own religious and moral truths. They gather it in from various sources: their upbringing, their friends, their teachers and of course the entertainment and other media they’ve soaked themselves in. No two people ever end up with the same package; what each person collects is always uniquely tailored to their own experiences, desires and needs. It’s their truth; their own truth; and since it’s theirs, they have every right to hold it as their own.

Now if holding a truth means something like that, then no one should be so arrogant as to say their truth is the truth for everyone. Not even Christians. How could anyone begin to know their personal truth is also the best personal truth for someone else? How could they even dream of holding the best possible truth for everyone? Are you talking “rude”? That’s rude.

Stacking That Up Against God’s Truth

And it’s exactly not what Christianity claims about truth. When we say Christianity is the truth, we mean something a whole lot bigger than any little “truth” we could have gathered together for ourselves. We mean that there really is a God who really created the universe and all of us, who really loves us all, and who really invites us all to relationship with Him — but on His terms, not ours.

He defines ultimate reality. Stack any individual’s personal truth up against His, and guess who wins? His truth has the huge advantage of being the way things actually are, from an infinite, eternal, omniscient Creator’s perspective.

As for ways to reach Him, remember He’s the One who takes the initiative to invite us into relationship, so He can set the rules. There’s nothing strange about that, you know. If you invite me to your home, you can set the rules, too: What time to come, whether I should slip my shoes off at the door, what time dinner is going to be served and what we’re going to eat. In the same way, God’s invitation is His initiative. He gets to decide; and if He wants to set the same terms for everyone, He has that right, too.

As for truth, His invitation comes with true information that’s true for everyone. It’s not all truth, obviously. No one — least of all Christians — thinks they hold all the truth. But since God took a truth-telling initiative toward us, we can at least know some of it. It’s not the whole truth but it’s true truth; not based on anyone’s opinion, but on reality as God Himself defines it.

We don’t hold the truth; the Truth holds us.

There is Indeed One Way to God, But It Isn’t Our Way, It’s His

And that approach to truth is a lot different from picking and choosing “truths” to fit us. (I have to start using scare quotes now, because our own “truths” are often not true at all.) In the end, too, this approach is the very opposite of arrogant. For which is more presumptuous: To build your own “truth” about reality, or to seek out truth that’s there whether you know it or not? The one way controls the “truth,” the other yields to the truth. The one way lords itself over the “truth,” the other way humbly submits to it.

God’s truth isn’t our truth. It’s way too huge for us to “hold” in any manner. Christians instead seek to let it rule over us. We don’t control it, we bow the knee to it; especially as it’s presented in the Person of Jesus Christ, who is “the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6).

That’s why I opened this article the way I did. The way we follow isn’t our way, it’s God’s way. The truth we follow isn’t our truth, it’s God’s. We don’t hold the truth; the Truth holds us.

Learning To Explain the Truth About Truth

Now, a word to my fellow believers if I may: Did you notice I took several steps getting to an answer here? That’s because there’s some translation needed in this conversation. When we say our truth is true for everyone, we’re certain to be misunderstood unless we take time with it. We’ve got to explain that we don’t mean it the way others probably think we mean it. We have to do the work of that translation for them.

And this generation’s individually-centered view of “truth” is so ingrained, we’re not likely to break through in just a moment’s time. It’s not easy for them to really hear what we’re saying; that we’re talking about a God-centered view of truth instead. So it’s going to take some patience on our part. Unless we take time to explain it clearly, they’re going to hear us saying that Christianity is our personal truth, just like their own religious view is their own personal truth. Which is something we never mean to say.

There are some who will never get it. They’ll always complain that we’re arrogant. They’d probably tell God Himself He’s arrogant. We can’t help that.

But let’s help what we can help, okay? For those among us who may actually be arrogant, it’s time to remember it’s not your truth. For all of us, we need to develop the skill of explaining Whose it is.

 

Tom Gilson is a senior editor with The Stream and the author of A Christian Mind: Thoughts on Life and Truth in Jesus Christ. Follow him on Twitter: @TomGilsonAuthor.

