Christian theology in a Sudanese context. God's chosen Saviour - Jesus!
The word ‘unique’ means “being the only one of a particular type; single; sole; without equal or like; unparalleled”. It is the uniqueness of Jesus Christ that makes Christianity unique among the religions of the world. Jesus Christ is the definitive way for humankind to come to know peace with God. In trying to compare the value of all religious systems around the world, it is their view of Jesus Christ which will finally show their truth or falseness. In many universities of the western world it is taught or assumed that there is nothing much to chose between religions. Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism etc. are all seen as different ways of approaching the same thing. The secularisation of my country, the United Kingdom, reflects this. Religious pluralism is promoted and yet relegated to the relatively unimportant. There is a tolerance of all religions except any religion that claims to be unique! Once people do not have a positive belief of their own, they seem to think everyone who does have a definite belief is a fanatic or a fundamentalist. This is where real Christians in England discover themselves more and more in conflict with the British and European governments, which are moving step by step further away from their historical Christian heritage. Islam believes Jesus was only a man, a prophet equal to other prophets but below Muhammad in importance. He did not die on the cross. Orthodox Jews mostly believe Jesus was a good human teacher of human ethics, but they do not accept Him as Messiah.They still await a man who will be sent from God to deliver the nation of Israel from oppression. Hindus believe Jesus to be only one of many incarnations, or sons of Brahman, the eternal being. He was a son of god, not the Son of God. He did not die for humankind’s sin. Buddhists believe that Jesus was a good teacher, though less important than Buddha. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Jesus was not God, but God’s first created creature. Some of them believed Jesus returned to this earth in A.D. 1914, but remained unseen by men. Groups who try to combine all ‘Christian’ groups or even all faiths, like Unitarianism or the Bahai, believe that Jesus was no more than a good man, and certainly He was not God. His life and death were inspirational, but did not bring salvation to humankind. The unique recognition of Christianity is that God Himself has revealed that “Jesus Christ was fully God and fully Man in one Person, and will be so forever”. It is this narrow and singular claim for Jesus Christ that makes Christianity the way of salvation for everyone and anyone. “Every tribe and language and people and nation” will be represented in heaven because of the uniqueness of Jesus (Revelation 5:9-10). Who He was, was unique. And what He did was unique as well. As God He has a unique authority over all people. As the God-Man Jesus has a unique significance among all people. Jesus shows us God. His death on the cross is God’s only appointed way for our salvation. Christians pray to God only through Jesus.And we preach ‘Jesus Christ’ to all who will listen. The person of Jesus Christ is more important than any practice of Christianity. All people of the world should judge Christianity by Jesus Christ, not ultimately by any Christians they may know. It is Jesus, and no one Christian or no one church, Who is unique.
The Sudanese Christian Church will be at its strongest and most authoritative when all the members know, love and live like Jesus Christ. This is more powerful than political or economic power. Sudanese Christian culture should not be so much a matter of freedom to worship every Sunday in the church. It should be much more a matter of every Christian’s determination to live like Jesus, in the every day workaday world. Sudanese Christian theology will only ever change society when it is carefully applied by Christians in daily life. It must never be forced upon anyone, but it must be able to be seen as an option for everyone. This is noted in the gospels about Jesus, and in the Acts about His disciples. (Matthew 7:28,29; Acts 4:12,13; Acts 11:25-30).
There is a right time for holy boldness. When the early Christians were told not to preach ‘Jesus’ any more, they prayed. As they prayed, they thought about their situation. They put it alongside Scripture. And they prayed, ‘Lord, You look after the opposition, we’ll keep taking our opportunities’ (Acts 4:23-31). They obviously believed in the sovereignty of God and in the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. As they chose to risk their freedom and even their lives, God gave them as much as they could possibly have of His own holy presence, though the Holy Spirit (see chapters 37-41).
Thinking it through.
(a). Why does ‘their view of Jesus Christ’ ultimately show the truth or falseness of any
(b). List all the ways that Jesus was (and is) unique.