The finality of Christ in a pluralist world

During a recent visit to the Diocese of Guildford, Archbishop Rowan Williams gave a lecture (based on John 14:5-6 and Acts 4:8-13) on the finality of Christ in a pluralist world. The whole piece is well worth reading, but here’s how he concludes:

‘[B]elief in the uniqueness and finality of Jesus Christ — for all the assaults made upon it in the modern age — remains for the Christian a way of speaking about hope for the entire human family. And because it’s that, we are bound to say something about it. We are very rightly suspicious of proselytism, of manipulative, bullying, insensitive approaches to people of other faith which treat them as if they knew nothing, as if we had nothing to learn and as if the tradition of their reflection and imagination were of no interest to us or God. God save us from that kind of approach. But God save us also from the nervousness about our own conviction which doesn’t allow us to say that we speak about Jesus because we believe he matters. We believe he matters because we believe that in him human beings find their peace. Their destinies converge and their dignities are fully honoured. And all the work that we as Christians want to do for the sake of convergent human destiny and fullness of human dignity has its root in that conviction that there is no boundary around Jesus — that what he is and does and says and suffers is in principle liberatingly relevant to every human being; past, present and future.

The challenge is partly re-connecting our christology (what we say about Jesus and the Trinity) with our anthropology (our sense of what belongs properly to human beings); and rightly understood, I think that the belief in Jesus’ uniqueness and finality allows us to do this. And, rightly understood, I believe it also allows us to encounter both the religious and the non-religious other with the generous desire to share, and the humble desire to learn, and the patience to let God work out his purpose as is best in his eyes’.

8 thoughts on “The finality of Christ in a pluralist world

  1. SAINTS,

    In this 1997 interview, Larry King asks Billy Graham about the future of Jews and Muslims not believing in Christ. [10. Billy Graham Soft Water Down Answer, T. 0:07-1:16] Dr. Graham states he can’t judge them, only God can. His calling is to preach the forgiveness of God. To this evangelist declaring who is going to hell is simply a side trail.

    “…Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Mat. 25:41)

    According to Jesus, anyone not believing in Him will be cast into everlasting fire. What is happening? Satan is attempting to undermine the doctrine of Christ. The result is more and more Christian leaders are refusing to judge between who is going to hell and who isn’t! Such compromise is having a drastic effect on the body of Christ.

  2. Paul,
    It is really intresting that you chose Mat.25:41. Read it again. It is really intresting that you qoute a part of Scripture that undermines your argument.
    I think the Archbishop is saynig that God in Jesus is the only judge and final judgment is his not ours.

  3. Elias,

    In this interview Larry King asks Catholic priest Larry Manning if one does not believe in Jesus will they go to hell? [8. Catholics Don't Believe Jesus Only, T. 0:01-0:42] He confidently replied they won’t. This popular theologian affirms the Roman Catholic Church believes Jesus is the source of salvation. He confesses Jesus as God. In the same breath he says a rabbi can obtain salvation without believing in Christ. Manning assures his audience it’s not the job of God to cast people into hell. Such rejection of the gospel is a doctrine of demons. This priest is proclaiming Jesus as the Christ while deceiving many.

    Joel Osteen pastors the largest congregation in America. Larry King asked him if other religious faiths are wrong for not believing in Christ. [9. Joel Osteen On The Gospel, T. 0:32-1:02] Shamelessly, Joel declares they are not wrong. That only God can judge their hearts. He cites Hinduism as an example. He believes Hindus aren’t wrong for not believing in Jesus because of their sincerity and love for God. What God is he talking about? Hindus will worship a cow as God before worshiping Jesus. A person’s sincerity or love for a pagan religion will never make it true. Hinduism is an evil deception that has sent billions to Hades. Osteen understands this yet he is willing to deny the doctrine of Christ on nationwide TV.
    Let us stand for the doctrine of Christ, Paul

  4. Paul,

    The Archbishop delt with this hard essue in a wise and honest and faithful way (at least that is how I see it) I think we should be thankful for having such a christian leader. Again the passage you qoute earlier doesn`t support your argument. I understand that you want to be faithful to the Gospel but frankly I find the Archbishop explanation more accurate and faithful to scripture (and to Christ) than yours.

