The Only ‘Way’ [v253]

MARCH 2020

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NOTE: CORONAVIRUS HEALTH CRISIS
In response to this Coronavirus pandemic, may everyone follow the advice of public health experts by carrying out good personal hygiene, proper ‘social distancing’, and giving help and care to those in need, especially those who are vulnerable and at higher risk.

May the doctors and nurse that are treating people not get the virus, and the medical researchers develop a vaccine quickly. Give wisdom to our world leaders to make appropriate decisions. May there be ‘comfort’ for all those impacted by the Coronavirus.

May this pandemic be short-lived so we can get back to ‘normal’ life!

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Especially in America—with personal freedom and individuality being almost ‘sacred’—when one says to you that there is only ONE ‘WAY’ to do something or to believe, that person will, most likely, ‘bristle’ at your arrogance, and tell you that you are WAY WRONG.

The thing is, there are many things in this world that are ‘binary’ in nature—either one way or another. Mathematics is probably the first example that comes to mind: 2 + 2 = 4. It’s not 5; it’s not 3; it’s not even 4.0000001. An electric switch is either “on” or “off” (a dimmer switch is either “off” or ‘partially’ “on”, but it is still “on”). Turning left and turning right are mutually exclusive (you can’t do both at the same time). When one flips a coin—and it lands on its side—it will either be heads or tails (it can’t be both at the same time). There is only one ‘solution’.

A final example—from my ‘world’ of computer graphics—is that the ‘core’ of the computer is “binary,” which means its ‘state’ is either “1” or “0”. The computer is built of trillions of transistors (‘switches’) that can ONLY be “on” or “off” (connected or not connected). All of these examples are very ‘EXCLUSIVE’!

[ Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xpk67YzOn5w ].

 

Scientifically—and based on the principle of logic—these things are so because of something called the “Law of Non-Contradiction,” which states that contradictory propositions cannot both be true in the same sense at the same time (e.g. “A is B” and “A is not B” are mutually exclusive).

 

EXCLUSIVISM
To me, telling someone that there is ONE ‘WAY’ for something has to do with TRUTH. Truth, by definition, IS ‘exclusive’. It’s either true or false—there’s no ‘in-between’.

Now, everything cannot be true. If everything is true, then nothing is false. If nothing is false then it would also be true to say everything is false. We cannot have it both ways! One should not be surprised at the claims of exclusivity. The reality is that even those who deny the exclusivity of truth, in effect, exclude those who do not deny it. The truth quickly ‘emerges’.

You can definitely subscribe to something that may be true because the claim that you’re making corresponds with reality, but you can’t say it’s true simply because it’s something that you claim.

For example, religiously, you can claim atheism is correct and someone else can claim theism is correct, but since these are conflicting truth claims, either one of them is correct or both are incorrect.

 

Exclusivism deals with two different kinds of claims: one is a claim is “subjective” truth (preference), that is about my feelings (I think deep-dish pizza is the best) and “objective” truth, which deals with ‘science’, proven facts, and reality.

If you think it through as it relates to objective facts, no matter how ‘ardent’ your belief is and no matter how ‘sincere’ your belief is, you cannot, by your simple belief, change objective reality.

 

Here’s an illustration that might help here. Let’s say you want to go scuba diving. The ‘objective’ fact is that the human body is not designed to be able to breathe underwater. Your lungs need oxygen when you are at depth.

However, let’s say that I am going to give you a few options to choose from (just like in the potato chip aisle, where you can pick whatever flavor you would like). Say that I will put into your tank a few different things. In one tank there is tear gas. In another, there’s iced tea, In the third one, there’s hand soap. Finally, the last one has oxygen in it.

I say, “Isn’t it great of me to give you some choices about how you go scuba diving?” I’m thinking you would say, “No! I don’t want a choice. I actually would like to have whatever is going to actually ‘solve the problem’ of having access to oxygen underwater. I want what is going to be able to keep me alive down there, and then be able to help me get back topside safely!”

Being able to breathe underwater is an ‘objective’ reality. You DON’T want a lot of options. As a matter of fact, you only want ONE ‘OPTION’—the option that’s going to work, and keep you ALIVE!

You may say that exclusive claims are ‘arrogant’, but they are not necessarily so. Suppose a researcher claims to have discovered a cure for AIDS. Is that necessarily arrogant? There are two possibilities: One is that she announces the breakthrough in a manner that is arrogant—putting down the work of other researchers, highlighting her own brilliance, and so on. This would be unpleasant, but it would still not affect the second issue: The question of whether she was actually correct in claiming to have found a cure for AIDS. The ‘claim’ itself is neither arrogant nor humble. Those categories are irrelevant. The only appropriate question is whether the claim is true or not.

 

Exclusive claims are not necessarily ’bad’ if one acts upon the evidence to pursue truth. Let me present to you an analogy.

Doctors claim Isoniazid is the ‘ONLY’ cure for Tuberculosis. That’s a bold claim. Are they being narrow-minded? What if their claim is simply true? Isn’t it more important to investigate the claim than dismiss it out of hand because you think it’s exclusive?

The baby girl of some friends of mine developed jaundice shortly after her birth—which is a liver disorder that caused her skin and the whites of her eyes to turn yellow. The pediatrician told them that this is a potentially devastating disease, but it can be easily treated. He said that all they had to do was put the baby under a special light for a while, which would stimulate her liver properly, and she would be all right.

Now, the parents could have said, “That sounds too easy. How about instead if we scrubbed her with soap and dipped her in bleach? If we worked hard enough, I’m sure we could get her normal coloring back.”

But the doctor would have said, “No, there’s only ONE WAY to handle this! Trust me! I’ve seen hundreds of these kinds of cases, and after the parents did what I said, everything worked out fine.”

Again, these parents could have then replied, “That just sounds too exclusive. We would like another way to do this.” The doctor would probably throw up his hands in frustration.

 

RELATIVISM
One of the “new” ideas today is relativism. It has contributed much to the confusion of our times. It is the idea that all truth is relative—in other words, there is no absolute truth. Truth changes according to the circumstances of the person perceiving it.

However, the philosophy suffers from a paradox. If one says, “all truth is relative” one must admit that one is stating a relative truth, not an absolute truth. This means that there must be situations in which the statement is not true. So, there must be situations in which some truth is absolute. This makes the statement self-contradictory!

