The following is a “tweet-storm” that Union Theological Seminary recently posted on Twitter. It is actually prompted as a clarification to another tweet-storm they offered in response to John MacAthur’s Statement on Social Justice and The Gospel. Leaving that issue to the side for the moment, what this tweet-storm reveals, not surprisingly though, is the depths that Union has come to. They have been known since their inception of being a bastion of liberal theology, and so this might seem unremarkable to some. I just wanted to comment a bit on it. So read it in full below, then I will offer a brief comment.
Some people have asked why a Christian seminary would say that Christianity is not the only path to salvation. The short answer is that this in no way violates the Christian faith and, moreover, is integral to honoring and respecting our community. 2. For too long, Christians have misread verses like John 14:6 as implying that God is found exclusively through the Christian faith, many going as far as to say that people of other faiths face eternal damnation. This is an incredibly narrow reading of the text. 3. To box God neatly within the Christian tradition is to reveal a profoundly limited understanding of the divine. Who are we to say that God can’t speak to humanity through a multitude of messengers? 4. “No one comes to God except through me,” is simply Jesus’ prophetic announcement that—to know and enter into relationship with God—emulate Jesus: Embrace folk on the margins, stand against imperial abuses, love one’s neighbor. These aren’t exclusively Christian values. 5. And this isn’t a “good people from other faiths are Christians and just don’t know it” argument, just an admission of Christian humility that the way we’ve come to know and follow God isn’t the only path. Admitting this, however, by no means precludes Christian identity. 6. One can still uphold the Bible’s authority, personally; still believe fervently that Jesus is God-made-flesh; still worship in Christian community; still be a Christian in every meaningful sense, without saying anyone who believes differently is destined for hellfire. 7. Union is by no means disavowing Christianity, only admitting it is not the sole way to know God. And, in doing that, we open the door to genuine interreligious engagement that not only deepens Christian faith, but honors others’ religious experience as equally deep and valid. 8. Union now proudly offers programs in Buddhism & Interreligious Engagement and Islam & Interreligious Engagement. In our classrooms, Buddhist, Muslim and Christian students study side by side—exploring their faith together. 9. This is simply not possible in an institution that believes non-Christian students are destined for damnation. And this dynamic, while particularly acute in an educational setting, is just as true for the world at large. 10. We need faith leaders who can cross religious borders to strive together for God’s justice, not ones who demand everyone believe as they do. The globe is stricken with far too much religious violence: We need to deepen interreligious understanding, not add to this pain. 11. And this begins by letting go of narrow conceptions of salvation that harm others, building walls instead of bridges.
Here is how I responded to it on my twitter feed:
I mean honestly there isn’t much to say other than UTS is apostate. They operate under the mythology of something like John Hick’s pluralistic universalism. They also, as indicated in their twitter-storm only make bald-faced, limp-wristed, snowflake like assertions about the traditional view of salvation being too narrow. So what! Really, what does it matter what they or I think?! Has God spoken clearly with force in and through His living Word or not? Is there ‘no other name given under heaven by which people might be saved’ except Christ’s name, or not? They said reading John 14:6 as presenting an exclusive way to God through Christ alone is too narrow and rigid. Really? How did you come to that conclusion, and who allowed you to crawl into God’s mind and tell the rest of the world, and the church catholic what he ‘really’ meant? Don’t you—the authors of this tweet-thread—see the slippery slope you have slid down? Aren’t you aware, historically, of the ideational antecedents that have led you to the sort of neo-Cartesian/Gnostic theory of authority you are operating from when you presume to speak as God? May God have mercy on your ever-self-loving-souls.