We have been talking about how we can discuss core Christian beliefs without “Christian” language. Before moving off this topic, I want to ask your help on one more thing. Jesus says that God loved world and gave his only Son (Jn 3:16). Is the “only” important, and how do you explain it?
The premise I am working from is that if we have explained the gospel properly, the uniqueness of Christ doesn’t need to be an issue that takes up a lot of time. If we have talked about the issues of our separation from God, the consequences of living and dying separated from God, and our inadequacy to do anything about the separation, then most people are going to understand that the rift between God and us can only be bridged by God. Certainly not by us. If we have adequately explained the atonement, then discussions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Spiritualism, or any other “-ism” are unnecessary, at least at first.
Now, please do not misunderstand. I do believe in the uniqueness of Christ. My question has to do with how we present the gospel in a limited time frame with limited vocabulary. I am wondering if it would be better to explain the issues above and allow them to lead inexorably to the conclusion of the uniqueness of Christ.
How does this sound?
We were created to be in fellowship with God. Because we have violated the relationship, we live separated from God and from true life. But because God is loving, Christ has done for us what we could not do for ourselves, and that is to take the initiative to repair the relationship. Only Jesus has done this.
Is it fair to conclude that it isn’t necessary to simply assert the uniqueness of Christ in evangelism, but it should be the natural conclusion to a balanced presentation of the facts of sin, separation, and the human inability to do anything about this? Of course, if the person asks about Christ’s uniqueness, then we discuss it.