To explain: it would be paradoxical to say, “All truth is relative and no truth is absolute.” That is stating as absolute truth that there can be no absolute truth. Relativism states that every person should be allowed to ‘make up’ their own morality and live by their own set of standards of what they think is right and wrong. So essentially, relativism, as a way of thinking, actually ends up nullifying the concept of justice and fairness.

 

Justice and fairness are concepts that dictate that comparable treatment be given to different people based on the common standard of what’s right. Justice and fairness dictate how people should act. How they are obliged to act. How they ought to act. All of those are words that have no meaning in the context of relativism, because relativism says that there are no standards that are absolute for all people, such that they ought to and are obliged to act in a particular way. Our notion of justice and fairness is founded on the idea that there are concepts that apply to everyone.

So, if we believe that everyone ought to ‘make up’ their own morality and live by that, then we cannot in the next moment’ take that back and argue that people ought to be just and fair in the way they treat other people—because justice and fairness are notions that are the content of someone else’s particular morality. Relativism says that you cannot take that content and make it incumbent on some other person. If you do you violate relativism!

 

So, if the fundamental truth of the matter is that all truths are equally good and, that each person ought to be allowed to do what they want according to their own point of view then, you have lost the ‘foundation’ for having any meaningful discussion about truth.

If relativism is true, then truth discussions become incoherent.

 

The thing is, if we encourage people to live out relativism consistently, a person who does whatever he likes, whenever he likes, without regard to other people’s concerns and well-being, what we ‘produce’ is a sociopathic individual. This demonstrates how bankrupt relativism really is.

Some people say that, “that may be true for you, but it’s not true for me.” Well, Christian apologist Fran Turek says in response to that, “Is that true for everybody? Because if ‘true for you but not for me’ is true for everybody, then ‘true for you and not for me’ can’t be true—because it’s true of everybody. It’s a self-defeating statement.”

Yes, that statement can give some people intellectual ‘constipation’, so here’s an easier way to think about it. Try going to your bank and say to the bank teller that you would like to withdraw, let’s say, a million dollars out of your account. The teller then brings your account on her terminal and says that your account only has $1,000 in it. But, you say, “That may be true for you, but it’s not true for me.”

Now saying this is NOT going to change the fact that there is only $1,000 in the account, and the teller WILL NOT give you a million dollars! It is TRUE for all people, in all times, and in all places when referring to your bank account at that time, that it is TRUE that you only have $1,000 in it!

Saying it is “true for you, but not for me” may sound nice and ‘tolerant’—a ‘mantra’ of our culture today—BUT it’s logically self-defeating and just doesn’t ‘work’. Truth corresponds to reality!

 

WHAT IS TRUTH?
There are two kinds of truth. One depends on our opinion of things. This is called “subjective” truth. The other depends on the way the world actually is. This is called “objective” truth. The way we understand truth impacts every aspect of our lives. It’s foundational to reality itself.

So, how can we know that the truth is ‘out there’ to be known? Well, ‘real’ truth is an ‘objective’ feature of the world we live in.

 

SUBJECTIVE TRUTH
When I say strawberry ice cream is the best kind of ice cream, that statement is true, for me. It’s my opinion. However, my opinion may be completely different than yours (you may say chocolate is the best). We are both subjects making observations about our world. Our observations about which flavor of ice cream says nothing about the ‘nature’ of ice cream itself. They may be true statements, but they are only statements about us and our preferences. That’s why it’s called “subjective” truth.

Unfortunately, most people treat all truth the same way they treat their ice cream preferences. They will say things like, “Well, that may be true for you, but it’s not for me.” Now, while that’s a perfectly valid statement when it comes to our favorite kinds of ice cream, it’s WHOLLY INADEQUATE when it comes to our assessment of the ‘nature’ of reality. (Like the guy in the bank).

 

OBJECTIVE TRUTH
Making claims regarding the nature of reality requires that we recognize a different kind of truth. It’s called “objective” truth, because it says something about objects ‘outside’ of us. Objective things do not just exist ‘inside’ our heads, like preferences do. They are REAL ‘FEATURES’ of the real world.

For instance, if I say the Earth revolves around the Sun, I am making a statement about the nature of the Earth-Sun relationship. I am making an objective fact. My opinion about it doesn’t matter, and neither does yours. The only way to determine if the statement is true is to look at the objects themselves and see if what I say about them matches the way they REALLY ARE. If it does match, I have made a true statement.

Now, think of an objective truth like gravity. You don’t have to ‘believe’ in gravity, but saying you don’t believe in gravity doesn’t allow you to step off tall buildings without consequence! Gravity is an ‘objective’ reality. It doesn’t matter if you believe in it or not. Objective truth is no different.

 

‘ALIGNMENT’ WITH THE TRUTH
We really can’t escape the truth. Even someone who says, “There is no truth!” is making a truth claim about the world. They are saying that, “there is no truth” IS a true statement! Crazy, huh?

 

Living in the real world requires that we recognize this definition of truth. We rely on it to keep us safe (and sane), and we do it all the time!

If you’re about to step out into the street, you look both ways for a reason. You want to know the truth about whether a car is coming and may run you over. Knowing true things means properly aligning yourself with reality. If you believe something false about the world—if you deny reality—we have a word for that. It’s called being “deluded” and it will quickly get you in trouble!

False beliefs lead us to act in defiance of the way the world actually works. But the answers to life’s most important questions depend on us finding the truth.

 

Now, whatever belief system you may hold should reflect the way the world actually is, and not be because it “works for me.” It must offer a reasonable explanation for the origin and nature of the world and reality.

 

Religiously speaking, Christianity portends to ‘corresponds’ to reality. More than any other religion, it makes sense of the world. A popular Christian apologist, C.S. Lewis, put it this way: “I believe in Christianity as I believe the Sun has risen; not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

 

In the Bible, a guy named Pontius Pilate was the Governor of the Roman province of Judea in Jesus’ time, serving under Emperor Tiberius, and is best known today for being the official who presided over the trial of Jesus.

As far as Pilate was concerned Jesus had done nothing worthy of death. But that was only ‘his’ truth. The Jews were perceiving things from another position. They shouted, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” [ John 19:15 ]. That was ‘their’ truth.

So, when Pilate heard Jesus speak of “truth”, he asked, “What is truth?” It wasn’t an inquiry. He didn’t wait for an answer. He said it to justify himself. He went out to the mob, pronounced Jesus innocent, then had him flogged and handed over for crucifixion.

