Thursday, May 20, 2010

Are There Many Roads to God? Part 6

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

What about professing Christians who have never been born again? Will they be going to Heaven?

What I have in mind are what I prefer to call "Cultural Christians." These are people who claim to be Christians because they profess to believe in Jesus, but they have no personal relationship with Him. Many of these are people who attend church regularly. Some are elders, deacons, teachers, and even pastors. Can they get to Heaven through church membership or by participating in Christian rites like baptism or communion?

The answer of the Bible is a clear "No!" Jesus Himself said that no man can see the kingdom of God unless he be "born again" (John 3:3). That means a person must put his faith in Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior. It is not sufficient to simply believe that Jesus lived. The Bible says that even "the demons believe and shudder" (James 2:19). But they have rejected Jesus as their Lord.

Going to church or participating in Christian rituals is not another road to Heaven. Our churches are filled with unsaved people who are trusting in their works to get them to Heaven. But the Bible says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith... not as a result of works, that no one should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

In an interview I conducted recently with Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, he pointed out that two words sum up one of the fundamental differences between Christianity and all other religions in the world. Those words are "do" and "done." Regarding access to Heaven, all the false religions of the world say, "DO!" Christianity, in stark contrast, proclaims "DONE!"1 In other words, Christianity declares that Jesus did everything necessary for our salvation through His death on the cross. There is nothing we can add to that.

False expressions of Christianity require you to earn your salvation by doing works that they require. True Christianity says there is nothing you can do to earn your salvation because it is a free gift of God through faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior. In this sense, true Christianity is really not a religion; rather, it is a relationship. Jesus made this clear at the last supper with His disciples when He prayed to God, saying, "...this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent" (John 17:3).

In this regard I feel compelled to state, respectfully, that this is an area where Billy Graham seems to have strayed from the Gospel. I say this because he has made it very clear in his writings and his public statements that he believes the Catholic Church is a true expression of Christianity.2

This is unfortunate because his endorsement of Catholicism has made many Catholics feel comfortable and safe in their faith. And although I am sure there are some Catholics who have truly placed their faith in Jesus, the vast majority have not because the Catholic Church has always taught salvation by works — which makes the religion of Catholicism a false form of Christianity.3


In the final Part 7 of this series "Are there many roads to God?", we'll get to the bottom line in answering this much asked question.


Notes

1) Two video interviews with Dr. Jeffress have been published as a video album by Lamb & Lion Ministries. The album is titled, "Absolute Truth" and can be ordered from our Online Resource Center.

2) John Ashbrook, "Billy Graham's Catholic Connection". This is just one of many examinations on the Internet of Graham's endorsement of Catholicism. There are also video interviews of him endorsing the Catholic faith.

3) Graham takes this position because he says "Catholics believe in Jesus." But, again, do they simply believe he existed (as do Muslims), or do they believe in the sense of trusting Him, and Him alone, for their salvation? If their trust is truly in Jesus, then why are they instructed to pray to Mary? A great source for unbiblical Catholic beliefs is pro-gospel.org/x2.

13 comments:

Laura said...

In my humble but accurate opinion (ha), I think this whole problem goes back to a very lopsided view of what Christianity really is.

Churches focus almost exclusively on forgiveness of sins in regard to salvation; so much so that they never get to other vital aspects of being born again. Consider what we tell people when we witness to them--"you need your sins forgiven" Right? But the real problem is that they have a dead-to-God spirit, and no amount of forgiveness will fix that.

Think for a moment of someone who has died of cancer. To bring him back to health, what does he need? Well, if you just cure him of the cancer, he's still dead. And if you just bring him back to life, he'll just die again from cancer. That, in a nutshell, is unregenerate man's problem: He's a walking dead man (i.e., he has a dead-to-God spirit) AND he has a terminal illness (sin). Both must be fixed in order for him to be a Christian!

So Christianity isn't just getting your sins forgiven and putting your faith in God (although that's how it was explained to most of us and somehow we became born-again). It certainly INCLUDES those things, but it's so much more: It's dying and being born again as a brand new person (with a spirit that is alive to God)!

But how often do you hear THAT discussed in church or included in witnessing tracks these days?

Billy said...

Laura,

I agree. You can't just stop at the initial salvation.

