Is There More than One Way to God?
By: Frances Swaggart
“For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have Everlasting Life” (Jn. 3:16).
God’s Word tells us that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin (Heb. 9:22). Fallen humanity’s only choice then, is find blood that is pure, untainted by sin, and, thereby, able to take our place in death. Thank the Lord, that Blood has been provided! We must ever let it be known that it was the Lord Jesus Christ who was the Only One Worthy, the Only One whose Blood can wash clean the souls of men! Death was the price for sin, and it was Jesus, Hallelujah, who paid this price and died in the place of those who would come to Him! “For the wages of sin is death; but the Gift of God is Eternal Life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). Jesus is without question the One and Only Way to God! Revelation 13:8 says that Jesus was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. None can be rescued from Hell who refuse the Blood of God’s Only Son.
The reason human beings experience a sense of distance or disconnect with God is because of our sin. God’s Holiness prevents Him from fellowshipping with unrighteousness. You see, man cannot save himself, because all men have inherited a sin nature. Neither can one man die for another. Not even the death of an innocent animal is enough. In the Old Testament, the Lord instituted the animal sacrifices, but this only served as a temporary covering for sin until Christ would completely take sin away. “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Heb 10:4). Yet, even in this temporary situation, God always only had one specific place, one Tabernacle, and/or one Brazen Altar in which He would accept the sacrifices. His Conditions were designed to typify the Sacrifice of Christ which was to come. Some depraved individuals throughout history even tried sacrificing babies upon evil heathen altars in a desperate attempt to atone for sin. But, Christ Alone was spotless, making Him the only suitable Sacrifice for our sin. Eternal Life and Salvation is only available to those who identify with His substitutionary Death at Calvary! “Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the Glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4).
JESUS, THE ONLY WAY TO GOD
Tragically, however, we have many in both the church and the world today who are teaching that there is more than one way to God. These say that as long as you sincerely pursue goodness in your life and follow your conscience to the best of your ability, whatever path you take will ultimately lead you to God and bring you to Heaven one day. These individuals could make no greater mistake! It may be hard in this modern age, with all our creature comforts, entertainments, and distractions to comprehend the dire consequences of sin. Yet, it is the actual reason our physical bodies die, and spiritually-speaking we are already “. . . dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). But, unlike the Jews, we do not have to watch the fires consume the flesh of the animal sacrifices. Nor do we have to physically apply the blood of an innocent lamb across the doorposts of our homes to escape an Angel of Death like the Jews did in Egypt (Ex., Chpt. 12). And, we did not see God strike dead the priests who offered up “strange fire” to Him (Lev.10:1-2), meaning their offering failed to typify Christ’s Sacrifice. The Lord allowed such vivid events, however, to try to show man the spiritual magnitude that Christ’s Death on the Cross would have. It was, in fact, the Only Way God could have ever reached us!
A DANGEROUS DIRECTION
Sadly, one of most outspoken proponents that Jesus is not the Only Way to God is Oprah Winfrey. Although raised Baptist, she has come to embrace an entirely different and dangerous spirituality. This is not only sad for the sake of Oprah’s soul, but also for the souls of the many she is now leading astray. Several years ago, on her own program, Oprah emphatically stated that, “there couldn’t possibly be just one way!” Here is the resulting dialogue when a woman in the audience reminded her of Jesus.
Oprah (speaking to the woman in the audience): “Do you think that if you are somewhere on the planet and you never hear the name of Jesus, but yet you live with a loving heart, you lived as Jesus would have had you to live, you lived for the same purpose that Jesus came to the planet to teach us all, but you are in some remote part of the earth and you never heard the name of Jesus, you cannot get to Heaven, you think?!”
Woman: “God knows the heart.”
Oprah: “Does God care about your heart or does God care whether you call His Son Jesus?”
Woman: “Jesus cannot come back until that Gospel is preached in the four corners of this earth, so, you know, figure it out.”
Oprah: “Ok, I can’t get into a religious argument with you.”
What a sarcastic statement Oprah ends this conversation with, as if she had not been having a religious discussion all along!1
Thank God, we still have a few brave Christians in this world. I’m sure this lady in the audience had no idea how far-reaching her defense of Jesus would be that day. And though this lady was right, in that the Gospel will be preached to the four corners of the Earth, according to Scripture, it is also true that even if someone does not hear the Name of Jesus, they still stand before God without excuse! “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His Eternal Power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20). “Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them” (Isa. 42:9). God does not fail to make Himself known to us. This lady was also correct in that God knows our hearts. If our heart is truly seeking Him and is repentant of sin, then it is the job of the Holy Spirit to lead us to Christ and His Cross! The Holy Spirit, who is God, will never fail to lead us to Jesus! “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all Truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify Me (Christ): for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father has are Mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of Mine, and shall show it unto you” (Jn. 16:13-15). Christians should never apologize for their Faith in the Glorious Gospel of our Lord! God is Just, and He will always do what is fair and right in the life of every person on the Planet!
In an October 26, 2004 ABC News interview with Charles Gibson, President George Bush responds to the question of whether or not Christians and Muslims worship the same God:
“I think we do. We have different routes of getting to the Almighty . . . But I want you to understand, I want your listeners to understand, I don’t get to decide who goes to Heaven. The Almighty God decides who goes to Heaven and I am on my personal walk.”
