22 February 2011

A Postmodern Interpretation of John 14:6

Watch this and then ask yourself, "does this make any sense at all?"


HT: The Huffington Post

Once again we see that no one can twist Scripture quite like a postmodern! Okay, let's set aside the countless ways that a Christian can be offended by that little video. Let's look instead at what is apparently the main point. This video is claiming that John 14:6 does not claim that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation, only that Jesus decides who will get into Heaven. Take a look at the verse:
Jesus said to him [Thomas], "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
You'll notice that the video conveniently failed to mention the first part of the verse, where Jesus offers His sixth "I am" statement in the book of John and definitively declares, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." Let's face it, when you add in that brief statement, this postmodern argument starts to crumble. After all, how many ways can you interpret (or misinterpret) something as clear as "I am the way...?" However, I'm sure that if we searched long enough we could find a sermon or teaching that mangles that part of the verse as well.

So let's step outside of John 14:6 and look at the broader context of the book of John. Is there any other place where Jesus teaches that faith in Him is the only means by which one can obtain eternal life?
"For 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." (John 6:40)
Hmm...that seems pretty clear.
"Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever." (John 6:56-58)
Uh-oh, that sounds awfully clear too!

We could look at the parables in Matthew 13 of the hidden treasure and the costly pearl. With these parables, Jesus taught that "the kingdom of heaven is only for those who perceive its immeasurable value and are willing to sacrifice everything else to acquire it" (John MacArthur, The Gospel According to Jesus, 20th anniversary edition, 147). A true Christian is one who, by God's effectual call and irresistible grace, has repented and placed their full trust and faith in Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection. A true Christian, having experienced such miraculous regeneration, is one who is willing to and even desires to surrender everything in submission to the Lord Jesus Christ. And it is only those true believers who will inherit the kingdom of Heaven.

We could, in fact, look at numerous passages in both the Gospels and the epistles and see that, indeed, it is only by being a true Christian that one can obtain eternal life. Nowhere does Scripture even hint that on Judgment Day, Jesus will take a look at the Buddhist, the Muslim, the atheist, or the false "Christian" convert and simply "decide" that he or she is good enough to get to Heaven after all. No, the Bible is clear that it is only through a total submitting faith in Christ that one will be with Him for eternity. Come to think of it, it's rather amusing that these postmodern, emergent "Christians" would even desire to one day see Heaven. If they hold such little respect for Jesus, why would they want to spend eternity with Him? Of course, unless they repent and turn to Him in true faith, this won't be an issue...

The "conversation" in this video offers one other consideration, though. As Christians, we must be sure and certain of our faith. We cannot toss out a half of a Bible verse and then tell someone that they're blaspheming God when they disagree--it's not exactly an effective form of evangelism! No, you don't have to memorize your whole Bible to be prepared for an encounter like this. If it were me, I'd go back to the basics and take Jesus' approach: Law and Gospel. Try to get to someone's conscience with the Law, and then hit them with the Gospel. Beyond that it's out of your hands, so let the Holy Spirit do His job! And when it comes to this postmodern mindset of reinventing, re-imagining and redefining Jesus Christ, Christianity, and the Bible, all you need do is still just preach the Gospel. Not everyone is a trained apologist, nor are we all called to be. We are called to share the truth of the salvation that is offered through Jesus Christ, and we are called to contend for that truth when it is under attack. Be faithful to your calling and let God do the saving!

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