Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. ~2 Timothy 2:15

About Me

I am a young man who is following God's call into pastoral ministry. I have been so blessed with the privileges which the Lord has granted me. I am blessed to serve the Mt. Joy congregation in Mt. Pleasant, PA. I am constantly humbled and amazed at what the Lord is doing in my life.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

One Way Among Many or the Only Way?

Jesus said to him; "I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father if not through Me" ~John 14:6 (Personal Translation)

A popular perspective today claims that all religions are basically the same and that there are many ways to God. Many people subscribe to such a view. A major high profile proponent of this type of thinking, Oprah Winfrey, made the statement, "There are many ways, many paths to what you call God." However, such a view cannot be reconciled with the teachings of Jesus as recorded in the Bible. Jesus entertained no such thought but actually argued against it. When Thomas asked Jesus how they could know the way to where He was going, He responded, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6).

This very statement shows the falsehood of such a claim to there being "many ways to God." Jesus didn't way "I am one of many ways and one of many truths and one of many lives." No, Jesus stated that He is the "one and only way, the one and only truth, and the one and only life." The way that this is written in Greek clearly shows this as each of the nouns used has a definite article, the, in front of it. He intends to communicate that He is the specific and definite way, the specific and definite truth, and the specific and definite life. Had He intended to mean that He is "one way among many," the definite article would have been lacking in Greek and thus could be translated a way, a truth, and a life. However, this is not the case as each of these descriptions have a definite article preceding them. Further, His point that No one comes to the Father except through Me isolates Him as the only way. No other road exists that one can travel on to find the end destination of God the Father. All other roads lead to destruction instead of life (Proverbs 16:25; Matthew 7:13).

This means that the "Eight Fold Path to Enlightenment" in Buddhism will not lead you to God. The ritual washings of Hinduism will not get you there either. Islam's "Five Pillars" are not the trek to arrive at the God which the Jesus described in the Scriptures refers. And if one is not led to Jesus through the Old Testament law but instead seeks the law itself as the road to God, they remain lost and have yet to be on the right road. Proponents of "liberal theology" that state there are many roads and ways to God promote numerous wrong paths. Trusting in Jesus is the only way as He Himself said unless one wants to claim that Jesus was mistaken or lying, but then they would have to throw the entire Bible out the window because it could no longer be trusted.

Also, while each of the major religions acknowledge Jesus in some way, the question arises as to which Jesus. An examination to the characterizations of the Jesus each religion refers would lead one to conclude that there exist several different Jesuses who actually contradict each other. Islam claims that Jesus was merely just a prophet but not the greatest of all the prophets. He did not physically die nor rise from the dead three days later. Many liberal theologians state that Jesus was a great teacher but not the divine Son of God. The Bible itself, claiming to be God's Word and not substantially proven false in such an assertion, states that Jesus is the Messiah that God promised to come to redeem His people; Who is God's Son; God in the flesh; Who died a physical death on the cross in Golgotha and rose three days later. These clearly are different Jesuses! The philosophical principle of "non-contradiction" will not permit us to argue that all of these different Jesuses refer to the same Jesus. This principle states that something cannot be A and not A at the same time. Jesus cannot both be God and be not God. He cannot be said to have physically died on the cross and to never have died on the cross. He cannot be labeled as merely just a prophet and more than a prophet. These are not the same Jesuses!

There is an author whose name is Lee Smith. The author may share my name but certainly could never be confused with being the same person as me. First, the author is a female while I am male. Based on her books, she would not be considered a Christian or at least not one as I understand the Bible to define it. (She writes some pretty raunchy stuff!) She is 67 and I am 27. She has several fictional novels published while I continue to work on some of my theological treatises that may never be published. There also is a former professional baseball player with the name Lee Smith. Certainly any friends of mine engaged in a discussion concerning this man would not assume that they were talking about the same Lee Smith writing this article. The former Chicago Cubs pitcher has a different skin color as me and skills in the game of baseball I could only dream of having. (I can't even get on base when I join my congregation's dartball team for a game. The one homerun I managed to get was certainly "beginners luck" as I have no pitching arm.) Also, he is my senior by 26 years. The three of us share a name but not many characteristics. No one could logically or rationally argue that the three of us are the same person due to the amount of differences. Likewise, to claim that all of these religions that refer to "Jesus" all speak of the same Jesus would be preposterous and illogical. (Of course this analogy falls short in that these other two "Lee Smith's" really do exist where these other Jesuses are creations of man and not an actual person.)

The question is which Jesus is the right Jesus. Which Jesus is the One Who saves? The Jesus described in the Bible is the way and the truth and the life. He is the only way to the Father. These other Jesuses presented by these other religions may seem more appealing but they are not the way to God. The Jesus found in the gospels and the epistles in the Bible can never be described as "one way among many" but instead must be recognized as "the only way among many false counterfeits." To hold to the former view would be to deny God's Word and call Jesus a liar. Are you trusting and following the way, the truth, and the life or blindly going down a way that leads to destruction and not to God?

In Christ,