Christian Apologetics - Lesson 24


Pluralism is the view that all religions have salvific value.

Ronald Nash
Christian Apologetics
Lesson 24
Watching Now

Is Jesus the Only Savior

Part 2

II.  Pluralism

A.  Early Life of John Hick

1.  Profession of Faith

2.  "All religions have salvific value."

B.  First Stage

1.  Copernican Revolution in Religion

2.  God-centered view of human salvation

3.  Hick appeals to a loving God - Universalism

4.  Implied that God was a personal God - created problems

5.  Epicycles

6.  Modifications

a.  "God is both personal and impersonal."

b.  "God is unknowable."

C.  Second Stage

1.  Salvation-centered view of the world religions

2.  Immanuel Kant

a.  Phenomenal God

b.  Real God

3.  Five Blind Men and the Elephant

4.  No religion has the whole truth about God.

5.  God as Ultimate Reality

6.  What if God really is personal?

D.  Eschatological Verification

E.  Criticisms

1.  Anything can function as a religion.

2.  Salvation is different for different people.

3.  Contradicts himself.

F.  Two Desperate Measures

1.  Essential vs. Nonessential

2.  Belief about Jesus

G.  Other Issues

1.  Geographical/Cultural Conditioning

2.  Tolerance

  • Introduction to Apologetics.

  • Apologetics involves finding evidence and presenting arguments to defend the Christian faith.

  • Two prominent worldviews are Christian theism and naturalism.

  • The law of non-contradiction states that A cannot be B and non-B at the same time and in the same sense.

  • Explanations and responses to different worldviews.

  • If God is good and all powerful, then why does evil exist?

  • Discussion about how the existence of evil is consistent with God's character.

  • Your noetic structure, presuppositions and view of epistemology are important elements in the formation of your worldview.

  • Discussion of deductive presuppositionalism vs. inductive presuppositionalism.

  • Objections to inductive presuppositionalism.

  • Arguments for and against evidentialism.

  • Arguments for and against foundationalism.

  • Discussion of natural theology.

  • There are valid, sound and cogent arguments for the existence of God, but no coercive proofs.

  • Discussion of different arguments for God's existence.

  • One version of the cosmological argument for God's existence emphasizes God as first in time, another emphasizes God as first in importance.

  • A possible world is a way the real world could have been. Modal logic, propositions, state of affairs and eternal entities are some of the considerations when discussing a possible world.

  • Something is logically possible if its description does not include a logical contradiction. The existence of the laws of knowledge refute the system of naturalism.

  • Middle knowledge is a form of knowledge attributed to God by Molina.

  • Miracles are a dividing line and central to Christianity.

  • David Hume's rational arguments against miracles and responses to those arguments.

  • Two miracles central to Christianity are the incarnation and resurrection.

  • The question of whether or not Jesus is the only savior touches on pluralism, inclusivism and exclusivism.

  • Pluralism is the view that all religions have salvific value.

  • Inclusivism is the view that even though the work of Christ is the only means of salvation, it does not follow that explicit knowledge of Christ is necessary in order for a person to be saved.

  • Salvation is totally the work of God and all children who die in infancy are elect of God.

  • Discussion from a biblical perspective of God's character and attributes.

  • Open theists believe that God does not have a perfect knowledge of the future.

  • Divine omnipotence and divine omniscience are two attributes of God.

  • When contemplating life after death, remember, Jesus has been there and come back. Will you commit your life to him or reject him?

These lectures were given at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida during the fall of 2001.


