Taken from Confessions of a Seminarian – Confessions of a Christian
“If I said 2 (beans)+2 (beans)=5 (beans), would you be “knocking” me by stating it is in fact, 4 (beans)?” (Brad)
I am guessing this in reference to these claims:
“your knock on other religions is something Jesus would frown on” (Luke)
“It would be truly unloving of me to deny my fellow sinners a knowledge of the one true God who desires to draw them to Himself” (Mike)
All this in reference to: “The exclusion of “Lord” not only denies the divinity of Jesus, but also denies the exclusivity of Christianity” (Mike)
I think the concept is a lot deeper than a question like ‘does 2+2=5 or 4?’. The question seems to want to deal with math – in which – we find one answer for the question asked. That’s not the same as dealing with teachings/writings – which can have more than 1 definition.
Granted, we are dealing with the salvation calculation (coined by me – lol)…but that’s like saying the way + the truth + the life = Jesus (who also = access to God). That’s a nice calculation per se – but we are dealing a teaching (requires interpretation) and not a math quiz.
The better example to teaching, from the mathematics background, is how math gets used. For example, in building a roof or even the edging of a home – do engineers only pick one single way of incorporating that simple math? Or do they find creative ways for the use of that simple math like rounded edges for the corners of homes or even a roof that is flat instead of cottage/bungalow?
In Engineering, we see that math gets used (which is all the same math principles) in a variety of creative ways to create ‘one home’ or ‘one roof’. Regardless of the differences in the way roofs and homes look – they are all still ‘a roof on a home’ or ‘a wall on a house’ – singular – in a very plural/creative world of houses.
That’s my breakdown of the complexity of exclusivity and using interpretation from a book (John) known for it’s many uses of symbology. ‘I am’ referring to the ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life…’ passage from John 14:6 of course. There is not only ‘one way’ of looking at that passage.
There would be only ‘one way’ if Jesus actually said this ‘I am the one/only way, truth, and life…no man comes to God but (literally and not figuratively) through me’. Now how that would look depends on the viewer – I ain’t never walked ‘through’ someone before so I am not sure of how this would look.
Fact is, Jesus is referring to his teachings – which can be boiled down to Love God and Love your neighbor…and anyone can do that. If he is not referring to his teachings but to himself – then why the need for baptism?
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:19)
Isn’t that kind of strange when all is taken care of already? This is apparently said ‘after the ascension’. All is already finished – except for this baptism thing – and the teachings which are referred to in vs. 20 (and baptism being one of the teachings Jesus knew about and approved – via John’s minsitry). Or is it that we can disregard baptism as a Christian ritual – although Jesus teaches us not to?
Also, the way ‘where’? To ‘heaven’. Or is there a deeper meaning there for the audience to peruse – like let’s suppose Gentiles are reading this…maybe they see ‘the way’ as the movement with it’s symbols and teachings (oddly enough – this term was also the name of the faith from Acts ‘the Way’).
If Jesus is ‘the way’ then we must be referring to ‘his teachings’ and not just the ‘life’ of the person (which encompasses all 3 parts of the John 14:6 sentence). Life/living is 1/3, seeking (truth mining/study) is 1/3, and acknowledging the path to God is in the teachings (which are not from us) is 1/3.
That’s another way I am looking at that simple math equation which when digested – lets us know math is more fun than we want to admit. I just found like 3 ways of looking at that passage – in a matter of minutes – but that’s literature for you.