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The Gospel

John 3:16  (GOD"S WORD translation, with my notes in bullets)

God loved the world this way ...
  • God loved the world, and showed it in a particular way. The world is the physical realm and we who inhabit it. It is the orderly arrangement which God originally designed. (Greek: "Kosmos")
He gave his only Son ...
  • God had only one Son. God the Father gave him as an act of love -- for the world.
So that everyone who believes in him ...
  • Conditional upon believing. Some will believe and some will not.
  • Believing means to have faith in, to entrust. Not just to believe he existed, but to place confidence and trust in him. (Greek: "Pistis")
Will not die (perish) ...
  • Perishing is the outcome of not believing in God's only son. Those who believe shall not perish. Perish means to be destroyed fully. Die. Ruin.  
  • Perishing is our pre-existing condition. Perishing is what we know until we believe. If we believe.
  • Some shall be ruined. Conditional upon a lack of belief and trust in him.
But will have eternal life.
  • Those who believe in God's only son will have eternal life. 
  • Eternal is outside of time - ageless. Eternal is not only forward-looking. Eternal is that which has always been and always will be. It refers to the very quality of God.
  • Life (Greek: "Zoe") is not mere physical, heart-beating life ("Bios"). It is the highest order of life - real life. It is to be truly alive. Mere physical life, without "zoe" life, is simply animal life. (Psalm 49:20 is an indicator of this.)
  • Eternal life is a new kind of life, outside of time; the real life, the higher life.
  • This is not only "after I die" life. This will impact us now and forever. (John 10:10) ... "I (Jesus) came that they might have life (zoe), and have it abundantly."
  • The hinge between real life and real death is believing in Jesus Christ, God's son.

Jesus Christ is the stumbling block. We live in a gray society where absolutes are resisted, feared and frowned upon. Most reasonable people wouldn't have a problem with me saying that I believe in Jesus Christ. However, if I were to say that Jesus Christ is the only way to God -- that He is exclusive -- which the Bible clearly teaches (John 14:16, Acts 4:9-12), it could cause severe controversy. And yet, can I call myself a Christian if I believe in Jesus with an asterisk -- if I believe that he is "my way" but not necessarily "everyone's way?" This non-exclusive Christ is a Christ of my imagination, not the Christ of the Bible.

Truth is truth. Society does not dictate truth -- it does not legislate truth -- it does not define truth. History is bulging with examples of entire societies being deeply, horrifically WRONG, again and again. The current social and political climate do not govern truth. Truth, actual real truth, answers to no one and stands apart from the influence of man's perceptions, beliefs, and ideas. Thus Jesus says (again, John 14:16) "I am THE way, THE truth, and THE life. NO ONE comes to the father except through me." Jesus himself uttered the absolute; Jesus made himself a stumblingblock to pluralism with the words of His own mouth.

Final truth is not a matter of degrees. It's not a sliding scale. It's an "on" or "off" switch. 

The person who believes in religious pluralism -- the idea that there are many paths to God; many equally valid, and yet contradictory, religious truths -- may not, logically, hold this view in reference to Christianity.
In fact, this view even takes religious truth out of the realm of fact and into the realm of opinion -- out of the realm of real truth and into some fuzzy, undefined category outside of real truth. The Principle of Contradiction -  the logical principle stating that two essentially contradictory statements CANNOT both be true at the same time, does not allow for this view in logical discourse. So unless religious truth is fundamentally different from good old fashioned "truth," i.e., "what is true," then the whole dichotomy between "religious truth" and "regular truth" is a false one. Biblical Christianity doesn't make claims to "religious truth" apart from "regular truth." There is no distinction.
So, as I said, the person who believes in religious pluralism -- the idea that there are many paths to God; many equally valid, and yet contradictory, religious truths -- cannot, logically, hold this view in reference to Christianity.

The Principle of Contradiction will not allow it. Either Christ is right and you are wrong, or He is wrong and you are right. The issue itself is whether there are many truths or one truth. The Jesus of the Bible has already given his answer -- "I am the (exclusive) truth." If you think there are many ways to God, you must eliminate Christ as a candidate. His entire claim hinges upon His exclusivity. To make him one "way" among many is to set him aside entirely, to create an imposter who is non-exclusive, to give this imposter the name "Christ," and to then fit this imposter neatly into the worldview of religious pluralism. It is an exercise in pure fantasy.

I don't believe in a Jesus, nor does the Bible portray a Jesus, who was wrong about anything, at any time. Jesus never retracted a statement; never apologized, never revised his statements. He made his claims as clearly as they could possibly be made in human words: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father, except by me."

The issue is simple -- either he is the the way, the truth, and the life, or he is not. Either he is the only way to God the Father, or he is a liar, unworthy of anyone's fidelity, trust, or belief.

He cannot be pulled into gray. He kills the gray area with the words of his own mouth.

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