Marla Swoffer: Contest Entry #21
is part of a contest for a group blog, ‘Intellectuelle’ ( Bonnie, I am glad you are accomplishing your idea of Woman’s group blog!). This led to Blogational ‘s answer version and all was inspired by the original over @ Evangelical Update: Conservative Christianity: The Simple Way Out?
It is an interesting question.
“Recently, I saw Larry King ask a well-known Evangelical pastor how he knows that salvation is only through faith in Jesus. The pastor answered, “The Bible is the authority and I believe the Bible.”
I think I would ask Larry which part of the question was more important, the question of faith or Jesus? Because there are two questions, but then I would be accused of a non sequitur…probably through a quizzical look.
That’s why I will never make it to the Larry King Show. You need sound byte acumen for that sort of exposure.
In the context of knowing that Larry King is Jewish, and asking the question of someone, who most likely is representative of someone in the spotlight of Christian Conservatism, you are getting the basic question of “what makes Jesus so special?”
I’d have to agree with the critic, poster #21 “Simple? Yes. Thoughtful? Not really.”, who felt that the pastors answer was unsatisfactory. Too pat. And devoid of meaning for people outside the already Christian circle.
The pastor answered the first question, why faith? It is a doctrinal question and the main doctrinal answer is sola scriptura based. That is why that pastor answered,The Bible is the authority and I believe the Bible.”
But he wasn’t really listening, because that wsn’t what Larry really wanted to know. Larry wanted to know, “why Jesus?” Why more than Mohammed, or Moses, or Buddha?
Actually it is the more intellectual Christian who gets into trouble on this one. Because lots of little gears are grinding in that Christian’s head. The only real answer is the one of personal testimony and witness. And Christians, especially thinking Christians, are uncomfortable with that answer.
It doesn’t prove enough. It doesn’t shut down the opposition satisfactorally, like “Well, the BIBLE says”. It presents an option resting on the validity of the presenter, and dependent upon the proof that God will bring through personally to the receiver.
Not to the intellectuals liking. No, not at all.
So….. to the proposed premise in “Conservative Christianity: The Simple Way Out?” Is the Christian taking the simple way intellectually? In the simplicity of the gospel -yes. There is a certain amount of simplicity to the basic tenets of Christianity- which even a child can grasp and apply. The intellectual work is where it alwys has been: applying the knowledge of the system of thought to the outworkings of life.
That is what you find Paul grappling with throughout his epistles. This is where theologians apply gargantuan intellects to the knotty problems of existance.
We don’t have to do that as a Christian, but we have the tools if we are called to so endeavor. And the amazing thing is the real intellectual virility of something so simple as…. the gospel and the message thoroughout the Bible.
but for Larry King… I would not be ashamed to share my experience and try to tailor the answer of Why Jesus? to him personally.