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JESUS THE EXCLUSIVIST

Pastor Jay Peters

June 2015


Recently, I read a blog on Out of Ur, a website hosted by leadership journal. It was an interview with both Tony Campolo and Brian Mclaren, in which both try to deconstruct the traditional evangelical view of hell. I was amazed to read of their conclusions.

One aspect that struck me was McLaren’s idea of how we as Christians obsess on who’s in and who’s out. Yes, this is the same Brian McLaren that said he is not sure “what we should think about homosexuality.” He then called for a 5-year moratorium on making any pronouncements about whether homosexuality is a sin or not. “In 5 years, if we have clarity, we’ll speak” he said. “If not, we’ll set another 5 years for ongoing reflection.”


I guess then I should not be too surprised when he say’s that exclusivism (the action or policy of excluding a person or group from a place, group or privilege) can cause all kinds of problems. “It can create a view of God as a vengeful torturer, and that has played a role, I believe, in horrible behavior in the part of western Christians-from anti-semitism, to slavery, racism and a holy war mentality. In other words, if we can identify some people as God’s enemies, hated by God for all eternity, we can find ourselves directly disobeying Jesus’ clear teaching about loving our neighbor and our enemies.”


In light of this remarkable conclusion by McLaren, I would like to look at the teaching of Jesus and see if he was exclusive in his statements and demands to the world and His followers. At the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry (Luke 4:25-29), we find Him telling the story about only Zarephath the widow was sought by Elijah and only Naaman the Syrian was healed of leprosy. Do we see God being exclusive in these passages? The crowd did not seem to like that, as they tried to kill Jesus by throwing him off a cliff. And today, there are still people who do not like the idea that Jesus could possibly not accept everyone and all will receive the same blessing, regardless of their lifestyle and beliefs as long as they are sincere. This was also portrayed in the recent film Bridge To Terabithia in which we are assured that God could not damn a sweet 14-year-old girl to Hell.


The current trend in church today is to make people feel comfortable and accepted, at all costs, even the cost of truth. Yet if someone has a terminal disease, and we have the cure in our possession, though it may hurt to administer the medicine, we would rather keep them comfortable and let them die, so as not to not injure or offend.   


Consider the following group of Scriptures as we look at the way Jesus interacted with those around Him during His earthly ministry. Keep in mind these are only a few of the many that could be cited in bringing clarity to this issue.


Luke 5:31-32: Jesus distinguishes between the “righteous” and the “sinners” also the “sick” and “those who are well”.

Luke 6:45: Jesus describes a “good” person and an “evil” person. His response to those who did not receive his disciple was “even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off against you.” Jesus states that it would be more tolerable for Sodom than that town. God promises horrible, terrible things for those who reject Christ (Luke 10:10-12).

Luke 10:16: The one who hears and the one who does not hear.

Luke 11:23: He that is not with me is against me. 

Luke 12:8-9: The one who acknowledges Christ and the one who denies Him.

Luke 12:41-48: The contrast of the obedient manager and the disobedient (who was either cut in pieces or received a severe beating.) 

Luke 13:23-30: verse 28, “In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out.” 

Luke 14:7-24: The Wedding Feast; those at the table, and those not.

Luke 16:19-31: Rich man and the beggar; one in hell, one not.

Luke 17:22-35: This passage is very clear that one is taken, and one is not.

Luke 18:10-14: The tax collector and the Pharisee: only one is justified. 

Luke 18:25:  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.

Luke 19:11-27: The difference in the servants and the fate of those who did not use what they are given.

Luke 20:45-47: The distinction between scribes and their greater condemnation.

         

Tares and several other parables contained in the gospels alone. This mindset is so dangerous because it makes us passive as Christians. One of Satan’s best tactics is to keep Christians silent, as the power is in the word of the cross. It is a subtle strategy, but if he can make us feel we are actually doing righteousness by simply loving and accepting everyone and not asking for change, (which by the way is not loving at all) we are allowing his plan to continue in their life.  We know our God is a loving father who disciplines us for our good (Hebrews 12:10). When Satan can keep one soul silent about Christ and in the state of sin and compromise (such is the likely outcome of the Rob Bell Bullhorn video) he has done his job. We need to see and respond to people where they really are. 


We need to judge rightly for the sake of Christ and of his kingdom because eternity is at stake. Jesus, John the Baptist, Old Testament prophets, Paul and the early church understood this, and were not afraid to stand at the cost of ridicule, persecution and ultimately death.


Truth has been sacrificed to desire, and the mind has been shrewdly employed by the darkened heart to shroud its passions. We are all given to this. Our only hope is the transforming work of God in our hearts to free us from the bondage of a hardened heart that produces a futile mind. 

- John Piper, From Cain (Genesis 4:9) to Clinton

Jesus the Exclusivist: Articles & Resources
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