By now most of you have heard of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, long time pastor to Sen. Barak Obama and his comments that have become quite controversial. I have no interest in discussing them here. However, he did make one very interesting statement at his visit to the National Press Club a few days ago. There is a Baptist Press article here that discusses the theology of it.
The gist of the statement was a response to a question about whether or not Jesus Christ was the only way (John 14:6 says he is). The question directed at Rev. Wright was:
MODERATOR: Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the father but through me.’ Do you believe this? And do you think Islam is a way to salvation?
Wright’s response was:
Jesus also said, ‘Other sheep have I who are not of this fold.’
The obvious implication was that he believes other faiths can be saved. He is quoting John 10:16 in his response. The truth is Jesus was not saying that other people can come to salvation even if they are not believers in Jesus. He was telling a group of Jews that Gentiles will one day come to hear his voice and become his sheep. He was talking about us … European, African, Asian, Hispanic, and all non-Jews. And praise God for it. But he is not saying that Muslims, Hindus, or Buddhists are going to be saved. The label for this liberal theology is Universalism. It is the notion that all people of faith will go to heaven. You might have heard people say it this way: “All roads lead to the same place.” That is just now what Jesus taught. So to be a follower of Jesus Christ, one must reject Universalism.