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Doctrinal Matters: Salvation

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Mistaking Cowardliness for Humility

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

In 2006, Baylor University published the results of a survey indicating more Americans claim affiliation with Christianity than with any other religion. In fact, the report claimed that “82 percent of Americans are Christians” (see Tooley, 2006). Sadly, the vast majority claiming Christianity as their religion, have no respect for what their law (the New Testament) or their lawgiver (the Christ) teach.

One year after Baylor University published their findings, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life surveyed 35,000 Americans. Seventy percent of those surveyed answered in the affirmative that “many religions can lead to eternal life” (Van Biema, 2008). “Nearly across the board, the majority of religious Americans” believe that Christianity is not the only way to everlasting life, including 83 percent of mainline Protestants, 79 percent of Roman Catholics, and 57 percent of Evangelicals (“Americans...”). C. Welton Gaddy, the president of Interfaith Alliance, was encouraged by the outcome of the survey, saying, “It indicates a level of humility about religion that would be of great benefit to everyone” (“Americans...”).

Sadly, millions of Americans have bought into Gaddy’s “humble religion.” The truth is, however, “Christians” claiming that Christ is not the only way to eternal life are actually conceited, cowardly conmen (or disturbingly uninformed of the teaching of Christ and the New Testament apostles and prophets). The night before Jesus’ crucifixion, He told His disciples, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6, emp. added). Later, Peter appeared before the Jewish Council and proclaimed that salvation is only through Jesus: “[T]here is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12, NASB, emp. added). Jesus and Peter made it very clear. If someone wants to know the truth about the way to eternal life, he will only learn that truth through Christ, “Who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom” (2 Timothy 4:1). Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life.” As if that were not clear enough, Jesus declared: “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6, emp. added). “No one else” is able to give a person salvation; “there is no other name under heaven...by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12, emp. added).

How can a rational person profess to be a Christian, while at the same time maintaining that “many religions can lead to eternal life”? The New Testament unmistakably teaches that the way to salvation is not through Confucius, Buddha, Mohammed, Gandhi, or Krishna; it is only through Christ, Whose words will judge the world in the last day (John 12:48). Thus, Jesus instructed man to “[e]nter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). Jesus has drawn a line in the sand. He stands on one side ready to lead followers to eternal life. On the other is any and all others who “shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord” (2 Thessalonians 1:9).

To call oneself a Christian, and then proclaim that there are many ways to eternal life, does not indicate “a level of humility about religion that would be of great benefit to everyone.” On the contrary, it exposes the “Christian” as a coward, who arrogantly dismisses the words of the Son of God. This so-called “Christian” has no respect for the rigidness of the Truth that Jesus embodied and taught. Sadly, this most recent survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life simply shows that America is a country full of professed “Christians” who have lost their spiritual bearings.

“Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3).

“God...commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man [Jesus] whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).

“Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).

REFERENCES

“Americans: My Faith Isn’t the Only Way to Heaven” (2008), Associated Press, [On-line], URL: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,370588,00.html.

Tooley, Mark D. (2006), “God is Back,” CBS News, [On-line], URL:http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/09/29/ opinion/main2053026.shtml.

Van Biema, David (2008), “Christians: No One Path to Salvation,” TIME, [On-line], URL: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1817217,00.html?imw=Y.




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