This post is for people with fish breath. Let me begin by saying that I do not generally address a topic such as this in my blog posts because it is written to an audience other than the three people who read my posts. I confess I am intrigued by the title of Wolsey’s book, Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don’t like christianity. I like that title, I suppose because it reminds me of a quote I have often heard attributed to Gandhi. Gandhi is credited with saying something like, “I like your Christ, but not your Christians.” But as I read the blog post, in my heart I sensed so many fundamentally flawed issues with the logic.
Roger Wolsey says, “As a progressive Christian pastor and author I frequently receive critical pushback from conservative and fundamentalist Christians who adamantly declare that the only way to experience salvation is by giving intellectual assent to certain specific truth claims about the life of Jesus. Scratch that, they don’t generally care about his life, their focus is primarily upon Jesus’ death and his resurrection. Their message boils down to “Unless you believe that Jesus died for your sins and that he physically rose from the grave, you are a heretic, and will go to hell when you die.” (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogerwolsey/2015/04/jesus-isisnt-the-only-way-they-cant-all-be-true-)
Let me also note that there are so many sub points that I want to affirm and agree with, but I cannot get by the flawed foundation. As a history major in college I came to an early conclusion that Christianity rises and falls on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. So from that perspective, the death of Jesus is essential not only as atonement for our sin, but the Resurrection cannot happen if He isn’t actually dead. Nevertheless, if Jesus Christ rose from the dead to never die again, it seems to me everything else about His life and ministry is validated, especially his identity as the only Begotten of God.
The conversation with Nicodemus in John 3 testifies, in my opinion, against Wolsey’s comment that Christianity is founded upon assent to certain truths about the life or death and resurrection of Jesus. So many religious faiths can indeed be summed up by intellectual assent. But Jesus told Nicodemus that a person had to be “born again.” There is a regeneration of a person’s spirit essential to become a true believer in Christ. I will save discussion for the implications of that to another post.
There is a hymn we have sung in Baptist life entitled “He Lives.” It says, “I serve a Risen Savior, He’s in the world today; I know that He is living, whatever men may say.” It goes on to postulate this question, “You ask me how I know He lives?” The answer is “He lives within my heart.”
Someone has said, “If I claim to be an atheist, I must know everything.” In other words I have to have exhausted every possibility to be able to affirm that solidly. But in order to be a believer, I do not have to know everything. I only have to know God. In order to know if Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be, I do not have to know everything. I simply need to know Him.
So are all religions true? Does every road lead to God? From my point of view, it comes down to whether or not Jesus is who He claims. If He isn’t then He must have been a liar or a lunatic, and so Christianity would not be a valid road to heaven. It might be a good moral lifestyle, if followed, but not much more. Because if Jesus is only Begotten Son of God, HE said of Himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; NOONE comes to the Father, except by Me.” (John 14:6)