Quote: "I do not intend to answer any new posts on this topic since I
know from my prior experience of debating with fundamentalists that it
yields no new knowledge unless both parties are willing to accept the
scientific framework of testing hypotheses with verifiable facts."
I would like to point out that this statement, based on a hardened and cursory understanding of the tenants and differences between "fundamentalism" and "orthodoxy," is completely unscientific on its face. Furthermore, what "verifiable facts" in any context are we looking for that would satisfy the post-er?
The ideas expressed by many similar "pluralists" always involve
Christianity giving up it freedom to share the Gospel, never requiring
others to respectfully listen. A full and honest "marketplace" of ideas never substitutes a "straw man" version of an idea to appease
Despite what the "Jesus Seminars" may have "evolved", the Orthodox,
Catholic, Protestant, Fundamentalist, Calvinists, Huguenots, Gnostics, Nestorians, etc, etc, - almost all sects of Christianity heretic or not before the post modern era - ALL believed that the message of Jesus Christ was to be shared in love with a two fold purpose - to win converts for Christ and to help mankind in whatever state or creed presented. The message was to be shared in both word and deed.
As to Biblical inspiration, the Bible being the "word of God" is not an idea originating with TV preachers from the USA, it is exactly what the Orthodox Church believes. However, we do not believe in "Sola Scriptura" as promulgated by the Protestants. The Bible, with the "Apocrypha," the writings of the Fathers, the Apostolic tradition, and above all, the guidance of the living Holy Spirit, causes us to formulate our creeds and doctrine. All these are experienced by us in the present day through fallible human communication, but we pray that the Holy Spirit brings to light the truth. In the wisdom of the universal church, evalgelism has never been crossed out.
It is a shame that the "pluralists" cannot understand that if one truly loves Jesus Christ, he does not turn into a "jehadi," but becomes the most potent force for loving and understanding his fellow man, regardless of conversion. A true Christian emulates Christ, who died for strangers regardless of response.
Of course, one can wish away Jesus' commands to evangelize via liberal (dare I say gnostic?) conventions such as the "Jesus Seminars," which remain unrecognized by any reputable mainline church for doctrinal substance. This certainly would be foolish for any practicing Christian.
I wonder if names such as "Alexander" and "Zacharia" would be present
among the current south Indian population if such "pluralists" were
counseling the Apostles? The "pluralists" may in fact have told St.
Thomas (or the Islamic prostelyzers for that matter) to stay home, but they then undermine the very notion of pluralism. (If there are not different faiths present, there is by definition no pluralism).
Do not despise the message of Jesus Christ by stating that Buddhism
(which does not even believe in a God), radical, terrorizing Islam
(which is patently anti-human and therefore anti-God), and Jainism
(which doesn't care what God) should in any way be equivalent. On the
contrary, share Jesus Christ with a respectful attitude to these and
others, letting the hearers make up their own minds congenially. We can agree to disagree, while at the same time not compromising the faith. We can certainly learn from other faiths, but others can learn from ours too.
TRUST ME - God loves the hearer of the message far more than the bearer does. The real Jesus Christ proved it with His blood, sacrificing Himself without forcing Himself upon anyone. Let Him perform the the "including" - I am charged with the "informing" via my words and actions.
Forgive me if I sound offensive to anyone, but also understand that
telling me to refrain from sharing Jesus Christ, and then essentially
labeling me a terrorist for feeling compelled to do so is quite
Dn. Zach Varghese, M.D.
Member ID 0970