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  • Trilemma

    Typically in today’s world, people develop their own religious and moral truths. They gather it in from various sources: their upbringing, their friends, their teachers and of course the entertainment and other media they’ve soaked themselves in.

    For Christians, that means they gathered their personal Christian truths from their Christian parents, their Christian friends, their pastors, and of course media such as the Bible and Veggie Tales. No two Christians ever end up with the same package; what each Christian collects is always uniquely tailored to their own experiences, desires and needs. It’s their truth; their own truth; and since it’s theirs, they have every right to hold it as their own. The problem arises when a person, such as a Christian, divides their own personal truths into two categories, truths that apply to that person only, such as what’s the best dessert, and truths that apply to everyone, such as how one gets to God. But, when a person claims their personal truth came from God and therefore must be true for everyone doesn’t change the fact it’s still a personal truth or personal opinion.

    • Kevin Carr

      When Jesus said he was the way the truth and the life, did he lie or is he deluded or is he Lord?

      • Trilemma

        It’s also possible that Jesus never said that he was the way the truth and the life. Your opinion of what he meant by that is undoubtedly different from the opinions that other people have of what he meant by that. New born babies have not sinned.

        • Kevin Carr

          What was said is written in black and white, it means what it says. You argue from a point of what you don’t see. As for newborns we have as the example from the child David lost that newborns are covered by grace. God will not hold them accountable for something they can’t understand.

          • Kathy

            Trilemma and those with the same mindset understand and will be held accountable.

          • Kevin Carr

            So true, more time is spent pushing against what is written, which really shows unsurrendered pride. I may not agree with what God said, but being God anything to the contrary is wrong.

          • Kathy

            Yes, pride is a major roadblock. I think we’ve all been there, some for longer than others. We have to surrender to our Father every day. Not always easy, but definitely worth it…how freeing it really is! We come to realize what we’ve missed all those years when living in the darkness.

          • Trilemma

            Why does a newborn need grace if the newborn hasn’t sinned?

            According to the ESV Bible, Jesus said, ““I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” So, what did Jesus mean by that? Was He referring to His teachings; that we come to the Father by doing the good works He taught people to do? It’s also recorded in the ESV that Jesus said, “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” Is this what Jesus meant; that we come to the Father through Jesus by eating His flesh and drinking His blood?

          • Kevin Carr

            I sin did my mother conceive me. Meaning we are born with a sin nature.

          • Trilemma

            Being born with a sin nature is not a sin. How can it be a sin to be born with the nature God gave us?

          • Kevin Carr

            Didn’t say that it was, the nature gives us a bent toward sin, and we do.

          • Just for the record, Kevin, I can understand why Trilemma might be asking these questions. Newborns are covered by grace, you’ve also said, to which Trilemma answered with the question, why do they need grace, since they haven’t sinned? You said we have a sin nature, which gives us a bent toward sin; yet you’ve also said it’s not a sin to be born. That’s all true, but at this point, you still haven’t actually answered his question, since you haven’t explained what it is about a newborn that causes him or her to need grace.

            There’s a good answer, as you know, but you haven’t fully articulated it yet. I’m going to just point that out and then get out of the way again as you continue.

          • Kevin Carr

            Thank you Tom, the newborn does not yet have the capacity to understand the way of salvation, does not hold children without the ability to understand the gospel accountable for that, as with the child David and Bathseba had. While not as firm a position in Romans 1 it is said we all have some type or exposure to the knowledge of God’s existence, and will be accountable based on the that knowledge, God said he has written knowledge of his existence on our conscience. Newborns do not react to that because they don’t have the cognitive ability to accept or reject God or salvation.

          • Ken Abbott

            It goes farther than that, and serves to explain why a newborn, ostensibly innocent in that she has yet actively to commit sin, still requires the grace of God. Paul tells us in Romans 5:12 that “Just as sin entered the world though one man [Adam], and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned,” which means humanity has a corporate solidarity in our progenitor and representative head. When Adam fell, he took all mankind into sin and death. All of us subsequently are born with a sin nature and are counted guilty in the sight of God. Paul goes on to explain how the Second Adam (Jesus Christ) by grace through faith in him has accomplished reconciliation and restoration. “For just as though the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19).

