By Nathan Jones
One of the most popular ideas in the world today, even among many Christian leaders, is a form of Universalism. It is the idea that there are many different roads to God and that one is no better than any other.
To explain what Universalism is, we'll go to Eric Barger, the founder and director of Take a Stand! Ministries. Eric is an authority on the cults, the New Age, and rock music today. From his past as a former drug addict and rock n' roll musician who was deeply involved in the New Age movement, Eric has emerged since he gave his life to Jesus Christ to become one of today's greatest defenders of Christianity in America.
Is Christianity one of just many paths to get to Heaven?
That is the politically correct question of today. PC says there must be other paths. Oprah says there are more paths, and can Oprah be wrong? The world would say that, too. They're saying that you've got to be tolerant and that all paths are okay, something Universalist (those who follow Universalism) have taught for a long time.
In fact, many Christians have bought into the idea. We go back to the First Century and we see a couple of the Church fathers who explored it but then gave up on the ideas of universalism, which is the idea that many paths lead to God or that all religions can lead you to the same place.
I heard Oprah arguing with a couple of her audience members about whether there was just one way or many ways. Now, just to get the philosophy right, if there is any other path to get to God then our God — the Christian God — is the worst of all gods. After all, who would send his Son to needlessly die on a cross when we could get there through Buddhism, Hinduism or some other way? So, we must have the worst, most heinous of all gods, the most callous and cruel, who would sacrifice his Son for nothing.
When I hear people say that all paths lead to God, I have to stop and remind them how could that be true if Jesus claimed, "I am the way, the truth." He didn't say, "me and Buddha and Confucius or whatever you make up as your own religion is the way." He said, "I am the way the truth and the life" (Jn. 14:6).
The world does not like that idea of being exclusive, saying that it is the only way. But, the truth is we as Christian have to present that as the fact and let God sort this out. We're just the messengers. We can't change the message along the way to try to get the world to accept half a message. It's all or nothing. We're not the ones who are saying that Christianity is the only way, Jesus said it was. Peter said in Acts 4:12, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."
Who are these people then who are saying "all paths lead to God," and what gives them that idea?
Those who say "all paths lead to God" believe a loving God could never judge.
But, to be a loving God, if it is really the God we see in the Bible, then He must be a God of love as well as a God of justice. You can't have His absolute love without also having justice, for which Jesus went willingly to the cross to die for. God said, "Go." Jesus went and He went willingly so that we could once again know God since we are all separated from God by sin.
This is the thing that the world at large around us doesn't want to believe. They don't want to believe that we are all sinners. They want to just say that we are good. And so, they deny what the Scripture says — that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). Also, what Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure." They don't want to believe that. They want the loving God without a cross to go to. They don't want a bloody cross to bring us back into reconciliation with God. The world wants to believe that we can get there merely because we live or exist.
People would say, "Well, how could a loving God send anybody to Hell?" To turn that around, I would say, "How could a just God send His own Son to rescue anybody from it when we have all sinned and decided to go our own way?"
Do all religions worship the same God?
No, and I'm very concerned about the movement that is going on right now among Evangelicals and Muslim scholars to try to somehow coexist the two theologies together.
They'll say that Allah is the same as Yahweh, but Jehovah God and Allah are not the same. Allah is the God of the Koresh tribe, one of over 300 gods worshipped at the Kaaba in ancient Mecca many, many years ago in the 7th century. And, by the way, the God of Islam was the god of Mohammed's tribe which he installed by the sword. Every Muslim cleric who understands Islam knows that. They are behind our backs I believe pretty much laughing at the idea that Christians would buy into the idea that Jehovah and Allah are the same. Now, Muslims will follow along up until about Genesis 16, but it is over which son went up the mountain with Abraham where they separate from us, believing that, of course, their birthright had been stolen at that point and time.
Also, the God of Islam is indeed totally different from the God of Christianity. Allah is a god who is aloof, he is distant, he is never mentioned as a god of love anywhere in the Koran. You never know for sure whether you are saved or not, because "God" is arbitrary.
And, it is all about works. You can even do the five pillars of Islam and end up in the end with too many things on the negative side. There are two angels in Islam. There is a recording angel to write down the good things you do and the bad things you do. You can be very orthodox all your life, but if you do too many bad things there is no guarantee that you will make it into Paradise.
Yale University is spearheading the idea of bringing evangelicals and liberals and Muslims together to make us somehow agree that each God is the same God. I wrote an article and posted on my website about this called "I Can't Sign the Letter". I could not ever sign the letter that Yale put out that says, "Allah and Jehovah are the same." They are not the same God. I want to find commonality whenever I can to discuss things with other humans, but if they're trying to come together under the banner that their god is our God — no way!
We can look in the Scripture in Galatians 1, "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you," the Apostle Paul is saying this, "let him be eternally condemned!" Paul repeats verse 8 in verse 9, which says, "As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!"
We are as Christians bound to preach the one and true Gospel which says that Jesus died for the sins of the entire world (not the Emergent idea that the world is mother earth, but people) when He went to the cross.
For even more information on Universalism, check out Is Jesus The Only Way To Heaven?