Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me.” This is a non-negotiable aspect of Christianity; in fact denial of this fundamental truth is disqualification for the faith, right? Sire mentions a plurality within a worldview, which got me thinking about some things. Is it bad for there to be plurality within a worldview, and what are some of the outcomes of such?
As a very conservative Christian, I am convinced by Scripture of several things: woman should not preach, speaking in tongues is only in order of there is an interpretation, divorce disqualifies for aspects of ministry, Jesus is God’s son and the only answer to sin, and there is a real hell created for Satan and his demons, but is also the punishment due those who refuse the gift of salvation. Within this list there are items that are open handed and closed handed issues. Open meaning, we can disagree but still maintain fellowship; closed meaning, this is a nonnegotiable requirement for fellowship. I can disagree, discuss, and debate on the outcome of divorce, speaking in tongues (along with other gifts), a woman’s role in the church, and Jesus died for the world or only the elect. These discussions, as long as being had in the spirit of Proverbs 27:17, can be profitable for further thought and meditation. These are good things, without some challenge on these things I may become stagnate in my ability to articulate these aspects of my faith. Things that are closed to debate are a literal hell and who will be there, the deity and ministry of Jesus, and requirements for salvation. These can be interesting to entertain differing aspects of these beliefs, but overt denial of these truths is without a doubt unacceptable.
Outside of my conservative evangelical paradigm there are other brothers and sisters in the faith that disagree with me on many things; these saints are Presbyterian, Methodist, Nazarene, and many others. The joy is, even though we may disagree on some of the open handed issues, we can still agree on the fundamentals of the faith, and in that we enjoy fellowship. Sadly, there are those outside the fold of evangelical Christianity that assert false views on Scriptural teachings. Peter (along with Jude) warns us about these false teachers and the heresy they profess. I am reminded of the emergent church, led by Rob Bell that denies a literal hell. I can recall with great clarity, a conversation I once had with a good friend about the Bible, he only believes the words of Jesus to be worth obeying; in that, he denies the plenary inspiration if the Bible. I have had discussions with people who believe all one has to do is be a good person to get into heaven, and that is all that is required for a Christian is to believe in God, yet this seems to go against what James says in chapter two of his epistle.
I was drawn to this discussion about plurality within a worldview because at the end of the day there are aspects of every worldview that are unknown; Sire calls these the subjective aspects. It is important for us to remember the word subjective is not evil. It is ok for there to be a reasonable amount of debate surrounding ones worldview. I believe it is in the challenging of what we believe that we are able to believe it with more confidence.