The Jesus Christians concept of sincerity, has led to them being labelled universalists. This article attempts to show how they see truth as being present in every religion (and in no religion) at the same time that they accept that there is an awful lot of un-truth out there as well.
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." Matthew 5:6
Sincerity means wanting the truth so badly that you will cling to it even if it proves you personally to be wrong.
Jesus tailored his kingdom to include all sincerity and to exclude all insincerity.
Every other attempt to distinguish the 'good guys' from the 'bad guys' has failed; because in every organisation there is a mixture of the sincere and the insincere. No one has yet been able to permanently separate the 'weeds' from the 'wheat' (Matthew 13:25)
Even within a single individual there is a mixture of sincerity and insincerity. To the extent that we are sincere, we are in Christ's Kingdom, and to the extent we are not, we are out of it.
Most people have the idea that a search for truth will move them steadily up through various organisations, from spiritually inferior ones to more spiritually perfect ones (The list will vary according to each individual, but we would suggest that for ourselves it has been something like a vertical movement through the list above.) Our real desire, however, should be to grow constantly toward total sincerity (from right to left) instead.
Since no organisation possesses a monopoly on sincerity, and all organisations include insincere people, to truly hunger and thirst after righteousness, one must also be willing to move vertically through the various organisations, i.e. from one organisation to another as we search for bits of truth and sincerity in each of them, not necessarily joining each group, but making some effort to hear what each one is saying.
We must also be prepared to resist insincerity in each encounter (which will end up hampering our ability to be fully accepted by the members of any organisation.)
The ecumenical movement has developed greater appreciation for the sincerity that exists in other denominations. But it still has an organisational vision (i.e. They want to trade many little organisations for one big one). This will lead us back to a pre-Reformation monopoly and the corruption that invariably accompanies such absolute power.
Listen to truth, and embrace it wherever you find it; but never relinquish your responsibility to speak out clearly against un-truth.
Many are watching us as we seek to practice these principles. Some say we're too narrow; others say we're too liberal. We try to increase the diameter of our sieve without increasing the diameter of the holes in it. i.e. We are seeking greater acceptance for more and more varied belief systems, but continuing to be very particular about things like sincerity and love.
And we must report that sincerity still seems to be one of the rarest commodities on earth today. Because of that, we could probably be labelled both universal and exclusive!
(See also Universalism: Pros and Cons, and Non-Christian Religions.)
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