Mohler defends exclusivity of Christ
A Southern Baptist seminary president urged preachers to be unashamed about the message that salvation is in Christ alone.
By Bob Allen
The idea that Christianity is the only saving path to God is a hard sell in a culture that increasingly celebrates religious diversity, Southern Baptist seminary President Albert Mohler told preachers gathered for this year’s Together for the Gospel confab in Louisville, Ky.
“I want to affirm one central truth as I am among you tonight,” Mohler said on the opening day of the April 8-10 gathering. “The singularity of Christ is what saves us.”
Mohler described the exclusivity of Christ as a “universal apologetic problem” but urged preachers not to shy away.
“If we see it as a negative, hard, burdensome truth we are forced by Christian duty to bear, we slander the gospel, we misunderstand the gospel, we underestimate the gospel,” he said. “Only in light of its enemies is this truth burdensome and heavy to bear.”
Mohler said liberal Christianity has dealt with the claim by moving toward universalism, the belief that eventually all persons are saved, or, more commonly, inclusivism, which assumes that all world religions point to a common truth that at the end of the day will be discovered to have been Christ.
Since Vatican II, he said, the Roman Catholic Church has viewed the followers of other faiths as “anonymous Christians.”
More recently, he said, the notion has reared its head among people who call themselves evangelicals.
One example, he said, is Rob Bell’s book Love Wins, which speaks of a “hopeful universalism.”
“Is just not true to Scripture,” Mohler said. “It’s not true to the teaching of Christ. It’s not true to the teaching of the apostles, and we dare not be playful with what the Scripture tells us is the message of salvation. The consequences are eternal.”
Another evangelical author, Brian McLaren, wrote in his book A Generous Orthodoxy, “I don’t believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion.”
“All that stands between that statement and the truth is the New Testament,” Mohler said.
Mohler said such proposals work fine “if we don’t need a savior, but we do, and there is only one savior. Salvation is in his name alone.”
“If all we need is a teacher of enlightenment, the Buddha will do,” Mohler said. “If all we need is a collection of gods for every occasion and need and hope, Hinduism will do. If all we need is a tribal deity, then any tribal deity will do. If all we need is a lawgiver, Moses will do. If all we need is a set of rules and a way of devotion, Muhammad or Joseph Smith will do. If all we need is inspiration and insight into the sovereign self, for crying out loud, Oprah will do. But if we need a savior, only Jesus will do.”
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