Pilate apparently went along with the idea that truth is relative. For him, it was “truth” that Jesus was innocent, but for the Jews, it was “truth” that Jesus was guilty. So Pilate in all “fairness” washed his hands and let the Jews follow their truth.

Pilate capitulated, because he thought truth was changeable, relative, and when it was all boiled down, “What is truth?” anyway.

[ Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quhgfEUq834 ].

 

So, you can see that this notion that there is no universal truth is very dangerous. If all truth changes from person to person and from situation to situation, there is no firm ground, no reference point. There’s a valid contradiction for everything. IT would breed chaos!

 

TRUTH THEORIES
Historically, there have been three dominant theories of truth put forth by philosophers: the “pragmatic” theory; the “coherence” theory, and the “correspondence” theory.

First, there is the “pragmatic” theory of truth: truth is what works. Three major problems with this view: The view seems counterintuitive; it is self-defeating, and it implies relativism.

Second, there is the “coherence” theory of truth: truth is logical consistency (coherence) among a set of beliefs an individual holds. Three major problems with this view are as follows: It is possible for two different people to hold contradictory beliefs yet for both beliefs to be “true” as long as these beliefs cohere with each individual’s web of belief respectively; It also implies relativism, and it too seems counterintuitive.

Finally, there is the “correspondence” theory of truth: truth is when an idea, belief, or statement matches (or corresponds with) the way the world actually is (reality).

This may rightly be labeled the “common sense” view of truth since it is the view we all presuppose in our daily actions and speech; i.e., everyone assumes the correspondence theory of truth when reading a medicine label or dialing a phone number.

The dialectical argument asserts that those who deny the correspondence theory of truth or present alternative theories actually presuppose the very thing they reject, showing the self-defeating nature and incoherence of their alternative view.

Those who reject the correspondence theory either take their own utterances to be true in the correspondence sense or they do not. If the former, then those utterances are self-defeating. If the latter, there is no reason to accept them, because one cannot take their utterances to be true.

In short, denying the correspondence theory of truth is an implicit admission that one’s view should not be taken seriously, for only a view that matches the way things really are is worthy of our attention and belief. Contrary to the postmodern adage, truth is not “stranger than it used to be.” Rather, truth is what we have taken it to be all along, what we assume it to be every day.

For example, the Christian belief in the resurrection is not true simply because it works for us (the pragmatic view) nor because it is consistent with our web of Christian belief (the coherence view). The Christian belief in the resurrection of Christ is true because it is an objective fact of history that corresponds with reality! Indeed, how could the early Christians point to the empty tomb as verifiable evidence of the resurrection unless, in fact, the tomb was empty?

Therefore, I believe that the correspondence view of truth is not simply one of many options, it is the ‘only’ and logically grounded view of truth available and allowable.

 

When you get right down to it, the problem of truth IS NOT intellectual, IT’S ‘VOLITIONAL’. People don’t want it to be true, because it would mean that they might have to change something they don’t want to change! They might have to start doing something they don’t want to start doing, or stop doing something they don’t want to stop. It’s the ‘elephant’ in the ‘room’. It’s all about morality and accountability. (And if you ‘drill down’ further, much of it has to do with sex—a very ‘powerful’ motivation!).

French mathematician and theologian Blaise Pascal said it well: “People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive.”

 

So then, how does truth relate to religion? There are hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of religions in the world. Have you ever wondered which one is the right one?

 

RELIGIOUS PLURALISM
Some persons, of course, say that none of the religions are right, but even that viewpoint is a ‘religion’ of sorts which its proponents say that they are right about!

A more popular opinion is that all religions lead to God. Jesus is one way, Buddha is one way, and Mohammad is yet another way (and so on). In other words, it doesn’t really matter which ‘road’ you take, for they all lead to the top of the mountain’ where God ‘resides’. This is called “pluralism.”

 

Religious pluralism says that there are lots of religions to choose from (a plurality of views) coupled with the conviction that we ought to live in peace with people who disagree with our own convictions. The view is that all religions are each on their own terms legitimate roads to God.

According to this view, God has somehow ordained various paths for various people in diverse cultures with diverse beliefs. Therefore, no one is within their rights to say that their religion is better than anyone else’s. “God is too big to fit into one religion,” the bumper sticker instructs us. The Almighty is much larger than our limited theological categories. Jesus may be the ‘path’ for Christians, but others have legitimate paths of their own.

Author and university dean Alan Race in his book, “Christians and Religious Pluralism,” defined pluralism as all religions being equally beneficial, with no single religion dominating. Perfectly politically correct. No one gets offended. Everyone is satisfied—except me. I want to know what is ‘TRUE’.

 

One way religious pluralists like to argue their point is through the well worn ‘parable’ of blind men touching different parts of an elephant.

In the children’s book, “The Blind Men and the Elephant,” Lillian Quigley retells the ancient fable of six blind men who visit the palace of a Rajah, and encounter an elephant for the first time. As each touches the animal with his hands, they announce their discoveries.

The first blind man put out his hand and touches the side of the elephant. “How smooth! An elephant is like a wall.” The second blind man puts out his hand and touches the trunk of the elephant. “How round! An elephant is like a snake.” The third blind man puts out his hand and touches the tusk of the elephant. “How sharp! An elephant is like a spear.” The fourth blind man puts out his hand and touches the leg of the elephant. “How tall! An elephant is like a tree.” The fifth blind man reaches out his hand and touches the ear of the elephant. “How wide! An elephant is like a fan.” The sixth blind man puts out his hand and touches the tail of the elephant. “How thin! An elephant is like a rope.”

An argument ensues, each blind man thinking his own perceptions of the elephant is the correct one. The Rajah, awakened by the commotion, calls out from the balcony of his palace. “The elephant is a big animal,” he says. “Each man touched only one part. You must put all the parts together to find out what an elephant is like.”

Enlightened by the Rajah’s wisdom, the blind men reach an agreement. “Each one of us knows only a part. To find out the whole truth we must put all the parts together.” The moral of the story is that they are all correct because they each can only grasp part of the big picture.

This fable is often used to illustrate the nature of religious pluralism, instructing us that every faith represents just one part of a larger truth about God. Each religious tradition possesses a piece of the truth, eventually leading its adherents to God by its own unique route. Devotees of Eastern religions are fond of using the parable in this way.