          • davidrev17

            “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, IN CHRIST, GOD WAS RECONCILING THE [corporate fallen] WORLD TO HIMSELF [i.e., namely the effects of Adam & Eve’s SIN], NOT COUNTING [imputing] THEIR [“past”] TRESPASSES AGAINST THEM, and entrusting to us [BELIEVERS] the message of reconciliation.

            “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, GOD MAKING HIS APPEAL THROUGH US. WE IMPLORE YOU ON BEHALF OF CHRIST, BE RECONCILED TO GOD. For our sake he [God] made him [Yeshua/Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-21/ESV, emphasis added.)

            ☆ ☆ ☆

            And by drilling-down even a bit deeper my brother, we can also notice how “fallen” mankind is still “individually” accountable TO Almighty God (for “reconciliation,” thus salvation) for the “sins” committed during their lifetime; in spite of the fact that this passage unambiguously states, that God must consider all the SINS these people committed (WE TOO!) prior to genuine salvation – to be the sole “causal” fault of having that “sin nature” passed-down to them, through Adam & Eve’s transgression alone.

            Bottom line: As far as God is concerned, our sins prior to genuine conversion, regeneration, or justification, were technically NOT our fault! And remember: this is an unrelenting theological reality to consider, since it WASN’T “INDIVIDUAL” GUILT for sin to which that most widely mis-utilized, or unintentionally misappropriated verse (Romans 5:12) was referring, or implicating; it was THE curse of physical/spiritual DEATH itself (i.e., our finite mortality) that was “passed-down upon all men.”

            In fact the entire 5th chapter of both Romans & 2 Corinthians says absolutely NOthing about our incurring personal GUILT for sin, due to the “Fall” – only our inheriting the “curse of sin and death.” (Just prayerfully meditate upon these passages too my brother, because the implications for this interpretation are quite clear, according to the text.)

            This is precisely why, that even after the text says “God was in Christ, reconciling the [fallen corporate] world to Himself”; whose universal effects were brought-on by the “Fall” anyway – thus personal GUILT for our SIN before a Holy God was always a NON-existent issue prior to our Lord’s personally providing our atonement – that the critical requirement of OUR taking the PERSONAL initiative “to be reconciled TO God,” while we’re still physically alive, remains incumbent upon each-and-every human “soul” of whom is no doubt accountable to their Creator, Savior & Judge.

            It should be quite clear to see, that God has abundantly demonstrated perfect LOVE and good-will; lovingkindness; grace; justice; mercy; restraint; compassion; patience, forgiveness etc., toward a universal rational/moral human population, that’s both habitually and aggressively “at odds” with their Creator, and His Holy righteous standards, or ways. Yet somehow, He still chooses to stick with us?? Hmmm…

            Or said another way: mankind basically can’t stand the idea of being morally accountable (for eternity) before a Supreme Lawgiving, though Loving Creator, to whom we’ll ALL one day give-an-account, “for the things done while in this body, whether good or bad.”

          • Ken Abbott

            If this is in response to my post above, I’m not quite sure what point you’re trying to make, David. Could you maybe make that a bit more succinct?

          • davidrev17

            Your erroneous statement that “all of us are [personally] accounted GUILTY in the sight of God,” as a direct result of Adam & Eve’s SIN, finds NO support throughout the Word of God my brother. The curse of Physical “Death” & finite mortality however, is exactly what we’ve inherited through the “Fall” – but not PERSONAL guilt!

            I’ll say it differently: I’m in wholehearted agreement with the notion that a CORPORATE, universal “curse of sin & death,” was a causal result of the Fall – but INDIVIDUAL/PERSONAL accountability before a Holy God, for the commission of sins of which weren’t precisely our fault – then I must stringently argue NO…at least at this juncture.