Dr. Ronald Nash

Christian Apologetics



Lesson Transcript

[00:00:02] Let's take care of pluralism first. John Hicks pluralism. Now, there is no need to justify justify the selection of John Hick as the sample pluralist because in in liberal circles. And by that I mean in the case of religion departments that are theologically liberal, in the case of colleges that are theologically liberal. John Hick is a hero. He is portrayed as perhaps the greatest contemporary thinker about world religion to come along in 100 years or longer. He's a hero. If I often tell high school kids, if they make a mistake and go, I'll go to the wrong college, they're probably going to end up taking a religion course that simply goes over John Hicks stuff. Let me tell you a thing or two about John Hicks early life. I first became acquainted with his work around 1958, about the time I was beginning my graduate work at Brown University. Hick at that time was a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, and I knew that he was fairly orthodox. He was fairly conservative with respect to everything except Scripture. The one Achilles heel in John Hicks theology back in 1958 was his neo orthodox view of the Bible. He denied propositional revelation. And as I argue in one of my chapters, I think that's that's usually where a lot of people go wrong. Once once they deny propositional revelation, the God, the idea that God actually reveals propositional truth to the human mind, then it's just a matter of time before they go off the off the reservation on some other issue. Prior to that, I discovered later John Hick had made an evangelical, had professed an evangelical conversion late in his teens or early in his twenties in connection with an InterVarsity group in in in England.


[00:02:40] In fact, about eight or nine years ago, James Packer was in town and we were at a cookout at some golf course, I think, in Lake Mary. And we got to talking about John Hick and Joy Packer told me that I think if I remember correctly, that he was present the day that John Hick made a profession of faith. And on the basis of that experience, Packer was willing to defend the fact that Hick Hick was only a an errant brother. And I said to Packer, I said, But look, Scripture is clear. No man can be a Christian when they deny the Lordship of Christ. And Packer thought about that a moment and he said, Yeah, I hadn't thought of that. You've got a point. You know, with a great deal of pain. But I think confidence, I think it's clear that Hicks profession of faith was like what Jesus describes in Matthew 13. You know, the seed fell on stony ground and maybe it came up for a little while, but then it withered and it died. No one can be a Christian who denies the Lordship of Christ. And that's John Hicks position. Now, what Hicks says is Jesus is savior for me. But I'm sorry, That's not enough. That's not adequate. If Jesus is not the only savior, you don't know what you're talking about. Whether or not you are ordained in the Presbyterian Church, USA now. John Hick set out. John Hick. Was fairly sound until we get into the sixties and by the time we get to the seventies. He's lost it. He hasn't lost his salvation because I don't think the guy ever had it. All right. And I'm sorry to say that I'm not rejoicing over this fact.


[00:04:43] But something that became apparent in 1970. And I noticed it. This guy, whom ten years earlier I had been willing to regard as an erring brother who was basically messed up in his view of scripture and special revelation, came out with the first of his writings in which he said All relig, all of the major religions have salvific value and Jesus is only one of many saviors. Now, let's go through what I call here hicks early stage. The first of two stages. The first one runs from 1970 to 1980. What Hicks produced then was what he called a Copernican revolution in religion, a Copernican revolution in religion. Now there have only been four Copernican revolutions in the history of ideas. The first one was produced by Nicolaus Copernicus. Okay. And no doubt you remember what before Copernicus astronomers had said Earth. The Earth is the center of the solar system, and the rest of the solar system revolves around the Earth. What Copernicus did, of course, was to put the sun at the center of the solar system and all of the other planets rotated around the sun. It was called the heliocentric theory, as opposed to the geocentric theory, which was that of the early Ptolemaic astronomers. I could go on and say more about the original Copernicus's work. Well, the next Copernicus revolution was called was claimed by Emmanuel Kott, who died in 1804. The great German philosopher Conte said prior to his philosophical system. Previous philosophers had made the world the center of the epistemological universe. They, in other words, can't claimed before I, Immanuel Kant, came along. Philosophers had said, We come to know the world insofar as we accommodate, we adjust our understanding of the world to the structure of the world itself.