The ‘PROBLEM’ with the parable, though, is that it presumes that Christians reject pluralism because they lack exposure to other beliefs, much like the blind men erred because each explored only a part of the elephant and not the whole animal. Had they searched more completely, they would have discovered their error. The parable posits that Christians, then, are simply uninformed about the bigger picture.

However, this is not the case. Christians reject pluralism, in part, because defining elements of different religions contradict each other. For example, Judaism teaches Jesus is not the Messiah though Christianity teaches He is. Jesus either is the Messiah or He is not. Both religions can’t be right. (Remember the “Law of Non-Contradiction”?). One or the other is mistaken on one of its core, defining doctrines. The notion that Christianity and Judaism are somehow equally true is contradictory, like square circles.

 

New Testament Scholar Michael J. Kruger succinctly points out another ’issue’ with the elephant analogy: That the person using the analogy is assuming that they themselves are not blind! The person using the analogy is basically saying, “Let me tell you how all religions really work.” But that is an enormous, and ‘arrogant’ claim, that requires near-omniscient knowledge. How would this person know how all religions work? And why should this person be exempt from the very analogy they just gave?

Kruger demonstrates that the arrogant ones are actually the people who call Christians arrogant!

They don’t like it when Christians say there’s only one way, but they are ultimately saying that their way is the only way. Isn’t that arrogant?

They’re guilty of the exact same thing they condemn others of doing because they believe that ‘they’ are right when they say it’s wrong for someone to think they are right and others are wrong.

So it makes much more sense to ask, “What is the truth?” And when it comes to world religions, they can’t all be true because they make competing truth claims.

 

Another ‘issue’ with this parable is that is told from the perspective of the parable ‘teller’, Rajah, who, evidently, can see the whole ‘picture’. Rajah has an ‘objective’ viewpoint. So, once one has an objective viewpoint, you can really ‘see’ the truth.

So, to me, the moral of the story is taken from the hymn “Amazing Grace”—“Once I was blind, but now I see.” So, if one takes off their ‘blindfold’ for truth, they will then be able to see it!

So, truth is NOT ‘relative’ to the individual, otherwise, we wouldn’t know the blind men were mistaken. We now have an ‘objective’ viewpoint.

If my point is still unclear, consider this. What if the elephant in the parable were a miniature, so small one of the blind men could completely encompass it in his hand? If another then claimed, “The elephant is bigger than a house,” the first would be right to disagree. An elephant cannot be small enough to fit into one’s hand and also as big as a house at the same time.

The bottom line is that the pluralist believes everyone is ‘blind’ BUT HIM! That they are the only ones that have objective truth. There is NO EVIDENCE for that. It is true that all religions have a ‘kernel’ of truth in each one of them, but since they teach different things, based on the Law of Non-Contradiction, they all CANNOT be true!

 

Now, even if one doesn’t know all the ‘facts’ about all the religions, one can look at the differences. Firsts off, what happens when we die? Some religions promote Heaven and Hell. Others teach reincarnation. For still others, there is no conscious afterlife at all, only self-extinction. Indeed, it’s possible all of these options are false, but they CANNOT all be true.

Contradictory claims about fundamental beliefs cannot be simultaneously true. (Remember the “Law of Non-Contradiction”?). Consequently, religious pluralism ‘self-destructs’.

I guess someone could respond that from God’s perspective the ‘details’ don’t matter. He is satisfied with any sincere religious effort. But how do they know this? This claim is an article of faith, a ‘leap’ of faith, that turns out to be CONTRARY to the specific teachings of just about every religion, especially Christianity.

 

In addition to all this, ideological pluralism as a universal truth claim itself is a ‘VIOLATION’ of its own ideological premise! As Theologian Lesslie Newbigin has said, it is, of course, a self-contradictory belief, since one cannot assert that ultimate reality is unknowable without knowing what ultimate reality is!

Secondly, we would want to affirm that while ultimate and metaphysical reality may not be knowable by the apparatus of modern science and autonomous rationalism, this is not to say that there is no other apparatus that makes perfect sense of the appearance of things.

 

We speak of human love and romance as a “fact” that has the power to transcend personal preference and personal flourishing even (as in the case of a person giving their life for someone they “love”), and this is rendered a reasonable conclusion based on the appearance of things vis-à-vis our participation in human relationships. IN short, is there a kind of “epistemology of participation” wherein we come to know a thing by means of participating in it, that is “reasonable” if not something we can “reason” by means of the scientific method or some irrefutable syllogism? (c.f. “How can I believe?”)

Moreover, what is also new is the philosophical context of “post-modern” pluralism, which as theologian Lesslie Newbigin has explained, “denies the possibility of making any universally justifiable truth-claims on ANY MATTER, whether religious or otherwise. It is this development which gives a distinctively new character to the contemporary debate about religious pluralism.”

Ideological pluralism espoused by post-modernism is at its core fundamentally nihilistic. Nietzsche rightly foresaw the inevitable “post-modern” conclusion that ultimate truth is unknowable, which then opened the ‘door’ to philosophical pluralism. Since there is no justification for holding to an ultimate truth, everyone is entitled to an opinion, one that is born out of a person’s own experiential preference.

 

For me, the question really is, “Where does the evidence lead?” I’m of the belief that when it comes to evidence and reasons for belief, Christianity suffers from an embarrassment of riches. Other religions and worldviews simply fall short…WAY short. Is that arrogant?

In “Evidence That Demands A Verdict,” Christian apologist Josh McDowell states that “The Old Testament contains over 300 references to the Messiah that were fulfilled in Jesus.” He believes this “establishes the fact of God, authenticates the deity of Jesus, and [proves] the inspiration of the Bible.”

He lists 61 specific messianic prophecies and shows how they were fulfilled hundreds of years after they were spoken. Then he quotes from Peter Stoner’s book, “Science Speaks,” which says that according to scientifically accepted laws of probability, it is IMPOSSIBLE for all of these prophesies to be fulfilled in one person.

To give you an idea of how ‘improbable’ the accuracy of the Bible really is, Peter Stoner determined that “the chance that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled all eight prophecies is 1 in 10 to the 17th power.” (That would be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000).

In order to help you comprehend this staggering probability, Stoner gave an illustration of how small of a probability this really is:

If you piled silver dollars two feet thick over the entire state of Texas, then took one silver dollar and put a red “X” on it, randomly threw it out into the pile, and then sent a blind-folded person to walk around the state and, on the first try, pick out the correct one. Well, that’s the probability for only the EIGHT prophecies. Totally unthinkable, right?

