by Nathaniel Torrey
Dr. George Armstrong, an Anglican priest from New Zealand, says that it’s time for Christianity to “get with it” and step down from its monopoly on truth. He writes:
If no one religion has a monopoly on truth, love and power, does that mean that religions have to readjust radically? In the case of Christianity, yes. Christianity will, for example, have to understand its central figure, Jesus, as one prophet amongst the many other prophets of human history, religious and secular. Jesus is still seen by unreflective Christianity as the one and only way. That is no longer tenable. It may be painful for Christians, liberal or conservative, to readjust themselves radically to this realisation.
Jesus is no longer the Son of God, “the Way and the Truth, and the Light” (John 14:6). He is just a “prophet” of whom there are apparently religious or non-religious. In essence, Christ is just another important person who had some good things to say. That next part where He says, “No comes through the Father except through me?” Well, times were different then they are now. If only us unreflective (read: stupid) Christians would just see that it is no longer tenable! If only the Son of God had been as wise as the religious leaders of today!
Dr. Armstrong apparently hasn’t done much reflecting himself on the huge differences between the various religions. He claims, “any decent religion will have love, humility, awe, justice, and peace at its center.” Religious belief is not simply a matter of the effects it has; it matters what the contents of it are. It matters that Jews and Muslims reject Christ as God or that Buddhists see grace as unnecessary for transcendence.
For the Christian, it is of the utmost importance what is in a man’s heart, not just how they act. The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 2:29, “No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.” In other words it is not enough for a man to act in accordance with justice or to act humbly or act lovingly. A man could by all appearances look like a saint and be utterly rotten to the core if he is acting that way to gain praise and not to love the Lord. The point of Christianity is not to make a bunch of “nice” people to live out their days in relative peace and toleration: it is to offer them salvation and resurrection.