[00:06:58] The center of the epistemological universe is the world. What Kant did that was his Copernican revolution. He made the human mind the center of the epistemological universe, and thus everything that we come to know and believe about the world is dependent upon the prior structure of the human mind. If you took the history of philosophy course, you'll recall everything that I said about that. If you didn't take the history of philosophy course, you can read what I say about it in the intro to Philosophy text. The third so-called Copernican Revolution was Hicks view. It came next in his early stage. What Hayek said. He offered a Copernican revolution. Of religion. And what Hicks said was, before I came along, every Christian made the the center of the of the Salvific universe. Jesus. Or let's just say the Christ. Okay. This was a Christological, a Christological view of worldwide salvation. Jesus is the center of the satiric, logical universe. What Hayek did was to eliminate Jesus and make God. The center of his first Copernican revolution. So he replaced a Christological view of salvation with a theo centric view of salvation. Now, just for the sake of completeness, I probably am obliged to mention the fourth and only other guide to develop a Copernican revolution. And that would be Nash, somebody named Nash who did this in economics. It's a Copernican revolution in economics, and I do that in my great book, Poverty and Wealth. But I'm too humble to pursue that further. So we won't will erase my name. Okay. Now back to Hick. We have a crisis. We move from a Christ centered to a God centered view of human salvation. But now notice the problems. With what? With Hick's position between 1970 and 1980.


[00:09:26] First of all, he appealed to a loving God. You see, by this time, Hayek had become a universalist. He had come to the belief that everybody even the most. Damnable human beings who have ever existed. Everybody's going to end up in heaven sooner or later. Yes. Now, it will take a little longer for Hitler. You know. But by 1970, Hitler may have already made it. I mean, after all, if you die. Knowing that you deserve to go to hell. And you suddenly wake up and you hear God saying, Now I'm going to give you a second chance. Do you really? Let me show you. Let me give you a two second glimpse of hell here. All right. And is that what you want? Well, you know, I don't know many people who would choose hell. But even if Hitler said the second or third time he preferred hell to heaven, God's going to get Hitler sooner or later. According to Hick. Okay. Now the basis for Hicks movement here was an appeal to a loving God. Would a loving God ever be allowed, ever, ever be involved with sending people? To eternal perdition. And Hicks said, Obviously not, but immediately he had a problem. Here's why. You've got to understand that Hick was trying to pacify proponents of all of the other religions. He wanted to make Who? Hindus and Buddhists and Confucian tests and Shintoism and everybody else believe that he was a tolerant, compassionate guy whose understanding of things would mean everybody was going to go to heaven. But there was one problem Hicks appealed to. A loving God implied that God was a personal God. Now that creates problems for animists. Who don't believe in a personal god at all. This created problems for many Hindus.


[00:11:54] And this especially created problems for the two major schools of Buddhism. One school of Buddhism is pantheistic. That means God is not a person. God has no specific knowledge. God is an IT or a force. If you want to see Buddhism at work, go out and rent the first Star Wars movie and you know the force be with you. That's Buddhism. The other major form of Buddhism is atheistic. There is no God at all. Now here is hic pretending to be a body to all of these practitioners of other religions. But he is presupposing there is only one God who is a personal God, but who also has biblical attributes. Hick was cheating. Now I got to go back a little bit to Copernicus's view of the solar system. I thought I could skip it. What Copernicus did, of course, was put the sun at the center of the solar system and then the other planets and the other heavenly bodies in our solar system rotated around the earth. The previous position, which was known as the Ptolemaic view, dating back to about 300 A.D., had the Earth as the center of the solar system. But the ironic thing is that for the first 20 years of Copernicus's model, the Ptolemaic view had more predictive power. The Ptolemaic view was was more successful in predicting where a planet might be on a particular date at a particular time. And the reason is the Ptolemaic view. Had developed a theory of epicycles that is in order to make the Ptolemaic model work. They had an Epicycles is an orbit on an orbit. So there were some heavenly planets whose orbits did not circle the earth. They had orbits outside. You know, they had a different type of orbit that's called an epi cycle.


