Daily Spirit & Word, 441: “Do All Religions Lead To God?”.
Daily Spirit & Word, 441: Do ALL Religions Lead To God?
Questions & Objections to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Good morning my friends, I thought I’d start a week thinking through some of the common objections and questions that people have, give or say when we are out sharing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. We go out each week onto the streets of London and we talk to all kinds of people. London, believe it or not, is a very ‘religious’ place, because almost every week we encounter folks who follow lots of different religions and faiths. This makes sharing Jesus challenging, exciting and sometimes perplexing, but definitely always interesting, because people have strongly held beliefs. But there are many we come across, probably the majority, who believe in God’s existence, but don’t follow any one particular path or religious sect.
London is a VERY religious place.
The reasons for that are many. London is a hub of peoples from all over the world so many come with their own religious traditions; we’ve got people from Poland who tend to be nominal Roman Catholics. I say nominal because they are normally baptised as babies, but don’t continue to follow the faith or do so quite sporadically. Chinese people who follow Pagan ancestral worship, Buddhism and some Christians (these are the folks we’ve met, but I know there are many more religions in China). We’ve met Muslims from many nations and they’ll even say to us; “We must be tolerant of one another, because we all worship the same God”… But we’ve met other Muslims who believe that ‘Allah’ revealed through the teachings of their Prophet Mohammed is the only way.
So to answer the question: Do All Religions Lead To God? We first need to consider the statement is normally given in response to our sharing about Jesus with folks. You see we don’t normally get to the point of someone saying “All religions lead to God” immediately, it comes after we’ve talked about Jesus or the Christian faith for a while. The reason people are responding with the statement is because they are like a fish wriggling on the fishing line. When you catch a fish with the bait of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they normally put up a strong fight, sometimes all the way, until they are landed safely on the bank and in the net. They’ll often-times only give up the struggle when you’ve knocked them on the head with a fisherman’s knock 🙂 But we don’t do that with those we hope to win to Jesus.
When you catch a fish on the hook baited with the Gospel, they’ll normally put up a fight. No fish wants to be landed 🙂
What’s the REAL problem for the FISH that’s wriggling against the tug of the Gospel? We’ve normally presented the Gospel of Jesus Christ by that stage, and though they can see and understand the good news of Jesus, they’re still not prepared to come to the Saviour. They’ve understood what Jesus did upon the Cross and how He died there for their sins, because we’ve taken time to show a person how they’ve offended against a Holy God by breaking His commandments. They’ve admitted to themselves, that they’d be in deep trouble if they were to die and face a Holy Just and Righteous God on Judgement Day. We’ve shown them that Jesus is the answer to the dilema of sin, He’s the solution for Mankind’s SIN problem. But they want it to be more open than that, their thinking is; “It’s too narrow, it’s too dogmatic, there must be another valid way of being saved other than Jesus or the vast majority of people in the world will be condemned to eternal torment in Hell”…
Also, they’ve been raised in an Education system that devotes a great deal of time and teaching on being tolerant of other people’s faiths and beliefs, the end result is that we’ve raised a few generations of people in the UK now, who believe there is NO one way, that all faiths must be respected and that ultimately leads to the majority thinking that all faiths MUST lead to God.
Some believe that being ‘Sincere’ in what you believe is what’s most important to God. They believe that a genuinely ‘sincere’ person will be welcomed into Heaven, because they’ve been sincere about the religion they’ve been taught since a baby.
There is also a big problem of not wanting to offend family, friends and country; If they were to accept that Jesus is the only way to God, they’d loose out big time, some would be rejected or shunned by those they love the most in life, if they trusted in Jesus Christ. In some places in the world they would be in danger of loosing their lives if they converted to Christianity from another religion.
So they’ll say, “All religions lead to God”: because they don’t want to offend others, they want to appear open-minded and tolerant or because they want to stick with what’s become familiar or for fear of what might happen to them.
Another abjection to the Gospel we’ll hear often is, “People should be left to choose their own way and make up their own mind”. This is the objection of ‘Free Choice’. Yes my friends we too agree with you on that one, and so does God. That’s why He will not force anyone to accept Jesus. No one can make another person become a Christian; Evangelists can’t neither can; Priests, Popes or Pastors. They can’t make people into Christians just by baptising them in water or by being religious or by making them attend church. God will not force people to be saved against their wills, but He will hold them to account and they will be responsible for their freedom of choice, so we have an human, loving, responsibility to show them the error of this kind of thinking. You ARE free to choose, but you’d better make certain you choose the right one or the right way, because your eternal destiny is at stake.
These arguments and objections to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the fact that He is the ONLY way to heaven are just ways of trying to evade the need of commitment to one way or one person. You can sometimes see what’s happening, the fish get uncomfortable and wriggle harder close to the point of submission and being landed on the shore. Their flawed thinking is that by saying these things it allows them some wriggling room, some way of evading the hard choice of responding and being committed to Jesus Christ.
Therefore, How can a Christian land and net this wriggly fish?
