Mr. Cloudy's Shelter
A Place to Listen and be Heard

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Jesus and exclusivity

Ok. One of my secrets is that I spent a number of years studying theology, and once in a while the old habit dies hard.

Anyway, I want to mention a distinction I found useful. I grew up thinking Jesus is the only way to God, and tried to internalize the notion that people outside of Jesus were going to hell. I never could swallow that emotionally. And I've wondered over the years what place Jesus has in my worldview, and whether I'm any longer Christian.

When I studied theology I learned that there is a name for the kind of Christology (doctrine of Christ) that I grew up with -- Constitutive Christology. This means that it is in Christ, and only in Christ, that salvation is made possible and real.

There was a time I felt if you didn't have this constitutive Christology, then you weren't Christian. However, there is a name for an alternative Christology, called a Representative Christology. In this view, Christ represents the possibility of salvation that God always is offering. A Christian is one who encounters God, and God's offer of salvation, through the preaching of Christ, and who thus calls him Lord.

Now, even the use of the word salvation is troubling to me in some ways, but that's another post. But for now, this shift in thinking about who Jesus, the Christ, is, enabled me to feel one might be talking about a consistently loving God because it embraces a God who is always offering God's very self to us, to all of us, in all times and all situations, always seeking to redeem everything that can be redeemed. And some days I'm inclined to believe in that. God help my unbelief on the other days.

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