Jesus Is The Narrow Way
By: Frances Swaggart
(This article was originally printed in October, 2007)
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Mat. 7:13-14).
“Thomas saith unto Him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”(Jn. 14:5-6).
“Philip saith unto Him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” (Jn.14:8-9).
Let there be no mistaking the path to God — Jesus is The Way, the narrow way! Nowhere does Scripture suggest any “other” way nor does it describe Jesus as merely “a” way. The church, however, is encountering a great hindrance to the proclamation of “The Way.” That hindrance is the spirit of compromise. In today’s climate, one who compromises is often highly esteemed by men. People are led to believe that such a tolerant manner is a demonstration of the utmost morality and love. But, this “ethical standard” did not originate from God’s Word. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, not compromise!
Yet, powerless preachers are cowering to dark spiritual forces, unable to stand against the Devil’s lies. One of the greatest deceptions he markets today is the idea that other religions have value and that we should reconsider (despite the teachings of Scripture) that there may indeed be other avenues to God. For instance, listen to Henri Nouwen, Catholic mystic priest: “Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God.”1 Another “leader” endorsed by many pastors is Leonard Sweet, mystic author of Quantum Spirituality. Sweet has said: “New Light embodiment means to be ‘in connection’ and ‘in-formation’ with other faiths. . . . One can be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ without denying the flickers of the sacred in followers of Yahweh, or Kali, or Krishna.”2 Contemplative monk, Thomas Merton, said, “I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity. . . . I intend to become as good a Buddhist as I can.”3
Here is an entire organization made up of apostate believers. On May 27, 2007, The Center for Progressive Christianity held what they termed “Pluralism Sunday.” Their website states, “. . . progressive Christian churches around the U.S. will explore and experience other religious traditions. . . . Many if not most people think that in order to be a Christian, it’s necessary to believe that Christianity is the only valid way to salvation, and that other religions are inferior at best and evil at worst. But Pluralism Sunday spreads good news: there is a way to be Christian without making this prideful claim, which has been the cause of so much inter-religious division and misunderstanding. Pluralism Sunday takes a big step beyond mere ‘tolerance’ of other religions, and affirms that other faiths may be as good for their adherents as our faith is for us. . . . This coming Pentecost, May 27, progressive churches celebrated the Holy Spirit of harmony and understanding that is possible among followers of different spiritual traditions.”4
JESUS CHRIST IS NOT AN ADD-ON
Some leaders cave-in a little more indirectly. They tout mottos like this one: Just add Jesus! You see, they say, the Christian faith is really simple; you do not have to change a thing. You can keep the lifestyle you want, the culture you want, even the religion you want, but Jesus is the icing on the cake! For example, Rick Warren told an interfaith audience at the 2005 UN Prayer Breakfast that God didn’t care what religion they were; they just needed to add Jesus to it. In order to be politically and socially correct, he essentially said that it was perfectly fine to remain a Hindu, Buddhist, or Muslim if you will just complete the tradition with Jesus.5 This treats our Lord as if He were another luxury item designed to enhance one’s quality of living. But, the true Jesus of whom the Scriptures speak is so much more. He is a personal Savior and the Man from Galilee. He is the Man who walked on water and healed the lepers, and when it is this Jesus you have met, you will find that the life you were once concerned with improving no longer even exits. He is the Son of God. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Cor. 5:17).
Sometimes modern leaders choose to bypass matters of faith altogether, focusing their energies on other issues like peace and social justice. Just a few weeks ago (2007), Benny Hinn led a meeting marking a “new era between Christian and Arab leaders. . . . the beginning of productive and positive dialogue between Arab and Christian leaders.” At the Washington, D.C. home of “His Excellency Nabil Fahmy, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the United States,” evangelical representatives including Benny Hinn, Gordon Robertson, Jonathan Falwell, Reinhardt Bonnke, Ralph Reed Jr., Paul Crouch Jr., and others met with ambassadors and advisors from Middle Eastern nations to discuss hope for future peace among religions.
CBN’s Gordon Robertson said, “I join with Pastor Benny Hinn in reaching out to Israel with one arm and the Arab nations with the other. May God allow these efforts to grow and prosper so that one day the Middle East will no longer be a place of conflict but a place of peace.” Rev. Richard Cizik, Vice President for Governmental Affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals, stated: “We all need moral imagination and biblical wisdom to see our way through the current difficulties in relations between Christians — particularly evangelical Christians — and Muslims.”6 Actually, Benny Hinn is in quite a unique position to head meetings such as this considering he is an Israeli-born Arab who was raised Greek-Orthodox and attended a Catholic school.
These chameleon-like attributes give Benny universal petition, but Believers must remember that social agendas have nothing to do with spreading the Gospel! In Jaffa, Hinn’s Arabic family endured the suspicions of the Jewish leadership after WWII; they eventually fled to Canada with aid from agencies recommended by the Greek Orthodox Church.7
FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST?
