Did Jesus teach the doctrine of inclusiveness?

It is becoming more and more common for some Catholics to say that Jesus would support a particular social or moral position because Jesus was inclusive, or because He taught inclusiveness. Is this true, or are some persons rewriting the Gospels to make them agree with modern secular views?

Inclusiveness of Persons

Jesus taught all persons, whoever was willing to listen to Him:

[Matthew]
{4:23} And Jesus traveled throughout all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every infirmity among the people.
{4:24} And reports of him went out to all of Syria, and they brought to him all those who had maladies, those who were in the grasp of various sicknesses and torments, and those who were in the hold of demons, and the mentally ill, and paralytics. And he cured them.
{4:25} And a great crowd followed him from Galilee, and from the Ten Cities, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from across the Jordan.

First and foremost, Jesus taught His fellow Jews.

God prepared the world for the Messiah by preparing a certain people, the Israelites. The religion of Judaism introduced to the world certain truths that had been lacking: that God is One (not many gods), and He distinguishes between those who do good and those who do evil. The other ancient religions, the pagan religions, believed in many gods, and their gods did not care about morality. The pagans thought that an act might please one god, but at the same time anger another god. And there was no right or wrong inherent to their religion. The pagan religions did not inform the people about morality. The God of the Jews is a moral God, and He has a personal relationship with humanity.

The religion of the Jews also prepared for the Messiah by way of living parables. The distinction between clean and unclean foods was a symbol of the distinction between good and evil. By daily distinguishing between foods that God approved and foods that God disapproved, they were living a parable about distinguishing between moral and immoral acts. The animal sacrifices of the Jews introduced many different ideas about sacrifice and the absolving of sin. These sacrifices found their fulfillment in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross.

Since the Jews were best prepared to receive the Messiah, Jesus spoke first and foremost to the Jews. However, He also taught and healed non-Jews. And his teaching was directed to all humanity, as we learn to some extent in the Gospels themselves, and to a greater extent by the teachings of the Apostles Peter and Paul (in Acts and in the Epistles).

So the teachings of Christ are directed toward all human persons. All human persons are included in the audience to whom the Word of God is directed.

Inclusiveness of Salvation

Christ came not only to teach, but also to suffer and die as the one Sacrifice for our salvation. But to whom is this offer of salvation given?

[Matthew]
{11:28} Come to me, all you who labor and have been burdened, and I will refresh you.

{22:8} Then he said to his servants: ‘The wedding, indeed, has been prepared. But those who were invited were not worthy.
{22:9} Therefore, go out to the ways, and call whomever you will find to the wedding.’
{22:10} And his servants, departing into the ways, gathered all those whom they found, bad and good, and the wedding was filled with guests.

The offer of salvation from the Cross of Christ is to all human persons. For we all labor in this difficult world, and we are all burdened by original sin and personal sins. Jesus does not offer His salvation to few or to many, but to all. The wedding feast is Heaven. Everyone is invited, the Jews first, and then all other persons. The bad and the good are invited.

The Limit to Inclusiveness

{22:11} Then the king entered to see the guests. And he saw a man there who was not clothed in a wedding garment.

But the offer of salvation is subject to free will. All are invited, but some choose to decline the invitation. They are found not worthy in that they have freely chosen to turn away from the love of God and neighbor, by actual mortal sin, thereby losing their baptismal robe (the wedding garment) of the state of grace. If they choose not to repent, they do not receive the salvation that they were all offered.

[Matthew]
{7:21} Not all who say to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven. But whoever does the will of my Father, who is in heaven, the same shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.
{7:22} Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and perform many powerful deeds in your name?’
{7:23} And then will I disclose to them: ‘I have never known you. Depart from me, you workers of iniquity.’

So the truth and salvation of Jesus are offered to all persons. There is a wonderful inclusiveness to this offer. However, this inclusiveness is limited by free will. Those who choose to commit grave sin and to refuse to repent are not included in the kingdom of God.

[Matthew]
{13:41} The Son of man shall send out his Angels, and they shall gather from his kingdom all who lead astray and those who work iniquity.
{13:42} And he shall cast them into the furnace of fire, where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
{13:43} Then the just ones shall shine like the sun, in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.

But even before this final division between the just ones who shine like the sun in Heaven, and the workers of iniquity who weep and gnash their teeth, there is a division within this life.

{18:15} But if your brother has sinned against you, go and correct him, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you will have regained your brother.
{18:16} But if he will not listen you, invite with you one or two more, so that every word may stand by the mouth of two or three witnesses.
{18:17} And if he will not listen to them, tell the Church. But if he will not listen to the Church, let him be to you like the pagan and the tax collector.

Jesus did not teach us to treat everyone the same. Our brothers and sisters in Christ, who believe and live the true Faith, are not to be treated the same as outsiders, as the pagan (persons who adhere to false religion) and the tax collector (sinful secular persons).

[Mark]
{8:15} And he instructed them, saying: “Consider and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the leaven of Herod.”

We should not treat all teachers the same. For some teachers offer the pure wheat of the Catholic Church, which is truth from God. But other teachers of religion offer the leaven of the Pharisees (false religion) and the leaven of Herod (secularism). Just as the Jews distinguished between clean and unclean foods, we must distinguish between true and false teachings, between sound doctrine and heresy.

[Titus]
{3:10} Avoid a man who is a heretic, after the first and second correction,
{3:11} knowing that one who is like this has been subverted, and that he offends; for he has been condemned by his own judgment.

All of Sacred Scripture is Christ teaching us. In this letter from Paul to Titus, Jesus teaches us to avoid heretics, after the first and second corrections. We are specifically taught not to treat persons who reject the true Faith by word or deed the same as the faithful members of the Church.

Was Jesus Inclusive?
In one sense, He was inclusive, but in another sense He was not. Unfortunately, what is most commonly claimed is that Jesus was inclusive in the sense that He would, they think, make no distinction between heretics and the faithful, or between persons unrepentant from grave sin and those who are just (or at least repentant).

Would Jesus approve of same-sex marriage on the basis of His own inclusiveness? Certainly not. He offers all persons truth and salvation. But persons who choose same-sex marriage are choosing to reject the teachings of His Church on the nature of true marriage and on the grave immorality of homosexual acts.

Would Jesus allow women to be ordained, on the basis of inclusiveness? Certainly not. He chose only men as His Apostles, and His Spirit guided the Apostles and their successors to choose only men as priests and bishops. The inclusiveness of Jesus offers, to all persons, the truth about distinctions intended by God for men and women. But those who reject this truth, commit the sin of heresy. And those who invalidly attempt to ordain women, commit a grave sin of sacrilege as well.

Would Jesus choose homosexuals to be priests, or would He choose persons who are unrepentant from sins of heresy, abortion, contraception, and various sexual sins for any roles of authority, teaching, or leadership in the Church? Certainly not. Those who refuse to believe the truths taught by Christ and His Church are heretics, who should be avoided. Those who refuse the correction of the Church when they have sinned gravely should be treated like outsiders to the Church (like pagans and tax collectors). They should not be given leadership positions in any parish or diocese or religious order.

Advertisements
Gallery | This entry was posted in heresies, Scripture. Bookmark the permalink.