Confessing Christ in a Pluralist Society

Gospel in a Pluralist Society Here are some great concluding words from a great book, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society.

“I want to suggest the word ‘confidence’ as the one which designates the proper attitude.  In a pluralist society, any confident affirmation of the truth is met by the response, ‘Why should I believe this rather than that?’  Every statement is liable to be met by this criticism, and – of course – if it is indeed an ultimate belief then it cannot be validated by something more ultimate.  Our ultimate commitments are (as I have argued in an earlier chapter) always circular in structure.  Having been brought (not by our own action but by the action of God) to the point of believing in Jesus as Lord and Savior, we seek to understand and cope with every kind of experience and every evidence of truth in light of this faith.  …We are prepared to recognize (as every human being has to recognize) that there are areas of mystery and that there are puzzles which are not solved for a long time.  But we expect to find, and we do find, that the initial faith is confirmed, strengthened, and enlarged ad we go on through life.”

“…As we confess Jesus as Lord in a plural society, and as the church grows through the coming of people from many different cultural and religious traditions to faith in Christ, we are enabled to learn more of the  length and breadth and height and depth of the love of God (Eph. 3:14-19) than we can in a monochrome society.  But we must reject the ideology of pluralism.  We must reject the invitation to live in a society where everything is subjective and relative, a society which has abandoned the belief that truth can be known and settled for a purely subjective view of truth – ‘truth for you’ but not truth for all.”

What happens if Christians become a minority in a pluralist society?

“…When that happens it is painful.  But Jesus assures us, ‘My Father is the gardener.’  He knows what he is doing, and we can trust him.  Such experience is a summons to self-searching, to repentance, to fresh commitment.  It is not an occasion for anxiety.  God is faithful, and he will complete what he has begun.”

Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, p. 244.

shane lems

3 Replies to “Confessing Christ in a Pluralist Society”

  1. I was wondering if the ‘literary approaches’ to the Bible are the same as this sort of narrative historical thing that is coming about in NPP and emergent circles? I am in NO way accusing you of those erroneous theologies(if they may even be called that) but, I am just wondering if there are those approaches in more orthodox/reformed circles? I am fascinated with the idea but lament the fact that those two erroneous or heretical groups are heavily using it or pioneering it.


    1. Hi Trent,

      There are some aspects of overlap perhaps, but I think it has less to do with literary approaches to the Bible per se, and more to do with one’s employing of those studies to anti-historical ends. A couple months ago, I did a post from Ryken & Ryken’s forward in the Literary Study Bible and wanted to link to it here as think it does help to show a conservative and orthodox approach to literary studies. (Shameless plug, I know …)


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