            Having said that, I sensed the need to provide more-than-ample explanation to you about this perennially tragic, and mostly misunderstood topic (amongst the brethren), plus provide you with some scriptural evidence in this regard. Now it’s between you and the precious “Spirit of Truth” Himself, to come to the appropriate understanding. And may God bless ya’ brother!

          • Ken Abbott

            If not guilty, why are we condemned?

          • davidrev17

            To attempt an answer: Our intimate relational/familial association of being born physically alive, yet spiritually “dead” into the “first Adam” – while having never received the “new birth” during our lifetimes. (Just look quickly at John 3:36?)

            This is exactly the spiritual “location” for lost individuals (Hell itself) that will be affected, or cleared-out, during the “Great White Throne Judgment” of Rev. 20:11-15. And sadly, everyone loses for eternity if they face their Creator/Judge there. This was a very challenging topic for me to try and tackle/digest when having first encountered it. And this is also an area where the Church has failed miserably in articulating the appropriate, thus correct biblical “truth” re: this very important issue.

          • Ken Abbott

            John 3:36: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” This (and verse 18 in the same chapter) is a clear statement that faith in Christ saves and conveys eternal life but that the person who rejects Christ is still condemned, being under God’s wrath. For a just God to condemn a person there has to be a basis–and remember this thread started over a question as to why a newborn infant requires grace.

          • davidrev17

            But notice how you’re conflating “personal guilt” for one’s sins – since we all have that darned ol’ “fallen” sin nature, due to NO fault of our own – with the radically different, “universal/corporate” spiritual condition in which humanity in general finds itself before a Holy God, subsequent their physical birth? (i.e., like Hebrews 9:27 states.)

            And a friendly note of caution: this issue is going to take some focused prayer, and relevant study, before you’ll arrive at a much different answer? Unfortunately, the “Church” has been selling-us-a-horrible-bill-of-goods, for far-too-long now! God bless ya’!

          • Ken Abbott

            But I put it to you that the sin nature is exactly due to our own fault–that Adam as our federal and covenantal head, appointed by God himself, sinned and incurred God’s wrath and condemnation, and that wrath and condemnation applies to all his posterity because we in Adam are just as guilty as he was. The proof of this is that we have all individually ratified his decision to sin.

            If you have a theological problem with God’s imputation of Adam’s guilt to the children of Adam, then you are going to have a huge theological problem with God’s imputation of Christ’s righteousness to those who by faith trust in him.

            “Consequently [that is, based on the argument elaborated in verses 12-17], just as the result of one trespass [the sin of Adam] was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness [the obedience of Christ] was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners*, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:18-19).

            *Note carefully that Paul says through Adam’s sin his posterity was “made sinners”–not just given a sin nature, but that they all became sinners. To be a sinner is to have guilt before God, unless said sinner is counted righteous in Christ.

            David, I appreciate the interaction, and blessings to you as well for your zeal for God’s truth, but I stand with the Protestant Reformers and the English Puritans on this one; to a man, they all defended the biblical and orthodox doctrine of original sin.

          • davidrev17

            Thank you Ken, but you’ve still neglected to incorporate Adam’s sin, or original sin, into the existential reality in which we find ourselves living; i.e., the situation described in the following verses of which I already quoted, from 2 Corinthians 5:19-20:

            “…namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore we are ambassadors on behalf of Christ, as if God were imploring you through us. We beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:19-20)

            Now, up until this point, you’ve totally ignored having to deal with this particularly obvious scriptural conundrum found in the above text, that’s staring you right-in-the-face:

            Just how/why should “fallen” sinners be instructed to seek becoming “reconciled to God”; when in fact the passage clearly informs us all, that “God WAS IN Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the ministry of reconciliation”? That presents a very convoluted theological scenario for Protestant’s et al. to “reconcile”…no pun intended! And it’s obvious the Apostle Paul is in no way confused on this critical doctrinal issue.

            I mean, please tell me (according to those two verses just above), how sinners that’ve already been “reconciled by Almighty God to Himself,” would then turn right around and seek reconciliation WITH God??? I’ll give you a clue, kuz I assert that this is where the theological “rubber meets the road”: I think you et al. are completely missing something by a long-shot!

