The Church and Religions of the World
The Church and Religions of the World
The crisis that faces the contemporary Church is a historic one. The disciples come to Jesus and ask Him to forbid a group who are casting out demons in His name and Jesus refuses. But the Lord specifically states that He has “other sheepfolds” and no one can do anything in His name and be against Him. It is critical in this dialogue to remember that it was not simply that this other sheepfold was doing works (for there were those who cast out demons, prophesied, and preached in His name and the Lord denies ever knowing them) but that they spoke of the name of Jesus and did not discount Him. Are the Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, and other included in this “other sheepfold?” Has salvation come to all without the classic system of hearing the gospel, believing, and testifying? If Christ died for the sins of the world, then did He die for the sin of unbelief? If God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself and not imputing their trespasses against them, then is there a difference between reconciliation and salvation? Can the enmity between humanity and God be removed while there remains the necessity of a human response to Divine revelation? Has God been found of those who were not searching for Him and has He visited those who did not call upon Him? How broad is this salvation of the world and the seeking and saving of that which was lost? Both the early Jews and Christians were exclusionists and believed that God plan included only the Law or the Gospel. So, the critical question remains: what must we do to be saved and who will be in heaven?