President Bush, who has professed to be a Born-Again Christian, also made this heretical statement in an interview on Al Arabiya television:
“I believe in an almighty God, and I believe that all the world, whether they be Muslim, Christian, or any other religion, prays to the same God . . . I believe there is a universal God. I believe the God that the Muslim prays to is the same God that I pray to. After all, we all came from Abraham. I believe in that universality.”2
Let’s now look right within the professing Christian Church itself. Here is a television dialogue between Billy Graham and Robert Schuller on May 31, 1998 (as reported in the May-June 1997, Foundation magazine):
Schuller: Tell me, what do you think is the future of Christianity?
Graham: Well, Christianity and being a true believer, you know, I think there’s the Body of Christ which comes from all the Christian groups around the world or outside the Christian groups. I think everybody that loves Christ, or knows Christ, whether they’re conscious of it or not, they’re members of the Body of Christ . . . And that’s what God is doing today, He’s calling people out of the world for His name, whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world, or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ because they’ve been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus, but they know in their hearts that they need something that they don’t have, and they turn to the only light that they have, and I think that they are saved, and that they’re going to be with us in Heaven.
Schuller: Well, what I hear you saying, that it’s possible for Jesus Christ to come into human hearts and soul and life, even if they’ve been born in darkness and have never had exposure to the Bible. Is that a correct interpretation of what you’re saying?
Graham: Yes, it is, because I believe that. I’ve met people in various parts of the world in tribal situations, that they have never seen a Bible or heard about a Bible, and never heard of Jesus, but they’ve believed in their hearts that there was a God, and they’ve tried to live a life that was quite apart from the surrounding community in which they lived.
Schuller: This is fantastic! I’m so thrilled to hear you say that! There’s a wideness in God’s mercy!
Graham: There is. There definitely is.
Actually, the Roman Catholic universal catechism, page 224; paragraph 847 says almost exactly the same thing:“Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience, those too may achieve eternal salvation.”3 This is also very similar to Oprah’s response to the woman in her audience that if a person tries to be good, sincere, and loving, they can make it to Heaven without Christ. But again, no amount of good works can atone for sin! It took the Death of a Perfect Sacrifice!
In a June 16, 2005 CNN interview with Larry King, Billy Graham made these statements:
King: “But what about those faiths, the Mormons and the others that you mentioned, believe in Christ. They believe they will meet Christ. What about those like the Jews, the Muslims, who don’t believe they. . . .”
Graham: “That’s in God’s hands. I can’t be the judge.”
King: “You don’t judge them?”
King: “How do you feel. . . .”
Graham: “. . . going to Hell and all that.”
King: “How do you feel when you see a lot of these strong Christian leaders go on television and say, you are condemned, you will live in Hell if you do not accept Jesus Christ, and they are forceful and judgmental?”
Graham: “Well, they have a right to say that, and they are true to a certain extent, but I don’t — that’s not my calling. My calling is to preach the love of God and the forgiveness of God and the fact that He does forgive us. That’s what the cross is all about, what the resurrection is all about, that’s the gospel. And you can get off on all kinds of different side trends, and in my earlier ministry, I did the same, but as I got older, I guess I became more mellow and more forgiving and more loving. . . .”
ONE NAME ONLY!
This is quite shocking, because the Bible makes it completely clear that Salvation comes by One Name only! Matthew 7:14 says, “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it.” Acts 4:12 says, “Neither is there Salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” In Acts 16:30-31, a prison guard asks Paul and Silas this question when he sees that the Power of God had broken their prison bands: “. . . Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and your house.” The list of Scriptures go on and on: “He who has the Son has Life; and he who has not the Son of God has not Life” (I Jn. 5:12). “Jesus said unto him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man comes unto the Father, but by Me” (Jn. 14:6). “Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the Door of the Sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers: but the Sheep did not hear them. I am the Door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be Saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (Jn. 10:7-9). We hope that these confusing statements made by Billy Graham in recent years are due to some of the medical complications he has experienced, because in Graham’s early ministry, he clearly preached that Jesus was the only way! However, we must warn those who would take his recent statements to heart and head down the path of apostasy as a result of their confidence in Graham.
What so many of these leaders have done, is avoid the subject of sin altogether or somehow redefine it so that the solution can be something other than Christ. In “Self-Esteem, The New Reformation,” Robert Schuller wrote, “Salvation is defined as rescue from shame to glory. It is salvation from guilt to pride, from fear to love, from distrust to faith, from hypocrisy to honesty . . . So lack of trust or a lack of self-worth is the central core of sin.”4 Schuller’s statement here sounds very similar to what Oprah described in Marianne Williamson’s book, “A Return To Love.” She described how New Age guru, Williamson, spoke of salvation as choosing to move in the direction of love (light) rather than moving in the direction of fear (darkness).5 Again, man cannot choose Salvation through correct action; it took the Blood of the Lamb! By completely dismissing their need for a Savior, these leaders dismiss Jesus as the Only Way to God. Lord, help us all to recognize our need for the Saving Blood of Jesus!