            What exactly does it mean when Holy Writ unambiguously declares, in context, that “God was in Christ reconciling THE WORLD to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them”???

            Why then, should the “gospel of mankind’s reconciliation with God,” be a requirement thereafter – as the passage clearly says it is – especially when our (or someone’s) “trespasses” are no longer being IMPUTED to this apparently privileged segment of humanity?

            So please, if you will, stay right with this topic; as I’ve yet to find anyone who can provide a logically/theologically compelling answer; including anything at all about this in my now 20-year old, Dr. John MacArthur Study Bible – the quintessential Protestant Reformer himself.

          • Kevin Carr

            Thank you, Ken. I will remember that if I have to explain it again.

          • Ken Abbott

            You’re welcome, Kevin, although clearly I didn’t explain it well enough to satisfy everyone. 🙂

          • wsteinbr

            Trilemma, I do not believe in original sin. I do not quite agree with “Ken Abbott -> Kevin Carr” below. We are born without sin. We each have our own “immaculate conception” in other words. We are born into a corrupt situation because of Adam being influenced by Satan. That influence is passed on – not at birth – but at the age of accountability. Sin did enter therefore through one man Adam, but we all reach an age of accountability – when we sin when we learn of the Law of God or sin and are convicted by our conscience. Adam is a representative of the influence of Satan. Jesus being fully God and fully man is a representative of the power over sin that is capable through cooperating with God. The thing to remember is that God is more powerful than Satan – and Satan is more powerful than us. Satan influences, but God ultimately judges.
            “4You, little children, are from God and have overcome them, because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

          • Kathy

            Did not want to interfere with Kevin, but since your last question was not yet addressed, this may help at little. This is part of an explanation I found: ” It is best to understand this passage in light of coming to Jesus, in faith, for salvation. When we receive Him as Savior, placing our full trust in Him, we are “consuming His flesh” and “drinking His blood”. His body was broken (at His death) and His blood was shed to provide for our salvation.

          • Trilemma

            You’re welcome to jump in anytime. It’s a public discussion. Your interpretation is one that i have not heard before. At the last supper, Jesus picked up some bread and said, “This is my body.” He pick up some wine and said, “This is my blood.” So I think eating bread and wine fulfill the requirement to feed on His flesh and to drink His blood. So, the question is, do we come to the Father through Jesus by eating bread and drinking wine in remembrance of Him as He says? Or is there some other way we come to the Father through Jesus? Christians frequently say the Bible says what it says but then they disagree on what it says.

          • Kathy

            Yes,, we eat the bread and drink the wine in remembrance of Jesus. You are correct that Christians disagree on this matter, but it is primarily Catholic and Protestant differences. Rather than me trying to explain it all, I’ll refer you to a very informative site that will much better explain this. They changed the format recently…used to be separated into categories. Now you type your question in the search box and Q & A pertaining to your question will pop up. Hope gotquestions (dot) org will help. Let me know if it did.

          • Kevin Carr

            Thank you Kathy, I missed that part.

          • Kathy

            Guessing you agree with my answer since you didn’t challenge it. Feel free to do that or to add to what I wrote.

          • davidrev17

            Please read Hebrews 10:1-10 very carefully, paying close attention to what’s stipulated in vv. 5-7. Yeshua/Jesus of Nazareth, as His prophesied forerunner “Yochanon/John the Immerser” (e.g., Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1) had openly exclaimed in John 1:29, was “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

            And this very ancient literal/historical practice by the Jewish people re: the “shedding of [animal] blood,” for the temporary/yearly “remission [or “passing over”] of sins,” had actually been established by Yahweh Himself shortly after He’d “redeemed” the Israeli people et al. from some 430-years of Egyptian slavery. (Please take a careful look at Exodus 12; Leviticus 16; and Hebrews 9:1-22.)

