The motto of the three musketeers was, “One for all, and all for one.” It underscored their shared determination to remain loyal to one another, no matter what. Their allegiance was individual (“One” for all) and corporate (“…and ALL for one”).
It would make a fine motto for the church, with a slight adjustment in the first phrase – the “One,” in my adaptation, refers to Jesus. One Jesus for all humankind. That’s the good news in a nutshell. Jesus came to earth and died and rose again for all people, so that all might be saved by grace through faith in Him. That’s been the message of church for over 2000 years.
Until last Friday, that is.
The Friday, December 11 edition of the Dallas Morning News carried an article that would have shocked the Apostle Paul (and every other Jewish believer in Jesus as the Messiah). Here’s a quote:
“Addressing an issue that has been a sore point between the two faiths for centuries, the commission wrote that the church was “obliged to view evangelization to Jews, who believe in the one God, in a different manner from that to people of other religions and world views.” It specified that “the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews.”
While this latest directive does provide a politically correct balm to soothe the “sore point” between the two faiths, it fails to acknowledge the need of all humankind to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah, the Savior of the world. Jews form no special class of people exempt from the need to place their faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins (see Romans 3:23 – 25, a text written by a brilliant Jewish Pharisee).
This official decree is the opposite of what it pretends to be: a loving response to the Jewish people. Real love acknowledges the truth of our desperate need for salvation. Real compassion reaches out to everyone with the offer of a divine cure for sin in the person of the God-Man, Jesus Christ. Real Christianity doesn’t flinch in the face of those who point the finger at us (as they did at Peter at the trial of Jesus) and accuse us of ” being one of His followers.”
It’s no longer “One for all,” but “One for some,” or at least, “One for everyone except the Jews.”
While we should all respect the right of others to believe in Jesus or not, we must not surrender our duty and our privilege to share the good news of our risen Lord with everyone. Even at the risk of rejection. And yet, in a misguided attempt to smooth out theological wrinkles between the two faiths, the Catholic Church casually sweeps under the papal rug 2000 years of biblical authority regarding our command to carry the good news of salvation in Christ alone (see John 14:6) to all people. Again, from the Dallas Morning News:
“It clearly states that salvation doesn’t come from the Jews’ conversion, but it’s very respectful of their own mission,” said Alberto Melloni, the director of a liberal Catholic research institution, the John XXIII Foundation for Religious Studies in Bologna. He called the message “a courageous and important written document of the Catholic Church.”
I urge the Catholic hierarchy, having effectively denied the Lord Jesus in this egregious violation of the Great Commission (Matthew 28), to repent and turn back to the Savior, as Peter did, and “strengthen your brothers.”
Because Jesus Christ truly is the One for all of us.