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Summary: Respond to the unique claims of Jesus.

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WHO IS JESUS?

John 14.6

S: Jesus

C: Religion, pluralism

Th: Confusion

Pr: RESPOND TO THE UNIQUE CLAIMS OF JESUS.

CV: “We will clearly communicate the transforming truth of the Bible.”

Type: Inductive

PA: How is the change to be observed?

• Recognize that pluralism has difficult inconsistencies as a belief system.

• Examine the life and sayings of Jesus.

• Follow Jesus!

Version: ESV

RMBC 16 November 08 AM

There is a lot of confusion about religion in this world.

There are so many!

Besides Christianity, there is Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Sikh, Taoism, Confucianism, Baha’i, Judaism, Shamanism, and Animism.

It is hard keeping them all straight!

ILL Religion (H)

It was the week before finals at the university and everyone in the comparative-religion class was frantic because of all the complex words and ideas they needed to know. The professor had just finished reviewing an Eastern concept he identified as Taoist, when a fraz¬zled student protested, "But you said that was a Buddhist belief!"

The professor looked up with a smirk and said, "I’m afraid not. You see, that was Zen. This is Tao."

Well, it is all pretty confusing.

And, who is telling the truth?

Is it none of them?

Or is it some of them?

Is it all of them?

Or is only one of them telling the truth?

As Christians, we have some confusing questions as well.

Is there truth in other religions?

Is there truth that can be helpful to us?

Is there truth in them that is helpful to humanity at large?

And perhaps even more strategic for our understanding is…

Can a follower of a non-Christian religion be saved?

This is the third message of four in a series called “Confusion.”

And…

We have been asking some basic questions about life: What is truth? and What is sin?

When we ask the question, what is truth, we want to know what is true versus what is false.

What is right versus what is wrong?

We also want to know whether truth can be known?

This is where a distinctive is set-up between the modern worldview and the postmodern.

The modern worldview, which many of us fall under, believes that truth can be discovered and known objectively.

In contrast, the postmodern worldview says that truth is subjective.

In other words, one’s understanding of the truth is dependent on the experience you have.

Last week, when we asked, what is sin, we first discussed the postmodern belief of relativism.

Relativism is the belief that truth is dependent on a person’s culture, class, or individual experience.

Simply stated, truth is relative.

Truth is shaped by how you live.

It is shaped by where you live.

It is shaped by the relationships you have.

Ultimately, truth becomes what we want it to be.

Today, we are going to discuss the postmodern concept of pluralism.

Pluralism is relativism applied to religion.

There is a distinction that I want to make here.

I am not offering any evaluation or criticism regarding cultural pluralism.

We live in a country where we are free to believe what we want religiously without any political coercion.

This is great!

No one should be forced to believe what they are not convinced of in their mind.

This is what freedom of religion is all about, and as Christians, we had better appreciate that, and hold that dear.

What we want to zero in on is the idea of theological pluralism.

Theological pluralism believes that all religions ultimately have the same message and the same spiritual end.

This is very well illustrated by the Hindu writing Bhagavad-Gita:

“Howsoever men may approach me, even so do I accept them; for, on all sides, whatever path they may choose is mine”

According to this line of thinking, the Divine reality has many names – Buddha, Krishna, Allah, Jesus.

And they are all pathways to the same place.

Though it is not true for all, too many pluralists are casual in their thinking.

It seems it has become fashionable to just believe whatever you want from each religion.

It is popular because it seems to have a morally superior air of tolerance and acceptance.

“Oh, they are all good.”

But there is a problem with this for the postmodern.

This definition makes few intellectual demands of you.

Because…

To insist that the world religions teach the same things distorts what they actually teach.

You see…

As long as the meanings of the doctrines within the respective religions are preserved, they cannot be jointly accepted without absurdity.

For example…

The Bible asserts that Jesus died on the cross.

This is fundamental to the understanding and the obtaining of salvation for the Christian.

The Koran, on the other hand, asserts that Jesus did not die but was replaced on the cross.

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