A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

I Want to Believe #15 (Final Post)

Chapter 15: "Way, Truth, Life"


Throughout history people have believed in many different gods and have practiced many different religion, all in the search for the answers to life's great questions; and they each have come up with distinctively different answers. "Christians believe that faith in Jesus Christ as the way, the truth and the life gives ultimate answers to these ultimate questions" (221). It is around these three aspects of Jesus as the answer that Lawrenz builds his last chapter.

The Way-- The only way to find real answers in life is to discover life's true destination "To have no idea where you are going in life is the essence of lostness" (223). Human beings face answers to difficult questions every day from how to confront a tough situation to matters of character and personal conduct. To know the way to the destination of life's journey assists us in walking on the right path to the final destination. Jesus provides that way to reunion with God.

For those who believe that the claim of Jesus' exclusivity is arrogant, Lawrenz reminds us that most religions are exclusive in their claims, and that the belief that Jesus is the only way is exclusive but not excluding. The Gospel is exclusive in that it claims that Jesus is the only way, but the invitation to believe in Jesus is an inclusive invitation offered to all. Jesus is exclusively the Savior because he has done for humanity what no one else could do. "And I am thrilled that Jesus Himself extended His mercy and truth to anybody and everybody in the world" (225).

The Truth-- Those who believe that human beings have advanced beyond the need determine the truth or who desire to make all religious truth relative (which embraces the false absolute/relative dichotomy) ignore the intrinsic necessity of living by the truth daily. We are continually looking for truth. The only way to live is if you assume that there's a difference between truth and falsehood.

While Christians believe that in Jesus, the fulness of truth is revealed decisively, that does not mean that believers reject that there is truth to be found in all religions; "all truth is God's truth" (229). We need the truth about God, the world, and ourselves; and God cares enough about us to tell us the truth, to reveal the truth decisively and uniquely in Jesus.

The Life-- "In this world where there are so many gods, everybody is trying to come up with an answer about life and death" (231). It was Jesus who knew that his death would become the means by which all people could live.

The search for meaning, the desire for answers today is no different from what human beings have searched from from the beginning. "The only real tragedy is when someone gives up looking for hope, when he or she stops saying, 'I want to believe'" (232).


In this last chapter, Lawrenz comes full circle to where he began the book. He puts the main point of his discussion before us once again-- Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. But such an exclusive claim is not exclusionary. It is a recognition that religious truth cannot be marginalized to the false sphere of the relatively irrelevant. Yes, people believe many different things about God, many people embrace different faiths, but what is believed, what is embraced matters greatly. It is not enough to believe that which is personally meaningful; it is critical to embrace that which is, if you will, actually true. It is only in such truth that the genuine meaning of life and true human purpose can be found.

In this book, Lawrenz has given us an extremely readable and thought-provoking work on apologetics. It should be used for Sunday School classes, other church studies, and even as a group discussion series at the local coffee shop. For those who read its pages, they should hopefully be instilled with a deeper awareness of the desire we all have to believe, and the significance of that desire in and of itself.

1 comment:

Keith H. McIlwain said...

Thanks for your reflections; I'll add this to my list.