Is Christianity Exclusive? Responding to the charges of a local Pagan leader.

A local Pagan religious leader in my community recently referred to Christianity as “narrow-minded,” “exclusive,” and “divisory.”[i] This particular leader went on to say that mainstream religions teach “one book one way” and suggests this is why people are leaving churches in a search for unconditional love.

The accusations this particular leader made are becoming more and more commonplace. Christianity (and Christians) is often type cast as narrow-minded and exclusive. Are these accurate charges?  Perhaps the comments of this pagan leader provide us with the opportunity for some self-examination.

Is Christianity “narrow-minded” or “exclusive”? When considering this question, it is important to differentiate between Christianity and Christians. Certainly, there is nothing exclusive about Christianity (or the Savior it is named for). The Bible teaches “God so love the world He gave His one and only Son so that everyone who believes will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God so loved the world. What is meant by the world if not everyone who lives in it? God loved everyone so much He gave His one and only Son. Why was this sacrifice necessary? Because we all have “sinned and fell short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And the “wages of that sin is death” (Romans 6:23). We are all born with a death sentence hanging over our heads and Christ went to the cross to serve that death sentence for each and every one of us. There’s nothing exclusive about the Gospel. People are only excluded by the way they respond to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. The great Charles Spurgeon wrote that Christ’s work on the cross was sufficient to save the whole world yet effective only for the elect. Christ went to the cross to die for our sins and we have the opportunity to respond accordingly. Everyone is included in Christ’s offer of grace. It is our response that dictates whether we are excluded or not.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not exclusive. It is easy, however, to find Christians who live as if it is. Christians are imperfect and there are times we fail to mimic the love and grace of Jesus Christ. This is regrettable. However, the Bible clearly teaches we are to behave differently, “Conduct yourselves honorably among the unbelievers, so that in a case where they speak against you as those who do what is evil, they will, by observing your good works, glorify God on the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12). As Christians, our behavior should represent Christ well. Our behavior should make Christ appealing to unbelievers and serve to help usher in their salvation rather than hinder it. It is a question believers must ask themselves, “Do I live my life in a manner that’s in accord with Christ’s sacrifice on the cross?” Many times, Christians engage Pagans, Muslims, Homosexuals, and even other Christians in a way that fails to recognize that the Savior we worship died for them.

We should live our lives in a manner that reflects Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. That way, when people accuse us of being “divisory,” “exclusive,” and “narrow-minded” their charges will be unfounded.

I’m not saying we should compromise Biblical truth to appease the beliefs of others. However, we can “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) and live our lives in a way that makes Christ attractive to unbelievers. Let Christ be their stumbling stone (1 Peter 2:8), not our behavior.


[i] The comments were made in the comment section of an article in the Chillicothe Gazette concerning a local Pagan Pride Celebration – http://www.chillicothegazette.com/comments/article/20120924/NEWS01/209240301/Local-pagans-come-together-celebrate-educate-others

Is Sin Relative?

Is Sin Relative?

A friend recently sent me a link to an article written by pagan author Patti Wiggington titled, Do Pagans Believe in Sin? I offered my friend an unsolicited rebuttal and thought I would share an edited version with my readers.

First, let me say that Wiggington is a wonderful writer. She clearly and articulately states what it is she and other pagans believe. I appreciate that because it makes it much easier to digest and rebut.

Having read the article, I found that Wiggington was suggesting that sin is “relative” – as such, she argues that sin is subjective. Here’s a quote that illuminates her argument, “Ultimately, what matters most is that you find a way to remain true to your own values and ethics.”

Christianity argues that sin is objective. It doesn’t matter what I think is a sin. If I think murder is okay, God still says it is wrong. If I think being a drug addict is okay, God still says it is wrong. Here’s where it gets tough … If I think lust is okay, God still says it is wrong. God says hate is akin to murder, it doesn’t matter what I think. To me, this seems far more realistic and practical than the argument that it is our own values and ethics that are important. Why? Basically, people are susceptible to stupidity. If you think about, responsible fathers treat their children the same way. We don’t leave our naive children to live life on their own as they see fit – we instruct them on the best way to live and the best choices to make. God treats us in the same manner.

Christ teaches that sin is objective, acknowledges that none of us meet a holy standard, and gives us a plan to deal with it and strive to be better. Again, this is exactly how a responsible parent handles their own children. You give them rules and guidelines to live by. When they mess up … you forgive them and love them anyway … just like God the Father does for us through Jesus Christ.

As such, I argue that Christianity is far more responsible than the pagan view and closely resembles an actual parent/child relationship.

In our lives, hind-site is twenty-twenty, right? In her article, Wiggington argues that multiple sex partners are okay as long as everything is consensual. Let’s put this concept to the test. Let’s say a married couple decides the wife should have a fling … everything is consensual, everyone’s adults, and what matters most is that everyone remains true to their own values and ethics. So the wife goes ahead and does it two or three times (now keep in mind that this whole time the Christian God is screaming that it’s wrong and begging her to stop). Somewhere along the way, the husband regrets his decision and finds that it is painful to know his wife has been intimate with another man. He asks her to stop and she does even though she was enjoying herself. Do you think the husband will ever get the image of his wife cheating out of his mind?

This is a case of a human being’s values and ethics changing. We do it all the time. This is why as we grow older we often regret the choices we made in the past. Meanwhile, the one true God has never changed His opinion on sin. Adultery was wrong before the wife did it and it is still wrong now. But even after such a mistake, Christ wants to draw us near, help fix it, and restore our relationship with God the Father.

Wow … God loves us just like we love our own children.