Wednesday, September 13, 2006

inclusive love / exclusive truth

I am reading a book by Ravi Zacharias called, "Jesus Among Other Gods." In it Ravi makes some interesting comparisons and correlations. He describes the India in which he grew up. He notes that their pluralistic and pantheistic culture led to an inclusiveness in dealing with truth claims. Every truth claim was subjective and relativistic.

But in this seemingly "open" society which was so "generous" with truth was also born the caste system. Giving love was a very exclusive thing. Your family's status was the determining factor on whether you were worthy of love. They were anything but inclusive with their offerings of love.

Ravi points out that the gospel is different. Jesus opens the doors wide to the whole world. His offering of love was and is the most inclusive pronouncement of love the world has ever seen. Every tribe, tongue and nation is loved by God. Love, in the gospel, has reached its ultimate inclusiveness.

Yet, this inclusive love is dependent on an exclusive truth. Jesus is The Way. There is no other name given to humanity by which we must be saved. Truth, in the Kingdom of God, is exclusively found in the person of Jesus. Truth is not inclusive of all points of view and all religions of the world. It is not inclusive when dealing with philosophies and worldviews. Jesus and the gospel is a radically exclusive truth claim. It is an offense to our modern and especially post-modern mindsets.

Our Western world is attempting to imitate Eastern spirituality. We look to the East and see inclusiveness in truth claims. We mistake this for love and we call it tolerance. The driving assumption in the West is one of subjectivity, relativism and a sort of modernized pantheism. Yet while we hail "truth inclusiveness" as a triumph, we ignore its by-products like the caste system.

God demands an inclusive love, but not an inclusive view of truth. The inclusive love of the Kingdom of God is made possible by the exclusivity of Truth, who is Jesus. To assume an inclusive attitude toward truth will lead to greater inclusiveness in love is backward. It's not what we see in the gospel. And it's not was has played out in places like India.

I think we can see it happening in our own time and in our own culture. The more inclusive we have become with various truth claims, the more exclusive our love has become. We swing wide the doors of relativism, yet build our relationally tribal walls. We in the West will certainly affirm anyone's "truth" so long as they don't believe it to be exclusive. Simultaneously, we count the number in our clan so as to know exactly who is "in" and who is "out." We have enough love for our own tribe of people but none for any "outsiders." If we don't see that love and truth, and their inclusiveness and exclusiveness are related, we are fooling only ourselves.

2 Comments:

At 6:08 AM, Anonymous Jason said...

Mark,

I think what you've articulated here, inclusive love/exclusive truth, is a great way to frame things. I'm going to reflect on this further, personally.

 
At 7:06 AM, Blogger YadaYada said...

Mark,

My theology professor said once, and I agree, that tolerance is, in fact, a perversion of love. It masks itself as loving, but in truth in harbors only pride and illwill.

To tolerate someone is to think them wrong and yet not let them know. If I am pointing a gun in the wrong direction, perhaps at myself, I don't want someone to tolerate my decision. I want them to tell me I'm wrong and save my freakin' life.

Thanks, Scott (YadaYada)

 

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