I'll add that (to me) it seems churches have no problem preaching about money (mainly "it's bad for you so give it to us") and passing the collection plate. That is what they seem to do best to me.

Expected Imminently said...

Again I totally agree with Dr Reagan on every aspect of this latest article, including B.G.

I don't have the energy at present for getting into a debate, but I would like to add that there is such a lot of confusion between what constitutes the initial act of Salvation i.e. being Justified by Christ while confusing JUSTIFICATION with SANCTIFICATION which is the on going walk as a believer once they are saved/justified.

Laura said...

Hmmm . . . maybe what I said was misinterpreted, so I'll try again: There's more to salvation than just forgiveness. Both forgiveness and regeneration (i.e., moving from a dead-to-God state to a state of being alive to God in our spirits) is ALL part of the initial salvation package. It happens at once--at the moment of salvation.

Although we ARE PRESENTLY holy and righteous and just and completely forgiven and acceptable and accepted because of our newly created spirits (you know, the believer as a "new creation"?), we don't always act that way.

Our SOULS (psyche = mind, will, and emotions) are still catching up with these truths, and that's what sanctification is--learning to "life out" at the soul level who we ALREADY ARE at the spirit level (by depending on Christ, who is our LIFE, to do it through us)!

Expected Imminently said...

Nathan and Crew

I have been wondering if any of you saw the video clip concerning a retired U.S. military man Vallely talking about the threatened attack against Israel? It is dated 6th May - in case you haven't viewed this 'must see', here is the link.

http://www.pjtv.com/v/3505

I would like to have your reaction.

Nathan Jones said...

Thanks for the link to the interview with the general, E.I.! I'd read a summary article, but it was good to see the interview in entirety.

My first reaction was, "Why does the general keep calling the Russians the Soviets?" But, once I got past that, my second reaction was rather no reaction at all. He summed up well a lot of news reports that have been floating around the last few weeks. There is no doubt, beyond God's direct intervention there will be a massive war in the Middle East within the next few weeks, and it will change the world structures substantially. It will also cause a domino effect of prophetic occurances.

Rodney made a good point on our Facebook group (click the "F" icon above), that we should be watching with a curious eye the 9th of Av (July/August month). I looked it up and the day falls on the Jewish Year 5770: sunset July 19, 2010 - nightfall July 20, 2010.

Expected Imminently said...

Nathan
Aaaw! Pop went my bubble - I was SO excited as he sounded so 'official'. Jan Markell said she thought him worth listening to.

Certainly the 9th of Av is well and truly marked on my calendar.

Wow! I didn’t realise I could read your Facebook comments without doing complicated, scary things to join! Nice one!:D

Shutterbug said...

I'm missing something I guess.

Why is your bubble popped Expected?

Expected Imminently said...

Shutterbug
My excitement 'bubble'. Nathan popped it by his 'oh that's old news' remark!

I was running around (well limping) saying things like 'this it IT, its official, its near, He's coming, I'm going, whoopee no no dusting, ironing --" All the while getting upset for Israel,the children and the awful casualty rate when God 'sticks it to em' (Brit speak, it's not rude).

Nice to meet you Shutterbug.
Hug x

Bud said...

Hi everyone,I am new to this site and have been a born again christian since april 2009.I have been watching Mr.Reagan on TV for awhile and enjoy his knowledge of the scipture.
I have a strong desire to fellowship with other christians and hope that the regulars on here will accept my thoughts and opinions with the love of our savior Christ Jesus.
Laura,I agree with your view on christianity,I would like to add to it by saying,In my opinion,the most important thing a christian should do is to separate themselves from the World and live our lives in Christ,ALWAYS,not just on sunday.
A believer cannot live in the world an in christ together.

Shutterbug said...

Thanks Expected. I guess I should have introduced myself. I read you people every day and feel like I know everyone..lol..so I just spoke (wrote) out. It's always interesting here. I'm a Christian also, but you probably wont hear a lot from me. I'm more of a lurker. :)

Cynthia

DrNofog said...

Lurking...?
With a camera?!?
Don't they have a word for that that starts with a 'v'?
;-D

LOL! just kidding!

Shutterbug said...

Ahh, yes...kinda gave myself away didn't I, Dr.? You're on the ball!!
:)