[00:14:14] And then to make it work, they even had Epicycles on Epicycles. And crazy as it seems, it worked better than Copernicus's system. It took about 20 years for people. And the guy who actually did it was named Kepler. He discovered that the problem with Copernicus system was he assumed that the orbits of the planets were were circles. And what Kepler did was to say, let's assume that they are ellipses. And once that change was made, then the Copernican model began to work. Now the word epicycles becomes very useful to hic. Because what Hicks said was that Christians, in an effort to justify their position, were making the same kind of ad hoc move. Look that up in the dictionary if you wish. They were making the same kind of ad hoc move that the Ptolemaic astronomers made by the use of their epicycles. But the fact is that Hecht then began to develop his own epicycles. Okay. So. Mr. HIC You're contradicting yourself. Mr. Hick You're prejudging us. Mr. Hick You are. And exclusivist yourself because your position really is is condemns those of us who are pantheistic. Those of us who are polytheists. Those of us who are atheists. Your view is judgmental. You are simply a new kind of exclusivist because your position contradicts polytheism, pantheism, and so on. So what he did was he made he introduced an epic cycle in order to preserve his tolerance and everything else. He makes his modification, his first modification in his Copernican revolution. And here's what he said. This would be published around 1970. He said, God is both personal and impersonal. That's cheating. It is possible for God to be personal. Obviously, it is possible for God to be impersonal. But how can God be both personal and impersonal at the same time and in the same sense? Hayek is clearly feeling some pressure here.


[00:16:48] Once people jumped on that. Parentheses. What I'm trying to show you here is how that hick. Always responded to criticism. But he never abandoned his position because the one thing that was most important to Hick was a repudiation of a Christological view of salvation. So he would tinker here and he would tinker there. He would utter contradictory statements he would introduce and a new kind of cycle. But never once would he challenge or question the fundamental character of his position. So his second modification of his first Copernican revolution was to simply say God is unknowable, the first God is personal and he's love. That won't work. Secondly, God is knowable and unknowable. That won't work. So finally he or what I say He got his personal and impersonal. And then finally he says, God is unknowable. We don't know what we're talking about here. Now, you probably have heard me say that you should be careful whenever anybody tells you that God is unknowable. And here's the reason. As soon as somebody says God is unknowable, notice how many things they can tell you about this unknowable God. Let me pick them off for you. First of all, Hayek knew that God was unknowable. How could if you can't know anything about God, how can you know He's unknowable? Secondly, how can you know that this unknowable God exists and consider the other problems that come with that as well? Notice all that Hickmott tells us about this unknowable God. So by 1980, Hayek has abandoned his first Copernican revolution. It is a disaster, but. He doesn't give up. He just finds a new way to to express his polytheism. So here's what he does in his second Copernican revolution. First he had a Christ centered view of salvation that Christians have a Christ centered view of salvation.


[00:19:00] Then they have a God centered view of salvation. Now, Hicks says, we're going to have a salvation centered view of the world religions. But one of the problems he's going to have is this What will the word salvation mean? I'll tell you shortly. Hicks hero for the first Copernican revolution was Copernicus. Hicks hero for his second revolution is Emanuel can't. Those of you who've taken the history of philosophy course, you know that central to Kant's thinking is the difference between two worlds. The two worlds that Conte talked about were the phenomenal world and the new world. If you have not taken the history philosophy course, I haven't got the time to go into all of that detail, but you will find it in chapter 12 of the intro text. The phenomenal world is the world as it appears to us. The nominal world is the world as it really is. It's the world of things in themselves. Okay, so what Hayek does at this point is distinguish between a phenomenal God and a numinous God. The phenomenal God is the God as it appears two different religious advocates in different places at different times. So the god of different Hindu sects, the God of different Buddhist sects, the God of different Moslem sects, all of these are phenomenal gods, and we must never confuse these phenomenal gods with the real God. Who is the nominal God? At this point, Hayek uses an old Indian parable. That works very nicely. It's not original with him, but it works very nicely. It's the picture of five blind men. Who come into a jungle clearing and they encounter an elephant. But each of the blind men encounters a different part of the elephant. The first blind man says, What we have here is a snake.


