Thesis: Christians ought to honor truth in other faith systems, while boldly proclaiming Jesus as the only true way to eternal life.
There is only one kind of truth. Knowledge, certainty, and belief vary. Truth does not. Truth can be defined as “The conformity of a proposition to the way things are”. As such, truth is true, regardless of context.

Truth can be categorized in several ways. For example, there are scientific, philosophical, sociological, etc categories. One category is “ultimate end.” Only one truth has eternal life as its ultimate end. Now, obviously, this statement has certain presuppositions. One such presupposition is the nature of eternal life.

In John 17:3, Jesus defines eternal life as, “that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” Eternal life is understood here as eternal relationship with the persons of the Triune God. Jesus is the only source of this eternal life: “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him” (John 17:1b-2).[1]

Given this definition of eternal life, it is clear that Jesus is the only way. This is a truth—a proposition that corresponds to the way things are—with eternal significance. It is a truth we must proclaim (Matt 28:16-20; Acts 4:8-12).

But, the eternal significance of this one truth offers no justification for dishonoring other truths. All truth, wherever it is found, can be honored and heard because Jesus is Lord of all. Other faith systems have much to say about the human condition and about living in the world as good persons. Such truths do no damage to our faith unless our faith is in something other than Jesus. Further, people in other faith systems may not be able to hear us until we have respectfully heard them.

Therefore, two practices are required of disciples of Jesus:
  • Honor truth in other faith systems by listening to the hearts of those holding those faiths.
  • Share your heart with all who will hear, boldly proclaiming Jesus as the only way to eternal life.

[1] I realize not all agree with this presupposition and, in that case, this argument will be unconvincing. About this I can do nothing, but I do invite you to join the conversation by posting your understanding on your blog and linking here.

PAGITT and SLICE (the above short essay is the result of ponderings prompted by the second half of the interview)

Corresponding With Truth on Scriptorum
Bibliology on Theology Website
In Whose Image? in Books & Culture


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“Unless otherwise noted Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.” http://www.esv.org/

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