I think it is wise to admit that God can and does give people the light of His self-revelation, to know that there is a God who created everything and that people respond to that revelation by being religious and worshipping. However, what people normally worship in response to God’s self-revelation, is man-made religious rules and regulations. Or they’ll often worship what’s been created by God instead of God Himself: The Bible calls that Idolatry – it’s making a god to suit yourself.
Did you know that the statement “All Religions Lead To God” is a form of idolatry too? Because we’re saying something about the God of the Bible that’s NOT true, in a way we’re making a god that we’re comfortable with, that doesn’t demand too much from us and that ultimately will accept people no matter what they believe.
Does it matter what people believe? Are there others ways of being SAVED from God’s wrath and anger against sin and rebellion apart from Jesus Christ? Is it too narrow-minded to declare that Jesus is the ONLY way of Salvation for human beings today?
DEBATE: It’s good to debate with people and get their viewpoints, it’s interesting to hear what they are thinking in regards to faith and religion and to know what path they are currently following. But when you get to this point and they say; “All Religions Lead To God”… What are you going to say to help them see the error of that kind of thinking?
Remember first; we’re in good company, because the Apostle Paul often debated with people in the streets about faith and trust in the LORD Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself was out and about with the people, doing exactly what He’s called Christians to be doing: Sharing the Message of the Kingdom and how people can know God for themselves today.
Secondly: Admit that what they say would be really nice. If all religions really lead to God, then we wouldn’t be out on the streets telling people about Jesus Christ, because if what they are saying is true, then we could just leave people alone and let them be comfortable with their decision that no matter what you believe, God will let you into Heaven.
Thirdly: The REALITY: Every religion teaches a different way to God, so they can’t ALL be right. You could ask the person who says this too you; “All Religions Lead To God” you can respond with, “That’s really interesting, what teaching in each religion leads people of all religions to the same God?” They’ve responded to me by saying things like, “Most religions offer peace and harmony and tolerance and being a good person” That’s right they do, but is that enough to satisfy God?
You see Christianity teaches that we can never be good enough to enter into heaven, no matter how hard we try.
Some will say that the Ten Commandments revealed in most religions are the way to be saved, but we then gently show people that following the Ten Commandments just leaves every single person on the earth condemned, because no one has ever kept all of them and God’s standards of holiness and perfection are just too hard and impossible achieve. Most religions teachings and that of Jesus on goodness overlap, but Jesus always goes further than every other religion in the world. He says, “be perfect as my father in Heaven is perfect.” None of us can be perfect and we are all left failing and condemned because we’ve not obeyed the Ten Commandments.
Once they understand the difference between Christianity and every other religion, they are ready to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news that Jesus died to make it possible for people of all faiths and none to be saved from God’s wrath and anger against sin. It’s not too narrow to show people Jesus is the only way, when you know that what they are believing will leave them condemned by God and on their way to certain judgement. The loving thing to do is to show people the folly of their thinking; “All Religions Lead To God”, and showing them the TRUTH; “ONLY JESUS CAN SAVE YOU”.
Winning An Argument: My friends, when we engage people with the Gospel, we’re not out to win arguments with people, we’re not going out to brow-beat people into submission, we’re going out to win people for Jesus Christ and His love compels us to reach out and save them. God wants all people to be saved, but He’ll not force them and neither should we. If we win an argument we can loose a friend for life. We’re going out to share and we must depend upon the Holy Spirit to guide us, lead us in conversations, because every individual is different and though they sometimes say the same old things, their thinking and beliefs about them can be as varied as the colours on a black-bird’s wings.
We know that Jesus is the only way, because we know Jesus. He’s revealed Himself to us and brought us out of darkness into His marvellous light. We know that all other religions are false, but we must be gentle with folks who hold fast to the faith of their fathers, who have no faith at all and who doubt the very existence of God. When they say, “All Religions Lead To God”, that’s their safety net, but with gentle persuasion and revelation of truth in humility, hopefully in God’s good timing, they’ll see, they know and they’ll understand that what we were telling them was TRUE.
My friends, look carefully at what Jesus said about Himself being the ONLY way to Heaven.
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.
7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.
12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.
14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
And that one day, every KNEE will bow to Jesus.
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
You’ll not convince anyone of these truths without first ploughing up their hard hearts with the revelation that comes from sharing the LAW of God, revealed in the Ten Commandments, because they show everyone of every faith that we all need a Saviour. The LAW is a Schoolmaster who teaches us our need for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death in our place upon the Cross for sin.
Don’t be afraid of the objection or statement, “ALL RELIGIONS LEAD TO GOD”, because God will equip you by His Holy Spirit to enable you to demonstrate the folly of that kind of thinking.
Have and AWESOME Monday and a whole week of SOAKING yourself in God’s Word and Truth.
Can also be read on St Luke’s Church Facebook Page.
For more information on why there are so many religions in the world and an answere to the question; “Do all religions lead to God?” A great source of information is Got Questions Website. Enjoy the extended reading. May the LORD bless you. Don.