[00:21:28] He's got the trunk of the elephant. Another one says, No. What we have here is a rope. He's got the tail. The third blind saint man says no. What we have here is a fan. He's got the ear. Another blind man has. He says, This is a column. It's got the lake. Another one says, What we have here is a wall. He's got the abdomen of the elephant. See? Now, the truth is that each of them only has a part of the truth. But what each of them has is for them their phenomenon. That's the way the world appears to them in their blindness at that particular moment. Now. I got to give him credit. Even though this is an old story, this is an old parable. It really begins to look as if it will work for him. Finally. See? So what each of the religions of the world presents is a phenomenal deity. That satisfies a lot of people at the same time. But what escapes everybody is the grasp of the right picture, the nominal deity. No religion in the world has the whole truth about God. Now, can you see yourself lecturing to college students? Oh, that's brilliant, Professor. That's brilliant. Why didn't we ever think of that? See? And in the meantime, those kids who were in that in that college class think that, well, my goodness, it's time for me to get rid of the Christian faith that my mother and my father and my family and my grandparents. Because what my dumb parents didn't realize is they're just talking about a phenomenal degree. The real God is out there still unknown and is basically unknowable. Well, by this time, Hick also abandons the word God. Once you get into this distinction, it's really quite misleading to talk about God.


[00:23:33] So what he does is he substitutes terms like ultimate reality. Say he doesn't want any term that suggests personality. He doesn't want to use any term that suggests that we know any this God is still unknowable, but he's unknowable. In this kind of Kantian way. The ultimately real. Earlier he had said God is both personal and impersonal. Now what he says, and this is more respectable, he says ultimate reality is experienced by some people as personal. But ultimate reality is experienced by other people as impersonal. They're like blind man touching different parts of the elephant. This is beginning to click, or so it seems. The ultimately real can be experienced as both personal and impersonal. But this leaves open the possibility. Now, this is a criticism from me, but I'm suggesting that you use it. But this leaves open the possibility that when life is over, we may discover that God really is personal. Why talk about the joy that results when we recognize that our experience of what perceives what seems to us to be an impersonal God is something to get excited about? What happens when death life ends and we suddenly gain the use of our eyes and we realize that the ultimate God, the ultimate reality, is a personal diary with specific attributes. Now let me skip down here to the last point under under this latter stage, this thing called scatological verification. I'm going to return to the first couple of points, ask the logical verification What I'm doing here, in case it's not clear to you, is I am trying my best. To to make it clear that Hicks system is a disaster. It is a conceptual disaster. But I'm forced to do this without making an appeal to the Bible.


[00:25:52] They. When you're you've got to meet the pluralist on his own grounds. And thus you can't just say, Well, I'm sorry, I reject your position because it contradicts the Bible. Now you can say that, but that's not going to convince anybody who's a part of this system of error. You've got to you've got to prove that this system does not hang together logically. It is a it is a it is a tissue of fallacies. And here is one of these fallacies. Back when Hick was in his forties, thirties, he became famous for a theory that he called scatological verification. Now, it would take me 10 minutes to explain the whole story. You can read the book. There was a there was a there was a terrible philosophical system going around called Logical Positivism. And it had destroyed the faith of a whole lot of college students. It basically argued that no belief can be true or meaningful unless it can be verified by scientific method or something like that. And it developed a very clever and very plausible rebuttal to logical verification. Logical positivism, I'm sorry, logical positivism. Hicks said, Look, Christians can verify their position and thus their position is meaningful. But we can't we can't verify our position at this moment. We can verify our position after death. All right. And so Mr. Logical positive is if you die and then right after your death, you begin to get sensations of extreme heat and pain. All right. That will begin to suggest to you that you've been barking up the wrong tree or something else. And if the Christian dies and then is becomes conscious of. The person of Jesus Christ and heaven, that that meets all of the logical, positive criteria for verification.


