Hanna de Jong-Markus

Distinction, Identification, and Recognition 6 111 choose eternal death because Jesus Christ is the doorway to eternal life.” This conviction, therefore, makes the distinctiveness of Christian faith a very serious issue. Reluctance However, at the same time, we encountered reluctance regarding decisive statements, such as those relating to the acknowledgment of Jesus. This was expressed most clearly in the following quotation, which is cited in full to show how the teacher formulated her beliefs while searching for them: I maybe ought to say “no” [to the question of whether the God of Muslims is the same God as the God of Christians].…And I do believe in the Bible as truth.…Maybe believing in the Lord Jesus is a very essential thing, but I am very reluctant to say that because I believe in God the Father and in the Bible and in Christ the Lord, I am more blessed than, for example, a Muslim is.…I also think it is something I should leave with God.…I also believe that it has a lot to do with trying to be a good person and loving God above everything and your neighbor as yourself. Those are essential things. I see, for example, a Muslim doing that; or any other person from any other religion. Religions are difficult to compare with each other. If you believe in a God, does a Muslim believe in the same God as a Protestant does? I don’t know; maybe he does. Sometimes, I almost feel even more sympathetic with Muslims, for example, than with someone who is very extreme in Christianity…And I don’t have the truth in my hands. I try to do what is good based on the Bible. Yes, I believe in God. And I find it very difficult to tell whether someone else believes in the same God… It is notable that this teacher started with “I maybe ought to…” and that she then highlighted earlier-mentioned beliefs about the distinctiveness of the Christian faith before explicating her reluctance. She then formulated her own counter-voices and showed that her beliefs were part of a searching process, triggered by certain experiences (“When I see a Muslim…”). Comparable comments were made by several other teachers, mostly relating to Jews and Roman Catholics and sometimes in terms of ethical issues and Muslims. Further, the belief that it is God’s work to realize that the religious other acknowledges Him and that it is not Biblical to judge someone’s eternal destination generated reluctance among the teachers—even those who strongly emphasized that people have to acknowledge Jesus as their Savior. Teun, for example, said, You ultimately believe that people who don’t believe [in Jesus as their Savior] will not have eternal life with God.…And if you know that someone adheres to a different faith, which is not the right faith, then you know what can happen to him or her, no matter how kind