Sunday, August 25, 2013
The Exclusivity of Christianity
This was and is the core belief of Christians throughout the ages. Believers living in the centuries before us demonstrated great faith as they spread the Gospel across the world. I am amazed at what great faith of men such as William Carey, Charles Spurgeon and Oswald Chambers could accomplish. Do we believe the Bible as they did?
Has the Bible changed? No, not in the original autographs. But modern man can change the Word to fit his own likings, because man is more savvy than the old fashioned God we always believed in. For instance, there are Bibles available for those want God to not be referred to exclusively in the male gender, but either a He or a She. I don't get that. It says what it says. In the days of William Tyndale, just to get a Bible was a treasure. They printed it as it was translated, and did not apologize for hurting people's feelings, not even the King of England's. I wonder what William Tyndale would have thought about all our modern Bibles today, and how they cater to people's sensibilities.
I thought that all Christians believed in the necessary atoning work of Christ upon the cross. But now, there are other more "popular" fads that are in trend. Popular teachers write books that make these beliefs attractive, because it appears to comfort people from thinking about the reality of hell. One of them is Universalism. That is the belief that somehow, all in the end will be saved, no matter if they believed in Christ or not.
I ask you, why then did Jesus come down and suffer upon a bloody cross for us if all will be saved in the end regardless? Christ did not force us to believe on Him. It is our choice. He paid for all sins on the cross, yet there still is one sin that will keep people out of heaven. That is the refusal to believe on Him personally as Savior. Jesus is not just any old god, He is the One True God. I don't have to argue with that, just accept it on faith.
Deuteronomy 4:39: "Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the LORD Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other." I wrote this verse in calligraphy many years ago and hung it in my kitchen for all of our eyes to see, including my children's. What an onslaught awaited them in the world. Children raised in Christian homes are abandoning their faith even more so today.
Jesus told the Pharisee Nicodemus, who came to Him at night: "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3) Jesus never said there were other ways to come to the Father, a notion that is believed by man. No, there is only ONE Savior and One way to heaven.
1 Timothy 2:5: "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus."
Now that is exclusive, and many turn away at this point. You cannot add Jesus + other ways to heaven. Other cultures did not have the Judeo Christian heritage as we did, but yet Christianity still spreads like wildfire to them who have never heard. Even as we turn away from it, they embrace it.
People who never heard of Jesus before discover that when they cry out to these gods, they do not get an answer, just like the prophets of Baal with Elijah's challenge to the false prophets in I Kings 18:21. He ends up asking the universal question: "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people answered him not a word.
I Kings 18: 25-29 continues, "Now Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose one bull for yourselves and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it." So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, "O Baal, hear us!" But there was no voice; no one answered. Then they leaped about the altar which they had made. And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, "Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened." So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them. And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention."
Do you see? No answer. But when Elijah prayed, God immediately answered Elijah and consumed his sacrifice with fire from heaven.(I Kings 18:38) Only the True God heard and answered. Do we believe the exclusive claims of Christ, or are there other ways to get to heaven as well? Has "another faith," and "another Jesus" crept in unaware?
II Corinthians 11: 3-4: But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted--you may well put up with it!"
The power of the gospel lies in it's simplicity. Simple for us, because it was very difficult for Him.
John 6: 28-9: Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."