[00:28:12] Now, the point is, Hayek became famous because of that theory and because that theory made him famous. He's not going to abandon it. So what I want to do here is take his early theory of logic, eschatological verification, and apply it to his position in the eighties and the nineties. God is unknowable. We only have phenomenal guards. But, Mr. Heck, according to your own theory, once we die, some of us are going to know that we were wrong and some of us are going to know we were right. What are you going to do then, Mr. Hick? Okay. You can talk all you want as long as you're alive. About God being only a phenomenal deity and the nominal deity being unknowable. But doggone it, Mr. Hick, you cannot deny the possibility that once you are physically dead. You're going to discover the truth about God. And what are you going to do then? Hit never talks about that. He hasn't repudiated his theory of scatological verification, but he can't deny it. Now, a couple of other criticisms, and here I have to hurry and I'm I'm sorry I took so long getting started. How does Hick define salvation? Here's the answer. Any way you want. So actually he talks about and I always I always forget this and I should have looked it up. He has a three part definition of salvation. It is salvation, ultimate fulfillment. Well, I'm not going to even take the time to look it up. But what you'll find is that given his ambiguous notion of salvation, absolutely anything can function as a religion. The German Nazis. The German Nazis had a system that meets his definition of salvation. I also uncovered another contradiction in his system. He defined one of the ways in which he explained salvation as this.


[00:30:20] It is a movement from strength. Two weakness of movement from strength to weakness. And guess what happened? All of the radical feminists in American religion departments jumped all over and they said, Mr. Hayek, curse your blasted soul. You have defined salvation in a male chauvinist way. Mr. Hick Salvation for man may be a movement from weak strength to weakness. But doggone it, Mr. Hick. Salvation for a woman. A true feminist woman must be a movement from weakness to strength. When women get saved, whatever salvation is, we become powerful, not weak. You men have been have been jumping all over us for centuries, and we're fed up with that. You know what he did? He surrendered to the feminists. People tell me I'm the only guy to have seen this in his writings. Hicks said, okay, you're right. Salvation for men is one thing, but salvation for feminist women is another thing. Talk about a wimpy, a wimpy guy here. So how you get saved depends on whether you're a man or a woman. That's hick. One other thing here. Hick surprises people by telling us that not every religion is true. Now, here again, he's opening the door to the possibility of real contradiction. He wants to have salvation reserved for the major religions, which would be Islam, Buddhism. And you can figure out all of the rest. Okay. But there are some religions he will not recognize. And here they are, the religion of Jim Jones. In case you're not an American, this was a crazy, crazy man who took a whole colony of largely black people down to Venezuela, where he started a cult and a religious system. And then because the police were were were catching up with him, he killed every member of that cult.


[00:32:32] He fed them arsenic laced Kool-Aid. And so when the police arrived, there were hundreds and hundreds of decaying bodies, including the bodies of little children. Jim Jones, his religion doesn't doesn't work. The people in Waco, Texas, the Branch Davidian hick, excluded them. Now, that doesn't mean that Koresh and Jim Jones aren't in heaven, because, remember, everybody's going to be in heaven sooner or later. That's universalism. But their religions are evil. Anybody want to develop a criticism of Hick right here? How do you know what's evil? Yeah. If there's no truth involved in religion, if there's no knowledge, how can you dare dismiss any religion as evil? Then think about how Uncle Joe Stalin really fumbled the ball here. All Stalin should have said was. What I'm preaching is a new religion. All right. That's what Stalin should have done. Hick has really got problems here. Now, let me look at these two desperate measures very quickly. Hick has a problem with logic. It looks very much as if his approach to the world religions is dismissing the law of non contradiction. But Hick doesn't want to do that. HIC is hic refuses the move of just coming along and saying, well, religion is above logic. He's too much of a philosopher to do something that's stupid. So here's what he does. He takes all of the creeds, all of the central doctrinal beliefs of every major religion. And he says that's not essential to the religion. Therefore, when Christians say A, B and C and Buddhists say E.F. and G, they're not contradicting themselves because none of their propositional beliefs are relevant or important. The essence of each world. Religion is belongs to the realm of feeling. That's not new. That's what liberalism is all about.