[ Note: As a searching skeptic, I read both volumes of Josh McDowell’s “Evidence That Demands a Verdict” when my business partner, Bob Hart, gave them to me to read. So, I said to myself, “Sure, I’ll read these, and then PROVE you wrong.” Well, they just proved I WAS WRONG!) ]

 

Now, when you examine the arguments for religious pluralism, you find that some of them are textbook examples of logical fallacies. For example, “Anyone who believes that Christianity is true and every other view is wrong is arrogant. Therefore, Christianity is false.”

This is a logical fallacy called an “ad hominem” argument, trying to show someone’s view is false by attacking his personal character. This is a logical fallacy because the truth of a view is independent of the character of the person who holds it.

For example, if an arrogant person discovered the cure for cancer, the fact that he’s egotistical would not mean his claim was false. You wouldn’t refuse treatment just because he was conceited.

Moreover, this objection is a double-edged sword. The pluralist also believes that his view is true and that everyone else is wrong. Therefore, if you’re arrogant for holding to a view which many others disagree with, then the pluralist himself would be guilty of arrogance.

Here is another pluralist argument: “Religions are culturally relative. If you had been born in Pakistan, you’d likely be a Muslim. But if you’d been born in Ireland, you’d probably be a Catholic. Because religious beliefs are culturally relative, they are not objectively true.” This is an example of the “genetic fallacy,” trying to invalidate a view by showing how a person came to hold the view.

This is a fallacy because the truth of a view is independent of how a person came to believe it. For example, If you had been born in ancient Greece, you would have believed that the sun goes around the earth. Does that make your current belief that the earth goes around the sun false or unjustified? No!

 

Christians are often criticized for claiming that Jesus is the only way to God. After all, there are billions of non-Christians in the world. Are we really so narrow-minded and bigoted that we think these people will be excluded from heaven just because they happened to be born in the wrong country or have been taught the wrong religion?

Rabbi Schmuley Boteach summed up the feelings of many pluralists when he said, “I am absolutely against any religion that says that one faith is superior to another. I don’t see how that is anything different than spiritual racism. It’s a way of saying that we are closer to God than you, and that’s what leads to hatred.”

Those who make such objections have a point. If Jesus is merely one more religious teacher out of countless others, then His claim would be absurd. How can one person have a monopoly on the truth or proclaim His “way” as the only way to God? After all, humans are finite and fallible, while God is infinitely greater than our small minds can comprehend.

BUT, if in fact, Jesus is God Himself, that puts His claim on an entirely different ‘level’. Jesus didn’t say that He merely speaks the truth, He claims to BE THE ‘EMBODIMENT’ of Truth. He tells us He is the ‘SOURCE’ of life itself. He doesn’t say He is ‘one’ pathway to God among many, but asserts He is THE ONLY ‘WAY’ to God!

Jesus made this claim to some of the most religious people on earth at that time. He told them that, “the very Scriptures testify about Me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:39-40).

On the same evening when Jesus made the claim, “No one comes to the Father except through me,” he added, “If you really know Me, you will know My Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him” [ John 14:6-7 ].

Jesus was not displaying arrogance. He simply stated the truth.

 

“PARTICULARISM” (CHRISTIANITY’S EXCLUSIVE CLAIM)
The claim that Christianity is the ONLY ‘WAY’ to God rubs a lot of people the wrong way—an especially unpopular stance in a culture based on freedom of choice. However, I think that stems from a misunderstanding of the kind of claim that it is.

Many people treat religious claims like preference claims. In the same way, some people prefer strawberry ice cream to chocolate ice cream, some people prefer Christianity over some other religion. In the same way, it wouldn’t make any sense to say that chocolate ice cream is the one, ‘true’ flavor of ice cream.

But religion isn’t like ice cream, it’s more like ‘insulin’. When it comes to Type 1 juvenile diabetes, it doesn’t matter if you like it or not. The truth of the matter is that insulin controls diabetes. There is a ‘correspondence’ to reality.

 

It so happens that there are some objections to this doctrine, including claims that it is “arrogant,” “prideful,” “despicable,” “dangerous,” or “just plain unfair!” This is as scandalous today as it was 2,000 years ago.

For a long time, people have tried to harmonize the various religions of the world, but there are drastic and irreconcilable differences between Christianity and other belief systems.

Essentially, every other religion I’ve ever read about is based on people doing something—through struggling and striving—to somehow ‘EARN’ the favor of God. They say people have to use a Tibetan prayer wheel, go on pilgrimages, give alms to the poor, avoid eating certain foods, pray in a specified way, or go through a series of reincarnations, etc. They are the attempts of people to reach out to God.

However, JESUS TAUGHT THE OPPOSITE of what other religions teach. He said nobody CAN DO ANYTHING to merit Heaven, so we might as well give up trying!

Other religions are spelled “D-O,” because they teach that people have to do a bunch of religious rituals to try to please God. But, Christianity is spelled “D-O-N-E” because Christ has done it all on the Cross—and we just need to ‘receive’ Him.

 

This distinction is starkly demonstrated by comparing a parable taught by Jesus with a similar story found in Buddhist literature. Both stories involve sons who became rebellious and left home, but who then saw the error of their ways and decided to go back home and be reconciled with their families.

In the Buddhist story, the errant son is required to work off the penalty for his past misdeeds by spending years in servitude. However, the Christian parable (the “Prodigal Son”) ends with the repentant son being warmly welcomed home by his loving father, and being given undeserved grace and forgiveness (and a party!).

 

Religious professor Gavin D’Costa says pluralists have two main critiques of particularists: People of other religions are good and loving, and that they do not know their own Scriptures well enough.

It is worth noting that D’Costa argued persuasively that logically, pluralism can no longer be considered a ‘category’ when it makes a ‘declarative’ truth claim—just becomes another form of particularism!

 

Although Christians do not cherish religious pluralism, they must tolerate it. Christianity insists on tolerance. By tolerance, I mean allowing other people to hold and defend their own religious convictions. I do not mean that everyone has to agree with everyone else. That would not be tolerance, because the word itself assumes disagreement. Tolerance does not mean the Christian must endorse another’s worldview. Christianity respects human freedom and teaches that faith in God is a ‘gift’ of God’s Spirit (Ephesians 2:8-9).