            So I’m carefully detailing this critically necessary theological foundation, prayerfully hoping that from here-on-out, you’ll NO longer separate, or divorce the historical life & work of the Lord Yeshua of Nazareth – from its ONLY rightful/appropriate (Divinely initiated) Jewish context of animal sacrifices, for the forgiveness of sins; as Jesus was indeed the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)

            Yet apparently as the “devil’s advocate” this time?, all-of-a-sudden I notice you’re strangely ridin’ that wooden/literalistic train-of-interpretation on this new article, in order to accomplish what? Continue stirring-up strife, or maybe just confusion? (Please know this: 1 Corinthians 14:33 states, that “God is not the Author of confusion, but of peace.”)

            For Pete’s sake Trilemma, the idea of the acceptability of Jewish/Gentile-related cannibalism – i.e., the consumption of blood by specially-created rational/moral Homo sapiens – is nowhere advanced, nor prescribed throughout the pages of the almost 3,500 year old Hebrew Bible (meaning OT). Nor can this wholly paganized practice be found acceptable in the eyes of Yahweh, anywhere within the entire text of the Greek New Testament. It’s actually just the opposite case, because as I’ve already mentiined, cannibalism is stringently prohibited, or spoken against on a consistent basis.

            And yet, in spite of the wholesale absence re: the acceptability of cannabilistic practices, specifically spoken against from Genesis-thru-Revelation at that – e.g., Genesis 9:1-6; Acts 15:1-29 – seemingly well-intentioned people have continued to IMPOSE this sort of arcane nonsense, UPON the text of Jesus’ teaching in John chapter six (6). (“Context ALWAYS determines meaning” my friend!)

            So having noted that, upon what exegetical rule(s), or hermeneutical principles are you relying, in order to try and “twist and distort Holy Scripture” in this particular instance and context? Do tell, please. And I do look forward to a well-reasoned, thus sound biblical/theological response from you on this one too!

          • Trilemma

            Christians like to say the Bible means what it says but then disagree about what it says. When Jesus said to the crowd of people that they had to eat His flesh and drink His blood in order to have eternal life, they obviously thought He was talking about cannibalism. Perhaps some of them stole the body of Jesus from the tomb and ate it. Kathy interpreted the verse to mean receiving Jesus as Savior. You interpreted it to mean Jesus would be a sacrifice that takes away sin. I interpreted it to refer to the Passover meal where Jesus held up bread and wine and said those were His flesh and blood, establishing a new covenant. So, there’s 4 different interpretations from the same verse that says what it says. And no, I don’t think Jesus was talking about cannibalism.

          • davidrev17

            “Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

            (Matthew 26:26-29/ESV. And please take notice that Jesus’ covenantal terminology used right there, simply cannot be divorced from its only appropriate CONTEXT for Israel & mankind’s ultimate “forgiveness of sins”; and the OT stipulation re: the formal inauguration of this “New Covenant” (through the “veiled” OT inferences for substitutionary atonement accomplished by Israel’s Messiah), found in texts like Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Jeremiah 23:1-8; 31:31-37; 33:14-26; Ezekiel 36:1-28; Isaiah 55:1-7 – as this same New Covenant is also restated beautifully in Hebrews 8).

            ☆ ☆ ☆

            “And taking the twelve aside, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets [i.e., in the OT] will be accomplished. For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.”

            “But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.” (Luke 18:31-34/ESV; also, see & compare following passages in exact context: Matthew 16:21; 17:22-23; 26:50-56; Mark 8:31-33; 9:30-32; 10:32-34; Luke 9:43-45; John 18:33-38.)

            ☆ ☆ ☆

            “Scripture will always interpret Scripture” Trilemma! We just can’t go about “making-things-up as we go along.” It should be irrefutably clear, from even the words of my Lord Yeshua/Jesus – our “Passover Lamb” (1 Cor. 5:6-8) – that He also viewed His imminent atonement (i.e., or His Passover language) to be inextricably identified with his establishing the “New Covenant,” for which He’d come to provide mankind’s “forgiveness of sins.” (e.g., Matthew 1:18-25)

            It should be rather obvious from even a cursory reading of the above passages, that, our personal/subjectively derived interpretations of which we typically “impose” UPON the text of Holy Scripture – technically referred to as “eisegesis,” aka your [competing, or valid??] “four different interpretations” – bears zero exegetical weight, or significance whatsoever, when attempting to “accurately handle the Word of God” for interpretive purposes.

