Over the years, I've spent many hours trying to build a belief system and a worldview that is consistent with the teachings of the Bible.
The Bible is the standard, so whenever I discover a conflict between my thinking and the Bible, I question my thinking.
For me, the Bible teaches truth, so any discrepancy is on my side and needs to be remedied.
As you know, I am now fellowshipping in a liberal church where most people don't seem to hold the Scriptures in as high a regard as I am used to.
Even though readings from all parts of the Bible are listed in our lectionary for each week of the year, the Gospels are the books given the most attention.
And recently I attended a small home group that even pruned the Gospel of John from this list as well, leaving them with a very thin volume comprising just the books of Matthew, Mark and Luke.
These lovely people, whose fellowship, hearts and Christ-like ministry I am enjoying and applauding, have their reasons for relegating the other books of the Bible to "ancient sacred texts."
I won't go into those reasons here, but I will mention the reason for the home group eliminating the Gospel of John.
This Gospel quotes Jesus as saying that He is the way, the truth and the life, and that no-one can come to the Father except through Him.
Considering that many in this group believe that all will get to God no matter what route they take or what religion they belong to, John's Gospel is considered to be restrictive, exclusive, and in conflict with their universal belief.
So, the offending Gospel has to go.
Being a Christian Universalist and having a high regard for Scripture, I don't see the conflict.
Jesus IS the way. Absolutely true, as John proclaims.
God reconciled the world to Himself through Christ and is no longer counting anyone's sins against them. [ 2 Cor 5 : 19 ]
So no-one could possibly come to the Father without Jesus having done that.
Jesus IS the only way we get to the Father.
And absolutely everyone WILL get there because He did this for the whole world. [ 1 John 2 : 2 ]
So no matter who you are, where you live, or what religion or political party or football team you follow, Jesus has determined your eternal future.
No need to throw out John - or Paul or anyone else for that matter.
We can keep the whole Bible and still guarantee everyone will get to God eventually.