O intersesantă provocare a unui autor altfel de nepomenit printre drepții noștri:
Jesus says, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
This is the verse that is frequently quoted to defend an idea called the “exclusivity of Christ,” namely, that all who do not consciously and decisively accept Jesus as their personal savior will burn forever in hell. That phrase raises concerns for me, because based on the Scriptures, I believe Jesus primarily came not to proclaim a way out of hell for some after death, but rather a way into a better life for all before death. His message was not about going to heaven after history, but about the kingdom of heaven coming to earth in history. His goal – made clear in word and deed, day after day during his three years of public ministry – was not to constrict but rather to expand the dimensions of who could be welcomed into the kingdom of God, of who could be accepted in the people of God. So my understanding of Jesus’ essential message tells me that “exclusivity of” should generally precede “the Pharisees” or “the judgmental” or “the hypocrites,” and never “Christ.”
Is Jesus the only way? It depends on where we’re trying to go. If we want to abandon the earth as a lost cause and evacuate upward to heaven as soon as possible, I suspect we’re going in a different direction than Jesus. His movement has been downward, and as the Father sent him, so he has sent us. Paul said it well:
In your relationships with one another, have the same attitude of mind Christ Jesus had:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a human being, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)
Jesus’ movement is downward. Heaven to earth, earth to humanity, humanity to servanthood, servanthood to suffering and death. He doesn’t teach us to pray, “May we go to heaven where your will is done, unlike earth,” but rather, “May your kingdom come, may your will be done on earth as in heaven.” If that’s where we want to go, to get earthy and to manifest the kingdom of heaven on earth, then you won’t find anyone else leading you there. Only Jesus. May we shift our direction so that we seek to move down with him, in the direction of incarnation not abandonment, in the direction of involvement and identification not elitism and escape, to go where he went for the reason he went, in love and service to the worst of sinners, sinners like you and me. Amen.
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