[00:34:36] So Hick Hick handles He thinks the logic problem by simply making all major religious beliefs irrelevant. But look at the consequence of this. What Hick does in his defense of his Copernican revolution is insult every member of every one of the major religions in the world. He insults every one of them. Because these people take their creeds seriously. You want to know how seriously Muslims take their creeds? All right. Don't you dare go to southern Afghanistan this week. And hold up a sign that says Jesus is the only savior. Because you're not going to get to the airport. So what he what he still doesn't understand is that he's insulting the practitioner of every one of the major religions in the world, all in the name of tolerance. Boy, finally, what does Hick believe about Jesus? He makes an amazing admission here. He says. Listen, he says, if Jesus really were the son of God. He would be the only savior. Hicks says. If the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation is true, then pluralism is false. So what does he have to do? He's got to pull out all of his weapons and destroy any grounds for belief in the deity of Christ. And you know how he does that? I give you the details in the chapter. He retreats to some of the most outdated. Most frequently rejected liberal liberal interpretations of the gospels that you could imagine. This is bad New Testament scholarship. This is New Testament, Scott. What he did was he he reached up on a shelf and he said, What's the only New Testament book, the New Testament introduction book I have here? And it was 30 years old when he picked it up. And he's talking form criticism and other theories like that, which, you know, the only people who still teach those new liberal views of the New Testament are all in nursing homes today.


[00:37:09] They can't remember ever having taught that stuff. But this is Hicks approach because he doesn't he's not a New Testament scholar. Now, there are some thorny issues here, and I'll just cover them quickly. One is geographic and cultural or cultural conditioning. Hicks says the only reason why anybody holds to a particular religion is because of geographic and cultural conditioning. If you're born in Waco, Texas, you're going to be a Baptist. If you're born in New Delhi, India, you're going to be a Hindu. If you're born in Kabul, Afghanistan, you're going to be a muslim. So what? Heck, there are two problems here. Number one, Hick doesn't realize that his appeal to cultural and social and geographic conditioning would justify Hitler's Nazi ism. You know, if you were born in Munich, Germany, and fought in World War One, then you would have been a Nazi. But there's nothing wrong with being a Nazi. Can't you see a Seinfeld show in Germany during the 1930? And Seinfeld says Seinfeld being Jewish, of course, he says, But that guy's a Nazi. Not that there's anything wrong with being a Nazi, you understand? That's a famous Seinfeld show. Moreover, Hicks appealed to geographic and cultural conditioning ignores the self application here. Hicks himself proves that this appeal to geographic and cultural conditioning amounts to nothing because he should have been a fire breathing army Anglican. Not that anybody in England is fire breathing about anything that's religious, let alone an Anglican. Okay. But Hicks appealed to this kind of conditioning collapse collapses in the case of him, of himself. I'm just going to make one final comment about tolerance and then we're going to drop this. Hicks says, You Christians, let's just face it, you Christians are intolerant. Now, a lot of people get very concerned when people accuse them of being intolerant.


[00:39:25] That's probably the only sin in America anymore. Do you know that? You can be an adulterer, you can be a pornographer, you can practice just about any wicked deed in the world. But the only thing that's really evil in America is being intolerant. But here's the answer to Hick. There are two kinds of tolerance, according to and this is the this is the bad kind. For John Hick, if you ever, you wicked person think that somebody else's beliefs are wrong. You're intolerant. But look at the stupidity of that. You mean to tell me if I'm a college student and I have a roommate maybe from Eastern Kentucky who believes the world is flat? And I dare to suggest to my college roommate that his belief in a flat earth is wrong. That makes me intolerant. Of course it doesn't. The other sense of intolerance, the other sense of tolerance is recognizes I'm sorry that people can be wrong and we can recognize that people are wrong and we can say that people are wrong, but we still respect them. We still respect them. In the bad kind of intolerance is when you reject people's personhood because they're wrong about something. But just to say that Buddhists are wrong about salvation, that doesn't make me intolerant. I'll give you a true story and then we'll drop Hick. Some of you know that I was invited to serve as a consultant to the Steven Spielberg movie The Prince of Egypt. This was an interesting experience. Steven Spielberg had just formed a studio called DreamWorks with two other guys. And right now, I've forgotten the names of the other two guys, Jeff. Jeffrey Katzenberg, who had done a lot of the big animated movies for Disney. And the other guy is David Geffen.