            Because what matters most in arriving at a sound, compelling biblical interpretation – whose theological “roots,” one will usually recognize do indeed “grow-deep within the soil of the OT,” or Hebrew Bible – is focusing solely upon what the text itself says; and this is accomplished by examining, or comparing as many relevant passages as can possibly be located in both Old/New Covenants, or Testament’s on any particular subject.

            Now having emphasized this, please remember that both OT & NT Scriptures NEVER isolate, differentiate, separate etc. the critical cause-and-effect relationship (as you have in your “view”) between God’s having personally instituted the use of sacrificial animals – including its efficacy in the temporary “passing over,” expiation, or even the ultimate “washing away” of sins universal effects, through Jesus’ final substitutionary atonement for humanity’s sins, and the created order itself – and His inscrutable desire to enter into covenant, with His specially-created spirit creatures.

            (e.g., Genesis 3:21; Genesis chapter 15; Exodus 12:12-28; Leviticus 17:11; John 1:29; Romans 8:18-23; Hebrews chapter 8; 9:16-28; Revelation 1:5; 5:9; 13:8; 17:8)

          • Trilemma

            Passover had nothing to do with forgiveness of sins or atonement. The Passover lamb was not a sacrifice. Slaughtering the lamb and eating it did not bring atonement or forgiveness of sins. The very first Passover back in Egypt was not for forgiveness of sins. There were sacrifices instituted later that provided forgiveness of sins.

          • wsteinbr

            Most miss the parallel within John 6:
            “40For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
            “54Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. ”
            One of these is literal and the other must be figurative for both to be true.
            Romans 10:9,10 makes it clear that the former verse is to be taken literally:
            ” 9because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved”
            The figurative part is that Jesus is to be believed not just with the mind, but with the whole heart – taking Him as the example and through the Holy Spirit living out life as if living as Jesus – being His representative in flesh and blood.
            Compare:
            “5But if anyone keeps His word, the love of God has been truly perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him: 6Whoever claims to abide in Him must walk as Jesus walked.” 1 John 2:5,6
            and
            “4Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself unless it remains in the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. 5I am the vine and you are the branches. The one who remains in Me, and I in him, will bear much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.…” John 15:4,5
            I definitely agree that Jesus is not talking about cannibalism. I don’t think that it is talking about communion either.

        • Your opinion differs from others’ too. So what? It’s hardly news that people have different beliefs about religion and the ultimate.

          The true answer must be one that some people disagree with.

          • Trilemma

            I agree. My opinions seem to be at odds with just about everyone.

            If somebody has the true answer, they can’t know with 100% absolute certainty that what they have is the true answer. So, even then, it would still be an opinion.

        • Jim Walker

          Your words : it doesn’t change the fact it’s still a personal truth or personal opinion.
          So you say…but do keep this to yourself because we all preach that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

        • wsteinbr

          I agree that new born babies have not sinned. If they have the power to sin, then we have powers that we do not know about.

    • If what you’re saying were true, then Christians would indeed be arrogant and rude for claiming to have the one way to God. Of course the question is whether it’s true, but that’s a different question, and one that points toward other inquiries, conversations and debates.

      For now, for the record, I’ll note that you’ve made some unsupported assertions here. i don’t think they’re well founded, and I do think I can show why they aren’t. But that’s not the topic of this article, so I’ll save it for another time. Or you could explore several years of my work on it at thinkingchristian(dot)net.

      • Trilemma

        I’ll spend some time exploring your site.

  • Skotiad

    No need to apologize for the gospel. Preach it boldly. Share the good news of salvation. Most will turn away, some will respond. That’s all that Christians need to know. Leave everything else to God.

  • michael

    There is only one way . If there isn’t then it was done for nothing and God would be a sadistic being .

  • Robert Browning

    Jews believe in purification through transgression. Jews believe doing bad things brings you closer to God. How can that be the same God?

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