Inclusivity depends on exclusivity.
Others-centered care begins with belief centered on Another.
My Facebook feed over the past few years has carried statements of exclusive belief. I have captured them here for review, reinforcement, and recommitment to an idea battered in social circles: to be inclusive one must first be exclusive.
- Belief endorses commitment. Exclusivity marks the belief. There can be no neutrality, no vacillation, and no acceptance of competing belief systems. The belief is a command of God, not a human invention.
- The exclusivity of Christ allows for the inclusivity of all. Many roads to eternal life divide people into strangers. One road to eternal life unites people into a family.
- If the belief is true, people have no other choice but to tell it. To explain that Jesus declared Himself to be set apart is not exaltation, it is merely quotation.
- I do not believe the Hebraic-Christian story because it’s better, but because it’s other. Distinctiveness is the mark of a biblical lifeview.
- The exclusivity of Jesus’ salvation makes inclusivity of all people possible. Including all beliefs as acceptable for salvation, however, allows human choice to be the exclusive voice. And human choice always discriminates.
- As a Christian I seek to love and listen to everyone. Loving and listening does not preclude the distinctiveness of my point of view. Distinctiveness is the very reason why being tolerant of people with differing beliefs is imperative. If there is no difference there is no discussion.
- If Church history teaches us anything, we know that inclusivity comes only through exclusivity. Christ followers are committed to one universal: Jesus as The Way, The Truth, and The Life (John 14.6). All peoples are given invitation to salvation; no one is left out. The practice of Jesus’ Grace is the gift of grace offered to all.
The idea that One Truth makes other “truths” possible is the only answer to the question “Who says?” If we begin with inclusivity, we are left with the unanswerable questions “To what are we included?” and then “Who decides who is included?”
The exclusivity of the gospel—“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”—is a God-centered origin. Inclusivity by itself is a human-centered construct—“I will declare what truth is.” Only the first, the exclusivity of Christ, is the sole provision for the inclusivity the culture desires.
Human-centered versus God-centered. The desire to welcome all comes simply through One Claim.
Only exclusivity allows for inclusivity.
When asked “Do you believe your belief is better than mine?” Mark responds “It is not my belief, but Jesus’ belief about Himself, that matters.” Dr. Mark Eckel is president of The Comenius Institute.