Musician Sufjan Stevens has draw much fanfare for a couple new album releases and his return to the concert circuit. I learned of this interview via Jeffrey Overstreet’s blog, and I was encouraged to see Stevens labeled as a Christian. Then I came to this:
Q. Do you believe that God can be reached through other faiths? John 14:6 categorically states Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life” and nobody can get to the Father expect through him. A lot of people take that very literally and don’t believe you can find spirituality through Buddhism or Islam or whatever…
Stevens: Yeah, I mean who can know the mind of God and who can be his counselor? It’s not man’s decision, you know. If God is infinite and he’s in all of us and he created the world then I feel there is truth in every corner. There’s a kind of imprint of his life and his breath and his word and everything. You know, I’m no religious expert, and I don’t make any claims about the faith. All I can account for is myself and my own belief and that’s a pretty tall order just to take account of myself. I can’t make any claims about other religions. There’s no condemnation in Christ, that’s one of the fundamentals of Christianity.
Do you mind if I make a few observations? Of course, you don’t. That’s why you’re still reading.
1. Stevens is flat wrong about this, but he may still be a genuine believer. Some of us come from backgrounds which would say anyone who says heresy like this needs to repent and get saved, but I think God puts up with a good bit of bad theology within his family. It’s dangerous, of course. Doctrine is very important, but this particular idea isn’t what saves us.
2. Stevens says a couple good things here: God’s ways are unsearchable and there is no condemnation in Christ. His application is terrible, but the fact that he throws these ideas out there makes me wonder if these have risen to the popular level of judging not lest we be judged. Perhaps there are many people who believe themselves to be spiritual or Christian who think Christians are more-or-less free grace people. God saves people from hell or something, they say, and who are we to complain about how he does it.
Well, when the Lord tells us something, shouldn’t we believe it? No, maybe that’s too simplistic a question. The interview goes on with Stevens making some good and interesting points, not being an expert and all.