 

There is a certain amount of appeal of ‘tolerance’ because, on the surface, it seems to reflect our pluralistic attitudes in this country. We do want to be tolerant of other views, don’t we? (The Bible tells us we should be loving and accepting and respectful toward all people, regardless of their faith). But some people jump to the erroneous conclusion that because different philosophies are equally protected, they must be equally valid. That is just not the case. You can’t have ‘your’ truth and I have ‘my’ truth just because they are different. Again, truth is ‘exclusive’.

 

Think of Jesus’ response when He was asked a similar question at His trial: “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” He didn’t respond, “That’s true for Me, but it doesn’t necessarily apply to others.” He simply said, “I Am,” and, in virtue of that confession, was led away to execution. That’s pretty ‘exclusionary’!

Just weeks later, when facing the same ruling body that crucified Christ, Peter’s own confession was unqualified: “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” [ Acts 4:12 ]. When threatened, he was unmoved: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge, for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” [ Acts 4:19–20 ].

 

SIMILARITIES / DIFFERENCES OF RELIGIONS
Some religious pluralists say all the world’s religions teach basically the same thing, so they’re all true.

Well, the world’s religions do have some things in common—they all recognize some kind of spiritual ‘dimension’, and have broadly similar moral codes, like the “Golden Rule” (“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”). Even atheists practice the same philosophy when they say, “live and let live” or similar phrases. Similarly, others when asked, say that they believe that most religions strive for “peace in the world.”

Now, despite the similarities people cite, the differences are HUGE! The major religions often CONTRADICT each other.

For example, compare Islam with Buddhism. Muslims believe there is a personal God who created the world, man is sinful and will spend eternity in heaven or hell, and salvation is attained by faith and performing good works. But Buddhists deny all of these.

They believe that ultimate reality is not a person; the world was not created; man is not sinful, man is not an enduring self, and the goal of life is not salvation, it’s annihilation.

Another fundamental difference between religions is that Christianity says there’s one eternal God who created the universe. Hinduism says everything is god—you ‘are’ god, I am god, and the electronic device you are reading this on is god. Islam denies Jesus was God or that He died for our sins. Buddha may not even have believed in God! These beliefs cannot all be true since they contradict each other too thoroughly.

One simply cannot accept the Hindu belief that there are some 300,000 gods and the Muslim belief that there is only one god at the same time. Nor can one embrace either Hinduism or Islam and Buddhism because Buddhism does not believe in God at all.

Or consider religious opinions about the afterlife. Shintoism says there is no afterlife, just the here and now, so make the most of it. Buddhists seek Nirvana, the complete absence of desire. On the other hand, Christianity teaches that Heaven is a place where all pure desires are satisfied when they see the face of Jesus Christ (Revelation 22:4). Well, which is it? They cannot all be true.

The ‘deity’ of Jesus is also a major difference between religions. Judaism sees Jesus as an ‘impostor’, Islam sees Him as merely a human prophet, and other religions often see Him as a good moral teacher or as one of many incarnations of God (e.g. Hinduism).

[ Note: Even the sub-Christian cults that may seem very similar on the surface have significant differences; the Jehovah’s Witnesses see Jesus as God’s first creation, a kind of super-angel, totally distinct from the Creator. Even the Mormons believe he is only the physical son of God ].

 

Hinduism, for example, is often represented as being the most tolerant and accepting of other faiths. That is just not true. All Hindus believe in two fundamental, uncompromising doctrines—the Law of Karma, and the belief in reincarnation. These will not be surrendered. In fact, Buddhism was born out of the rejection of two other very dogmatic claims of Hinduism. Buddha rejected the authority of the Vedas and the caste system of Hinduism. The issue here is not who was right or wrong. The truth is that they were systemically different—both claiming rightness.

Islam, as you know, is very clearly an exclusive claim to god. A Muslim will never tell you that it doesn’t matter what you believe or that all religions are true.

Islam tells us that mankind is essentially good and that we just need to live a certain way to earn God’s forgiveness. Judaism, since the destruction of the temple in AD 70, has also relied basically on righteous acts. The biblical view is that humans are essentially evil and unable to live up to God’s righteous standards. Only the perfect sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf could satisfy his justice and restore the broken relationship between God and man.

 

So, those who claim all religions are basically the same simply haven’t studied them closely. Religions make contradictory claims. Hinduism says God is an impersonal force while Christianity teaches God is a personal being. Both cannot be right. Also, Jesus is completely unique among the religions of the world. Jesus’ disciples taught that Jesus is God (John 1:1, Philippians 2:5-7) because Jesus claimed that himself (Mark 14:61-64, John 10:30-34). No other founder of a major world religion claimed to be God. Now, Jesus was either right or wrong and he provided a standard to verify his claims. Jesus said His resurrection from the dead would be confirmation (Matthew 12:38-42, Mark 14:28). Siddhartha, the founder of Buddhism, is still in his grave. Muhammad, the founder of Islam, is still in his grave. But, not Jesus. He is risen, providing the ultimate evidence for the truth of his unique claims.

 

ALL RELIGIONS CONTAIN RELATIVE TRUTH
Not satisfied with obvious contradictions between the major teachings of different religions, some will sidestep this with the claim that the differences are not really that important as ’we are all on paths going up the same mountain’. The argument goes that each different religion is climbing a different side and cannot see the others, but once we reach the top all will become clear and we will see that we were all headed for the same place in the end (kind of like the elephant parable). As was mentioned previously, this is the mistake of “relativism.”

This way of thinking is nice because it means you never have to disagree with anyone, but of course, it is yet another way of ‘covering up’ the truth. For those in the medical profession to hold this view would be really quite strange. Any doctor knows that you either have cancer or you don’t. (None of us would wish to be treated by relativistic doctors (or bankers)—we want someone who will tell it like it is!) Relativism simply doesn’t hold water’. It is impossible to live out relativism in our daily lives.

[ FYI: For more info on this, read “Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air,” by Francis J. Beckwith and Gregory Koukl (Link in “Resources” section below) ].

 

Unfortunately, the pluralists ‘God-at-the-top-of-the-mountain’ characterization is not as simple as it sounds. For starters, many religions are exclusive in their definitions of who the God atop the mountain peak is.

Some forms of Buddhism and Confucianism do not conceive that a god exists at all. Hindus, on the other hand, believe in many diverse gods. Different still are Christians, Jews, and Muslims, who claim there is only one true God.

