Fox in the Pew Forum

There seems to be some disagreement between FOX News FOX Forum contributors Cal Thomas and Father Jonathan Morris.  The disagreement stems from the recent Pew Forum report on Religion and Public Life.  The disagreement is over the position which came out in the Pew Forum report as follows:

Most Americans agree with the statement that many religions – not just their own – can lead to eternal life.

Cal Thomas was upset, and rightly so, that the majority of conservative evangelical Christians believe this statement.   Jonathan Morris responded to Thomas and he, wrongly, doesn’t agree.  Morris is more in tune with the survey claiming that “followers of non-Christians religions” may find “within their own traditions a participation in the same truth” as Christianity.

I want to take a look at some of his claims.

Elements of goodness and truth found outside the structure of Christianity may still lead its followers in the right direction.

If this were to play out to be true then those followers would actually find Christ.  We wouldn’t even be having this argument.

In other words, as a Catholic Christian, I believe the grace flowing from the redemptive act of the passion and death of Jesus Christ is capable of reaching out to all people of all places in ways we can never fully grasp.

Scripture tells us this is done by preaching the word and spreading the Gospel to all nations.  That is the grace of God.  Is the all-knowing and all-powerful God incapable of sending missionaries with the Gospel to such folks?   And if Morris can never fully grasp this then what warrant does he have for even believing it in this context?

Christian belief in Jesus as the one mediator between God and man should not be understood as an eternal death sentence for the man born in a remote jungle who will never hear the name of Jesus.

Again, is the all-knowing and all-powerful God incapable of sending missionaries with the Gospel to such folks?  Did God not know such people would live in such remote places?  Does God know if they’d believe or not if presented the Gospel?

In God’s limitless creativity, he will always find ways to present himself as a gift to each of his beloved.

I wonder if “limitless creativity” is a mutable or immutable attribute of God.  Yes, He will “find a way” to present Himself to His beloved via sending someone with the Gospel.

It is fair to say, then, we are responsible to God in as much as God reveals himself to us.

Maybe I missed it, but how was this conclusion reached again?  It’s fair to say because Morris says so?

This recognition of God’s power to use various and imperfect instruments of salvation shouldn’t undermine the value of sharing in a respectful manner one’s faith with others.

Would these instruments be something other than Christ and His Gospel?  If so, there is no salvation in any such instruments.  Nothing “various” nor “imperfect” is going to save anyone, only the exact and perfect Jesus Christ saves.  There is no problem is sharing one’s faith respectfully though when the Gospel is shared many times there is opposition and disrespect.

If you know you have found something good, true, and beautiful, why would you not want your friend to have the same?

I agree here.  So why would one who has found such attributes as this in Jesus tell those of other faiths that they too can find truth and right direction without Jesus?

For what it’s worth…

Mark

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in Culture,Evangelism,theology

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