Sunday, May 18, 2014

Underground Pewster: How did your preacher approach John 14:6?


Today's Gospel reading is one which post-modern false prophets of "tolerance" and "inclusiveness" would just as soon ignore. That was the Underground Pewster's experience in church this morning, and he is interested in how others handled it.
Today's Gospel reading was John 14:1-14. After sitting through today's sermon, I wondered how other preachers tackled verse 6, 
"Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." 
I know how it was handled in our church.

It was ignored.

Sigh...

John 14:6 is felt by many to be a "clobber verse" or a sure-fire conversation killer. Repeating Jesus' exclusive claim is not going to make you many friends if you bring them up during an interfaith dinner party, and writing about it in the public sphere will assure that you are removed from any list of potential commencement speakers.

I remember trying to get a handle on this verse a few years back during an on-line theology group. At that time, I came up with what I called an inclusively exclusive response to the question of whether or not John 14:6 means that someone who has never heard the Gospel, or a good Muslim, or a good Buddhist needed to follow Jesus in order to come to the Father. I reasoned that Jesus could call a non-christian at the time of their death at which time that individual soul could respond positively or negatively. I for one would not want anyone to wait until the last minute like that, and I think we are clearly commanded to go and make disciples in the here and now, so my non-scriptural solution may not be of any merit.

Even if it poses problems for the modern, pluralistic mind, I think the subject is something that should not be ignored when it comes around on Sunday morning.
For what it's worth, here's my sermon on the text from this morning.