With such fundamental differences, not every religion can be right. Either God exists, or he does not. Either there are many gods, or there is just one. Only one of these viewpoints corresponds to reality; the answer cannot be “all of the above.”

In other words, a more accurate picture of religious perceptions of God would be a vast mountain range with countless different peaks.

 

EXCLUSIVE CLAIMS ABOUT THE PATH
A second problem is that religions are also exclusive when it comes to how people make their way up the mountain to God. The journeys to the peak are as diverse as the peaks themselves.

Even if we limit ourselves to the three dominant monotheistic religions—Christianity, Judaism, and Islam—their pathways to God are conflicting.

For Muslims, knowing God must come through the prophet Muhammad and his sacred writings in the Qur’an. But Jews and Christians do not regard Muhammad as God’s spokesperson.

For observant Jews, knowing God comes through keeping his commandments in the Torah and identifying with his chosen people. But while Christians and Muslims respect the Jewish heritage of their faiths, they both believe that Judaism is incomplete. For them, the New Testament and Qur’an respectively teach a more complete way to God.

For Christians, knowing God comes through faith in Jesus as the Messiah and God’s Son, and belief in His death and resurrection. But Jews reject the Christian belief that Jesus is the Messiah, and Muslims do not believe Jesus was the Son of God.

Add onto these the countless number of other religious ideas and the result is a confusing mess of largely incompatible claims and creeds.

 

EXCLUSIVE CLAIMS ABOUT HIKING PRACTICES
The next problem comes from each religion’s specific teachings about God’s ‘will’ for our lives. Were we to enumerate all the practices and behaviors every religion both encourages and prohibits, we would find another lengthy list of irreconcilable elements.

Then there is the fact that most religions have their own particular—and often exclusive—religious texts. When it comes to Christianity, the biggest hindrances to a universalistic mindset—the perspective that all religions lead to the same place—are the exclusive claims of the Bible.

The Bible also claims that Jesus rose from the dead, fully conquering sin and death for all who would follow Him. The Apostle Paul described it this way: “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.”

The implications of these New Testament claims are far-reaching: there is only one God; there is only one way to be restored to God; that way is through Jesus and his death for our sins, and the way was made complete when Jesus rose from the grave.

If Jesus did not die for our sins and rise from the grave, then the Christian faith is a delusion. It may give people a purpose in life (albeit a misguided one), but it does not lead to God. BUT, if the Bible is correct and the claims it makes are true, then all other religious paths to God lead away from the one true path!

To put it another way, if there are other paths to God, then Jesus’ life and death were unnecessary and His teaching about the need to believe in Him was false!

So, all religions ARE NOT the same.

 

As I said previously, because two world views contradict each other, they can’t both be true. In fact, every major world religion contradicts every other one, so they can’t possibly all be true.

So, other religious pluralists will say all the world’s religions are false. They are equally valid, but equally false cultural expressions of mankind’s search for truth.

But why think that this is true? Why couldn’t one particular religion be true?

 

WAS JESUS GOD?
Jesus is definitely known for His great wisdom and high moral standards. However, the most significant and debated thing is that He claimed to be God. It is a source of great controversy—not simply because of the logical difficulty of a “God-man”—but because of what it means if Jesus really is God. Jesus definitely ranks among the world’s great thinkers, but isn’t Son of God a little farfetched?

How could anyone believe that a small-town Jewish carpenter could have been the creator of the world? It is easier to accept that He was a moralist, a teacher, even perhaps a prophet—anything less sensational than that He being God.

If Jesus was only a moral teacher or a prophet or a great thinker, then those who insist He is God are wrong. But IF HE IS God, then the view that He was merely a man—even an exceptional man—is wrong. Both ideas about Jesus cannot be true (again, based on the Law of Non-Contradiction).

Some say isn’t it enough simply to learn from His wise sayings and admire His good life? Is it really ‘vital’ that we make a decision about whether or not He is God?

 

Well then, how can we ‘trust’ the word of someone who claims he is God—regardless of his good works or wise teaching? Anyone who would call himself God without actually being God doesn’t deserve our trust, only our pity, and concern. In addition to that, he certainly wouldn’t deserve to be called good, moral, or wise. So, where can we look to help us answer this question? Well, there are well-documented references to Jesus in official sources other than the Bible.

Josephus (37-100AD), a Pharisee and a military leader who fought against the Romans in 67AD, wrote an extensive history of the Jewish people called “Antiquities.” In it he refers to the ministry of John the Baptist, James the brother of Jesus, and Jesus Himself. In his written history, Josephus calls Jesus “a wise man” and “a doer of surprising works.” He specifically states that Pilate condemned Jesus to crucifixion.

The Roman Pliny the Younger (61-113AD), was a senator to Emperor Trajan. He implemented a policy that attempted to get Christians to renounce Jesus and swear allegiance to the emperor and the pagan gods. Pliny noted that they worshiped “Christ as a god,” and mentions that Christians observed the Lord’s Supper.

Even though the Roman historian Tacitus (56-117AD) wrote about the fire of 64AD and noted that Nero falsely blamed the Christians, he was by no means sympathetic to Christians. He said that they were “hated for their abominable crimes.” In his account, written about 115-117AD, Tacitus cites “Christ” as the founder of a “subversive religion,” and mentions that He was executed by Pontius Pilate during Tiberius’ reign.

None of these chroniclers were followers of Jesus, as evidenced by their disparaging references to Christians in general. Yet, these citations all refer to Jesus using the title of “Christ,” which means “anointed one.” Even non-believing historians acknowledged that Jesus existed, and that His followers esteemed Him as the Christ.

 

However, the source containing the most evidence about Jesus’ identity is the Bible. That’s where the belief that Jesus is God finds its fullest and best support and archaeological research has shown the Bible to be trustworthy in historical and geographical matters. Scripture has been scrutinized by scholars for nearly 2,000 years, and has consistently been found factually reliable.

So, it makes sense then to investigate the Bible’s claims about the identity of its central figure, and to follow that evidence to its conclusion. So, let’s look at a few selected verses in the Bible that ‘hint’ at the idea that Jesus is God.

Isaiah 7:14: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” The key to this verse is found in the title “Immanuel.” The word literally means “God with us,” and is a prediction that the coming Messiah would be God. Surely this prophecy must have been a mystery to those who heard it. How could a human child be God?

