Friday, July 24, 2009

Everyone Makes Exclusive Truth Claims

Tim Keller really has a way of putting things. Yesterday was a prime example.

Have you ever talked to someone about the gospel only to hear them say (something like), "I don't have a problem with you believing in Jesus if it gives you peace and comfort. But you shouldn't go around trying to convert people!" In giving this sort of response, people think that they are being very tolerant and pluralistic. "Everyone can believe what they like, just don't impose your beliefs on others." This perspective sounds good because it seems to convey the idea that everyone's take on spiritual reality is equally good. It avoids committing the worst of sins: making an exclusive truth claim.

But there's a problem with their problem with my evangelism, as Keller said. What they really mean is, "I have a problem with you believing in Jesus the way you do," or "you shouldn't/can't believe the way you do." But this flies in the face of the very sentiment they think they are communicating. They are, in effect, saying, "My take on spiritual reality (in which everyone's beliefs are equally good) is better than yours (in which Jesus is the only way)." They are making an exclusive truth claim. You can't escape making exclusive truth claims, it seems, if you want to say that there is something wrong about evangelism/sharing the gospel.

Does this sound right to you? Do you think someone can stand in criticism of evangelistic efforts without making some sort of exclusive truth claim?


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