Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:6, NRSV
This is one of those lines that quite annoys us liberals. It seems to portray a very narrow-minded view of God, and not one that sits quite happily with our view. Indeed, it was a topic of some small discussion at a lecture last Friday. I personally have been struggling with this statement, so often used by the American Evangelical Conservatives to prove that those that who don’t believe are doomed.
However, I was reading ” Dear Rowan, Please Save the C. Of E.”
A fascinating book, by a self-confessed heretic, and former Unpaid Priest of Upton in England. The book itself is fascinating, and it is interesting to find out that his licence to serve as a Parish Priest was revoked because of some of his actions and Theology.
In the closing pages of this book, I found a reference to Bishop John Robinson, a New Testament Scholar, who wrote the book Truth is Two-Eyed
I’ve not read this book, though it may be worth getting out of the library to take a look. Anyway, here’s the section from “Dear Rowan” that caught my eye:
Those opposed to liberals, especially liberals like me who regard other religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism as equal to Christianity, usually quote the words ascribed to Jesus in John’s Gospel: ‘No one comes to the Father but by me.’ Bishop John Robinson, a great New Testament scholar, became an acquaintance of mine, and something of a mentor, in the final months of his life. He presented to me a copy of what he regarded as his finest book, Truth is Two-Eyed in which he argues that this saying should be interpreted in the light of John’s opening verses, which provides the theological prism through which the rest of the Gospel should be interpreted. Jesus is identified with the eternal Logos, the divine Word that is the agent of all creation, and is present throughout creation. Thus we should expect to find that all people, of any religion or none, possess an innate knowledge of the divine; the path of Christ is to deepen that knowledge.
This is not a view that the Author, Rev. Robert Van de Weyer holds, but it started ringing bells for me. It shows that the line “I am the Truth, the Way, and the Light” is something much deeper, much more profound than a simple reading of it would suggest. Here you can see the divine “call” that circulates through everyone, that connection to the other that exists within, and throughout everyone. The call that gives rise to superstitions, other forms of religion, other access to the divine. It’s an answer that I’m sure I knew when I was much, much younger, but have forgotten between now and then. It was nice to have it brought to life, and even better to be able to put it here, with references for those who might be struggling with this particular piece of the Bible, as I was.