[00:41:39] Okay. So Katzenberg invited Just. Several hundred people to Hollywood. And in our case, our little group. It was a group of evangelicals who went there were about ten or 12 of us. In fact, the first time Richard Pratt went with us, we were all evangelicals. And they wanted they wanted to hear from Orthodox Jews. They wanted to hear from liberal Jews. They wanted to hear from liberal Protestants. They wanted to hear from Muslims about this great movie, about Moses and the Exodus. So we made our first trip there. And by that, all they had at the beginning were black and white drawings, and some of them weren't animated. And we saw the storyline and various people made comments and suggestions. And frankly, when I saw the movie, I saw a lot of suggestions, changes in the script that resulted from the evangelicals who were there on the second trip. The film was close to completion and they wanted our final assessment of it and we were all sitting around a table and Steven Spielberg's what was then his studios. And so there were maybe eight evangelicals there, and everybody else around the table was Jewish. And all of the producers and associate, they were all Jewish women. And Jeffrey Katzenberg was there. So we all went around the table and I said, listen, I think this is a great movie and I appreciate the way you guys have not wimped out on the miracles in the Bible. And they didn't. That's a great movie. When they crossed the Red Sea. That wasn't a funky little pond, do you understand? That was a big sea. And the waters rolled back. And the God of power and majesty. But sitting next to me was a professor of a Christian college.


[00:43:37] And I won't mention his name because it would appear to be critical and tolerant. People aren't critical. But out of the blue, in the presence of this pretty amazing Hollywood production that is faithful to Scripture, he says, You people have dishonored my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Boom. I thought that was a pretty eye protect. I thought that was pretty severe. And I thought some other things, too. I could see the whole meeting blowing up. Okay. And I could see the Time magazine discussion of this. Ronald Nash, a well-known fundamentalist. They put me. In other words, I would get the blame for this, See? At that moment. Oh. Then. Then. The Jewish producer. Her name is Penny. Think woman. Cox She had married a gentile, Pennie Finkelman Cox. She got up and she was mad. And she looked at this guy sitting next to me. And she said, You may not realize this, Dr. So-and-so, but we are a company of Jewish women and we are enormously offended by what you have just said, Wolf. You can see why I'm afraid I'm going to get TIME magazine coverage because I offend everybody. So at that point, a friend of mine named Ted Baer. He publishes a movie magazine for Christians. His nickname is Teddy Bear. He got up and he this is what he said. He said, Penny, let me put my friend's words in a context. He did not mean to offend you. What my friend's words basically said was this I am a Christian. And to me, Jesus Christ is the most important person in the world. And because I love you as a sister, I hope that you will come to know Jesus in the same way that I know Jesus. What great, what a great message.


[00:45:55] Not only did he diffuse the anger, but he was giving a testimony, right? Giving a testimony. And Penny Finkelman Kop Cox said, okay, I understand that. And no offense is taken. And the tension disappeared. Now, to me, that remains as one of the best examples of the diffusion of the charge of intolerance that I could imagine. We, my friend, even though he what he spoke. Words that were probably inappropriate for that situation. He was not guilty of intolerance. He was saying, I love Jesus, I love you, and I cannot be faithful to my own religious convictions unless I tell you that I wish. Maybe you would handle something a little differently. Now, I'll just say one more thing. If you've seen the prince of Egypt, you know that they're their dramatization of the first Passover. Cannot help but communicate the truth of the gospel. The sacrifice of that lamb. Okay. Boy, they got it right. Okay. So don't ever become embarrassed by this phony charge of then of of intolerance. Thank you for listening to this lecture. Brought to you by biblical training, dawg. Your prayers and financial support enable us to provide a biblical and theological education that all people around the world can access. Blessings. As you continue to study and live out your faith and as you grow in your relationship with the Lord.