John Pearrell

Over the last few weeks we have been examining the claim of Christian Scriptures that there is only one way to God. That doesn’t mean we are intolerant of other views, it simply means that we believe that other views are wrong. I am not intolerant of the person who thinks two plus two equals five, but I don’t believe they are right either. Same thing here. Peter, convinced of who Jesus said He was because He saw (not heard about, not believed, but experienced with his eyes firsthand) the resurrected Christ said, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12, NIV). Pretty exclusive.

The first question people raise whenever this issue is broached is, “What about the innocent native in Africa (or some other remote area) who has never heard of Jesus? What will happen to them?”

The easy answer is the innocent native anywhere who has not heard of Christ, will die and go to heaven. The problem, however, with this common question is a common misconception. The misconception is that there are people somewhere who are innocent! So if you find an innocent person (someone who has never done anything wrong), surely that person will go to heaven! The problem is, we know there is no living human who fits that criteria. The Apostle Paul wrote, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23, NIV). Then in another place he puts our common misconception into proper perspective when he writes, “For Moses wrote that if a person could be perfectly good and hold out against temptation all his life and never sin once, only then could he be pardoned and saved” (Romans 10:5, The Living Bible). Bottom line: we all need a Savior and the only religion in the world that offers us a savior is Christianity. Consider that.

Back to our question (which is usually an argument more than it is a legitimate question). If Jesus is the only way to God, what about those who haven’t heard about His sacrifice? Let me ask you a question, “Don’t you think God has that covered?” Here’s what the Apostle John wrote, “God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16–17, NCV).

Going back to our cave illustration that we began this series with, “God has made a way out.” If you continue to read John 3 to the next verse 18, it talks about those who do not believe being already condemned. Don’t let that throw you, just realize it for what it is. They are condemned not because they haven’t heard but because they are in the cave and have not accepted the way out!

Here’s what I know, God who loves us, makes a way for everyone who is serious about Him to find Him. The prophet Jeremiah wrote, “If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” (Jeremiah 29:13, NLT).

I can tell you story after story where this is true. In the remotest places of earth, in sometimes the strangest ways, people who have been truly seeking God are brought face to face with Jesus! Why is that? Because He is the only way to the Father. Don’t sacrifice truth on the altar of a false idea of tolerance.

Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church in Covington. For more information, visit www.gatewaycommunity.org or email john.pearrell@gatewaycommunity.org.

Editor

I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.