  5. Saints,
    Mystery Babylon is holding a golden cup full of abominations. Her colors are purple and scarlet. The seven mountains which the woman sits is the city of Rome (Rev. 17:9). The woman riding the beast is called a harlot (prostitute) because she teaches spiritual fornication. This counterfeit is so deceptive most in the world have no idea who she represents. As we speak over one billion Catholics believe Pope Benedict has primacy over the world. [31. Was Peter the first Catholic Pope 1, T. 0:01-0:2:07] In submission they call him their Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ. They believe anyone refusing to acknowledge the Pope as the Father of all Christians is accursed of God. Yet Jesus warned His followers not to call anyone on earth their Father. There is only One Holy Father, God Almighty.

    “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.” (Mat. 23:9)

    Jeremiah warned His people not to pray to Semiramis, the queen of heaven (Jer. 44:18-25). Yet, millions of Catholics get on their knees every day and pray to their queen of heaven, Mary. Like the Babylonian priests proclaiming Semiramis as God, some Catholic priests teach Mary is now sitting at the right hand of God.

    “But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.” (Heb. 10:12)

  6. Pingback: (Slightly Post-)Sunday Sundries | The Veil Away

  7. Until 313 A.D. it was against the law to be a Christian. Such a person was an automatic criminal. But the followers of Jesus spread everywhere. Satan could see that he had to change his tactics. He would come up with a better scheme. What could the devil think of to do that would be better than killing Christians? Make things easy – and infiltrate! Like a wise general he would corrupt the church from the inside! Watch what happens. A great shout goes up in the empire. Emperor Constantine has become a Christian! The Christians are euphoric. No more being torn apart by dogs and lions, or used as dupes to be cut down in cold blood, or human torches to light up the arena for the gladiators. Now Christianity is the state religion! Things are going great or so it seems. But little by little, as everyone relaxes and quits worrying about being tortured to death, something happens. Compromise! Gradually the leaders, for the sake of popularity and gain let down the standards to make it easier for the pagans to come into the church. But this brings in errors and pagan customs. Not at all surprised by Satan’s scheme to corrupt His church from within, God gives us fair warning. Listen to Paul’s shocking words. “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [of the Lord] shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work:” II Thessalonians 2:1,2,3,4,7. Oh yes! He saw it coming. The mysterious work of corruption rapidly progressed after the death of the last apostle. Question: What happened? After persecution ceased, Satan’s great device was to control the leaders of the church. If he could infiltrate their ego; make them money hungry, the whole body would be affected. A popularity contest would be on to get as many heathen to accept Christianity as possible. The wealth and prestige of the church would grow. Who cares if you have to change the Bible somewhat to get them! Just introduce some of the heathen customs and rites into Christianity, give them Christian names, and the heathen will flock in. Of all horrors – that’s just what happened! The apostles had gone throughout the empire establishing churches in many cities. As time went by, smaller churches were built in the surrounding country-sides. The large centers were in Jerusalem, Rome, and Alexandria, Egypt. Rome finally emerged on top. The next step in the plot was for the church leaders to get control of the state, to help enforce their decrees. They achieved this beyond their wildest dreams. The epitome of this came when in 538 A.D. the entire city of Rome was handed over to the pope – the Bishop of Rome. For the next 1260 years, church leaders reigned with full civil authority. All just as predicted in prophecy! Incredible! But look at this shocker. It says that the beast has “the name of blasphemy.” Revelation 13:1. It became one of the leading doctrines of the church that its visible head is invested with supreme authority over bishops and pastors in all parts of the world. More than this, he took the very name of God! Daniel 7:25 says: “They have assumed infallibility, which belongs only the God. The profess to forgive sin, which belongs only to God.” On the pope’s official mitre has been seen the title “Vicarius Filii Dei,” which is Latin for “Vicar of the Son of God.” The claim that this is his official title has been stated publicly through the years. In Revelation 13:18 it says, “Count the number of the beast; for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six (666).” Let’s do it now and see what we find. Remember the Roman numerals you learned in school?

    V = 5
    I = 1
    C = 100
    A = 0
    R = 0
    I = 1
    U = 5
    S = 0

    F = 0
    I = 1
    L = 50
    I = 1
    I = 1

    D = 500
    E = 0
    I = 1

    TOTAL = 666!!!

    * “U” and “V” have the same value. Look in your encyclopedia under “alphabet.” One example is that on the “Arch of Titus” in Rome, it says, “Titvs” using a “v” for a “u”.

    THE THIEF COMES IN THE NIGHT & THE LORD RETURNS WHEN AND WHERE LEAST EXPECT HIM

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