I've come across this concept on a few different blogs now, and I'd be curious as to what others think.
One of the difficulties I have in the idea of an exclusive truth boiling down to the right belief set is that we are given specific criteria as to how one stands with God: the fruits of the Spirit, or the fact that the peacemakers are the children of God, or that if we love someone, we know God, and so forth. Or the idea of the peace that "passeth all understanding". I can find examples of those in all religions, not just Christianity. If I have someone living that way, I have a really hard time telling them their relationship with God is wrong, especially if they're producing much better fruit that I am.
However, what I'm essentially told is that good fruit is truly only good if it's produced by someone with the right relationship with God. All other fruits are counterfeits fruits, or are really bad fruits, or something else along those lines. Or it is fruit that's produced, but it's not fruit that truly comes from God.
I can't help but feel this changes the meaning of the word "good." For instance, loving your enemies is good. Feeding the poor is good. Helping those struck by a natural disaster is good. Contributing to charity is good.
In each sense, "good" holds a basic definition. If I describe a person as good, or an act as good, we all know what that means.
But if good fruits can really only be produced by someone with the right faith, then doesn't that make the word "good" relative? Doesn't the word essentially get boiled down to whatever a Christian does? If I have an atheist and a Christian both loving a horrible person, only the Christian is actually doing a good act? And it's not because loving a horrible person is good, it's because the Christian is the one loving the person.
Yet if I reverse that, and have the atheist and Christian both killing innocent people, both are seen as doing the "bad fruit." It's not because of anyone's faith or relationship with God, but because killing innocent people is evil within itself.
Doesn't this seem like a discrepancy in evaluating fruit? We judge bad fruit based on the acts themselves, and good fruits based on a person's faith?
Not only that, but if we're specifically told that a good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit, then there's an expectation of that "good" and "bad" mean, and it can't mean that it's whatever a Christian does, because then the very example becomes meaningless. Instead, there's certain behavior expected. But if we can all only access the good tree after repentance and faith, then it seems that every single non-Christian should only produce bad fruit. They can't produce any good fruit, because that only comes from God.