Texas governor Rick Perry told the Dallas Morning News that he agrees with San Antonio pastor John Hagee, who was quoted as saying "If you live your life and don't confess your sins to God almighty through the authority of Christ and his blood, I'm going to say this very plainly, you're going straight to hell with a nonstop ticket."
When given the chance to back down, Perry didn't. He told the Dallas newspaper "the fact is that we live in a pluralistic world but our faith is real personal. And my Christian faith teaches that the way is through Jesus Christ."
Which prompted one of his opponents in today's elections to say ""He doesn't think very differently from the Taliban, does he?" Which goes to show that in our society, one who is adamant enough to not back down from what the Bible says is subject to being equated with terrorists.
Being labelled a terrorist must be why so many of our evangelical "spokesmen" flinch when it comes to stating the obvious when given the chance to speak plainly about the exclusivity of Christ. Rick Perry didn't flinch in affirming John 14:6. And now he's a "terrorist".
But this is more than about Rick Perry. God must be a terrorist for "threatening" to send people to hell if people do not embrace His Son exclusively. Therefore, the God of the conservative evangelical's Bible isn't all that different from the Allah who promises 70 virgins to the men who blow up women and children in fanatical suicide. That is, if one interprets the scriptures to suggest that Jesus Christ alone is worthy of worship and is the exclusive means of salvation.
The alternative is to fashion a god to one's own liking, and claim that THAT god is the god of the Bible. Which is precisely what one of Perry's opponents has done in "calling himself a Christian", but then saying "Rick Perry certainly is entitled to his beliefs, but when you're in public office, you need to respect people of all faiths and denominations." In saying "his beliefs", Chris Bell is saying those aren't "Christian" beliefs, since Bell is a "Christian". Bell apparently isn't asked just what his interpretation of John 14:6 is, but given his statements here, one can imagine that his theology has fashioned a less-than-exclusive Christ.
And when evangelicals flinch when they are given the opportunity to affirm an exclusive Christ, the theology of Chris Bell is their theology. They have, in their silence, fashioned a less-than-exclusive Christ after their own liking.