The slippery slope continues as modern “preachers” have even gone so far as to say that followers of Jesus do not necessarily have to be called “Christians” and, thereby identify with the body of Christ. Rick Warren said, “I happen to know people who are followers of Christ in other religions.”8 Occultist, Alice Bailey, said the same thing: “I would point out that when I use the phrase ‘followers of the Christ’ I refer to all those who love their fellow men, irrespective of creed or religion.”9 In a book review entitled “Christ-Followers in India Flourishing Outside the Church,” regarding the research of Lutheran missionary Herbert Hoefer (author of Churchless Christianity), the statement is made that, “. . . people in Madras City are far closer to historic Christianity than the populace of any cities in the western Christian world could ever claim to be.”10 Hoefer has suggested that there are actually thousands of Christians in India who do not choose to call themselves Christians. This way they can avoid uncomfortable situations.
For example, one young Indian man claims to be a Christian, but continues to practice the religious rituals of Hinduism: “All this is what I must do . . . but my faith is in Christ. Outside I am a Hindu, but inside I am a Christian.” Another man who claims to be Christian, but whose wife is still Hindu, handles circumstances in this manner: “They do not have family devotions, but worship Jesus along with the Hindu gods in their home. Their approach to the Hindu festivals is to carry them out but to think of God, not Jesus specifically.”11
People today are indeed being cleverly drawn away from a narrow walk with the Savior. They are being told they no longer have to “convert” to Christianity as long as they have asked Jesus into their hearts, and it is possible to have Jesus without having to take on the negative stigma of any particular creed. But, the minute you do not accept the Biblical Faith, you have disassociated Jesus from His Cross and, thereby bring “another Jesus” into your life (II Cor. 11:4). The true Jesus cannot be separated from the Christian Faith because it is the One and only Faith which defined His Mission, His Mission which gave us the Way to God. If you do not forsake your old religion and “take up your cross,” you cannot be saved! “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is Sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (I Cor. 5:7-8).
Modern leaders also agree it is perfectly alright to avoid what they consider unnecessary persecution in countries where Christianity is banned. What would these cowards say about the death of the early disciples? How can they simply ignore that the same Power which allowed Christ to take the nails also flooded the souls of the martyrs? Do they think this incredible witness was in vain? And what about the response Paul received from King Agrippa? “King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds” (Acts 26:27-29).
THE NEW MISSIOLOGY
It is at this point that things really begin to get ugly. Modern leaders also pressure Believers to move beyond the boundaries of Doctrine in order to really see some faith in action! They praise so-called “mature” believers who have passed the “petty phase” of Doctrine, while they belittle those who still recognize its significance! This modern way of thinking has been called the New Missiology, but it is really just the same ecumenical paganism that will culminate with the worldwide worship of the Antichrist. In his book, They Like Jesus But Not the Church, emergent leader Dan Kimball condemns what he calls fundamentalists (which he defines as Bible literalists).12 Don Miller, author of “Blue Like Jazz”says, “the beginning of sharing my faith with people began by throwing out Christianity.”13 Blue Like Jazz is a semi-autobiographical work, subtitled “Non-Religious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality.”
REPROBATE (II CORinthians 13:5)
Erwin McManus, another emergent leader and pastor of Mosaic Church in Los Angeles, CA, says it is his goal to “destroy Christianity as a world religion and be a recatalyst for the movement of Jesus Christ.”14 The Lost Message Of Jesus, written by Steve Chalke (w/Alan Mann), is another example. Emergent leader, Brain McLaren’s, endorsement of this book says, “Steve Chalke’s new book could help save Jesus from Christianity.”15 Even Senator Barack Obama propagated this false form of Christianity at the United Church of Christ’s biennial General Synod, Saturday, June 23, 2007. Obama is a member of the UCC, a liberal denomination which prides itself on progressive causes. It was the first denomination to ordain openly gay and lesbian ministers, and it began endorsing same-sex “marriage” in 2005.
He said, “Faith got hijacked, partly because of the so-called leaders of the Christian Right, all too eager to exploit what divides us.”16 While he mainly pinned the right-wing here, he still indicated that Christianity should be more expansive in nature than the original fundamental Faith. At the UCC’s convention Obama also said, “From Willow Creek to the ‘emerging church,’ from the Southern Baptist Convention to the National Association of Evangelicals, folks are realizing that the four walls of the church are too small for a big God. ‘God is still speaking,’” citing the motto of UCC’s media branding campaign.17
1 (Henri Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey. 1998. page 51. Hardcover Edition)
2 (Idolatry in Their Hearts, Oppenheimer/Simpson. Apologetics Coordination Team. 2007.)
3 (David Steindl-Rast. Recollections of Thomas Merton’s Last Days in the West. Monastic Studies, 7:10, 1969)
6 (Benny Hinn Ministries, 2007. http://www.bennyhinn.org/articles/ambassadorsmeeting.cfm)
7 (Benny Hinn, He Touched Me. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999, p.28) (http://www.pfo.org/oldhouse.htm)
8 (Idolatry in Their Hearts. Oppenheimer/Simpson. Apologetics Coordination Team. 2007)
9 (Alice Bailey, The Externalisation of the Hierarchy, Lucis Pub. Co., NY 1957, p.468)
10 (H.L. Richard, Mission Frontiers. The Bulletin of the U.S. Center for World Mission. March 1, 1999)
11 (Roger Oakland, Faith Undone. 2007. Light House Trails Publishing.)
12 (http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog index.php?s=Dan+Kimball)
13 (Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz. 2003 Thomas Nelson Inc. p. 115)
16 (http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20070623/APP/706230710) (http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/)