Monday, March 14, 2011


But even if we, or an angel fro m heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! (Galatians 1:8 NASB)

I sat with a group of about 15 youth at the Juvenile Detention Center a couple of weeks ago. We had just watched a video from the 13 Letters Curriculum (from Reach Records) on the book of Colossians. The primary focus of our discussion was the character of Christ. The young men were doing a good job discussing who Jesus was and then I moved to the subject of him being the only way to salvation. I made a concise statement, “Jesus is the only way to heaven. Anyone who puts their faith in anything else is going to Hell.”

Complete shock overcame the group. All of them agreed that Jesus was the son of God. All of them agreed that Jesus had died for their sins. All of them agreed Jesus had risen from the grave three days after his execution and now sat in heaven at the right hand of God. However, the exclusion of all other faiths as paths to salvation just overwhelmed them.

“What about Muslims? Are they all going to Hell?”

“What about people who don’t believe in God? Are they going to Hell?”

My “yes” hit them like a baseball bat to the jaw. Despite their confession of who and what Jesus was they had a hard time making the leap to him being the only route to salvation. Such views are politically incorrect and intolerant. My group of youth had been raised in a culture that taught tolerance. However, the definition of tolerance had changed from their generation to mine.

Tolerance once meant respecting other people’s opinions. Now it means accepting other people’s opinions. Big difference. Our young people are being indoctrinated into this view. The ability to hold two contrary views as truth was once considered a sign of insanity. Now it is labeled intelligence or maturity. It’s an insidious philosophy that has crept into our learning institutions from the lowest to highest levels. My view earns me the label of small minded or bigoted or intolerant.

Logic itself dictates some conclusion other than opposing sides are both right. If Christianity and Islam cannot agree on the divinity of Christ how can they both be right? If Christianity is built on the divinity of Christ, how can it ever be reconciled with a faith system that denies he was anything more than a good teacher or a prophet? Logically, either one side is right and the other wrong, or both are wrong.

To try and reconcile it by saying that God is bigger than our ability to understand him and works through various ways to reveal himself is a logical fallacy as well. If we accept that God is all powerful and all knowing, then we must assume that he can clearly articulate the truths of who he is through a medium that we can understand. Is he the author of order or the author of confusion?

Honestly I have more respect for the atheist who believes none of it is true than I do for the faithful who want to embrace a buffet of spirituality saying each is good in its own way and reveals parts of the whole truth. I’m not much for riding fences. I stood in the atheist camp for decades and for me it was always an all or nothing affair. Either you believe or you don’t. Saving faith revolves around how you define who and what Jesus is. We cannot attribute words to him that indicate he is the only way (John 14:6) and then say other ways are possible paths as well. In that case instead of calling him Lord we are calling him a liar.

We live in a culture of tolerance today where we are encouraged to avoid exclusivist statements. We might offend somebody. We might even be accused of hate speech. However, I am reminded of the Apostle Paul’s words to the Galatians again:

For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10 NASB)

Take a minute and go back and read Galatians 1:8 over. Paul says anybody who says something different about the Lord Jesus Christ is to be “accursed.” The Greek word is “anathema” which means “a person or thing doomed to destruction.” I think it is all clear. I am judging nobody; I am merely presenting the truths of the Gospel. God sends nobody to Hell; people end up there because of the choices they make. Do not be afraid to share the true Gospel with other people. Don’t ride fences. Remember the words of Jesus:

And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. (John 8:32 NASB)

Only one truth can be the truth.

Randy Alan

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