Isaiah 9:6: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Again the prophet Isaiah uses clear and strong language to tell Israel that the Messiah would not merely be a great ruler or a just king, but that He would be “Mighty God.” These passages show that the Old Testament taught that the promised anointed one, or Messiah, would be God.

Isaiah 53: In just one chapter of Scripture, there are several illuminating predictions about the Messiah’s life and death. However, this is probably that most instructive: “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” [ Isaiah 53:3-5 ].

Micah 5:2: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Micah’s prophecy has two key elements in it. It predicts the birthplace of the coming ruler, Bethlehem and gives one of the characteristics of the ruler—that His origins will be of old, from ancient times. This implies that He will not be an ordinary king, but one of special significance. [ FYI: Micah wrote this when the city of Bethlehem Ephrathah did not even exist yet! ].

So, you might ask, “What is so important about the Old Testament in reference to Jesus? Well, it makes many ‘prophecies’ about a special person—the Messiah, God in the flesh—that seem to be FULFILLED EXACTLY by Jesus.

The Gospels record that Jesus of Nazareth—as was predicted of the coming Messiah—was to be born of a virgin. All this took place to fulfill what God had said through the prophet Isaiah: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him “Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.” [ Matthew 1:22-23 ]. This passage in Matthew presents Jesus’ birth as a fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah chapter seven.

The prophecy of Isaiah 53:6-7 was fulfilled by Jesus when He was arrested and taken to the Roman authorities.

Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 53:9 when Joseph of Arimathea, a “prominent member of the Council” (Mark 15:43), buried Jesus’ body in his own tomb (Matthew 27:59–60).

Psalm 22:1 was written centuries before crucifixion had even been devised and it says, “A band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet” (v.16). It also says, “They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing” (v. 18). These are prophetic statements about the manner of the Messiah’s execution, and how the Roman soldiers’ gambling for Jesus’ clothes (see also Luke 23:34; John 19:23–24).

There are many other prophecies about the Messiah that were fulfilled by Jesus’ life and death—which will be detailed in the “Old Testament Prophesies” section below—but here’s a small ‘taste’ of them:

– Lived in Egypt (Numbers 24:8; Fulfilled in Matthew 2:15)
– Healed Many (Isaiah 53:4; Fulfilled in Matthew 8:16)
– No Broken Bones (Psalm 34:20; Fulfilled in John 19:33–36)
– Took on Our Sin (Isaiah 53:5–7; Fulfilled in Acts 8:30–35)
– Resurrected (Psalm 16:8–11; Fulfilled in Acts 2:25–32)

When Jesus spoke of His deity with those who were not His followers, they didn’t scratch their heads trying to figure out what exactly He was saying, they reached for rocks! There was NO CONFUSION over what He was saying. They knew exactly what and who He was claiming to be, and they wanted to kill Him for “blasphemy,” making Himself out to be God (John 10:30-33).

However, not everyone responded to Jesus’ claims of deity with accusations of blasphemy. While eating with the disciples, Jesus told them that He was “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). Then when Philip asked Him to show them the Father, Jesus’ answer again reflected His claim to deity: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father… Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?” (John 14:9-10).

 

The Jews who followed Jesus knew He was claiming to be God. But they weren’t the only ones. Many others heard Jesus say He was God. Their reactions and Jesus’ response to them reveal much about how people in Jesus’ day really did understand who Jesus was claiming He was.

The Apostle Peter boldly declared, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Acknowledging Peter’s confession, Jesus said, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in Heaven” [ Matthew 16:17 ]. This shows that Jesus was willing to receive ‘reverence’ as God from His disciples.

In another telling incident, Jesus had just come into the city of Jerusalem to the welcome of an admiring crowd: “Hosanna to the Son of David” they cried (Matthew 21:15). However, this public acclaim ‘incensed’ the chief priests and scribes. How could Jesus accept this blasphemous kind of adoration?

“Hosanna” means “help” or “save.” The people who were shouting this as Jesus was entering the city were both celebrating what He had already done, and were asking Him to save them in the future (to be the “conquering warrior” they were waiting for to overthrow the Roman rule they were under).

Then, more than a week after Jesus had risen from the dead, Thomas was the only disciple who had not yet seen Him in the flesh, and no one could convince him that Jesus was alive. “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” [ John 20:25 ].

So, later, when Thomas and the other disciples were together, Jesus suddenly appeared among them. “A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe’” [ John 20:26–27 ]. Awestruck, Thomas responded, “My Lord and my God!” (v. 28). With these words, he proclaimed the deity of Jesus—“Lord and God.”

To me, and many other Biblical scholars, these ‘proofs’ are very convincing that Jesus was presenting Himself as the Messiah, God in the flesh. However, two thousand years later, Jesus’ identity still creates questions and stirs controversy.

 

WHO DID JESUS THINK HE WAS?
By far, the most outrageous assertion Jesus ever made—His most politically incorrect claim of all—was when He declared in: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me” [ John 14:6 ]. Jesus is explicitly saying that He is THE ‘WAY’ to God and Heaven.

This claim ‘rankles’ people like no other. It’s been called arrogant, narrow-minded, bigoted, and snobbish. Some of you are seekers, and something inside of you chafes at this claim. For you, it may be a ‘stumbling block’ to faith.

Because of the importance and forthrightness of this statement, here’s an analysis of it:

“I am” in the Greek language is a very ‘intense’ way of referring to oneself. Several other times in the Gospels we find Jesus using these words. Jesus quotes Exodus 3:6, where God uses the same ‘intensive’ form to say, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” [ Matthew 22:32 ]. Jesus also said, “Truly, truly I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am” [ John 8:58 ]. As I mentioned earlier, the Jews CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD that Jesus was calling Himself God, because they took up stones to kill Him for committing blasphemy by equating Himself with God.

As Jesus gave the “Great Commission,” He gave it emphasis by saying, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” [ Matthew 28:20 ]. When the soldiers came seeking Jesus in the garden the night before His crucifixion, He told them, “I am he,” and His words were so powerful that the soldiers fell to the ground (John 18:4–6). These words reflect the very name of God in Hebrew, “Yahweh,” which means “to be” or “the self-existing One.” It is the name of the ‘preeminent’ power and authority in the universe, and Jesus CLAIMED it as His own.

“The way” is the ‘definite article’, in the Greek, to distinguish Himself as “the only way.” Jesus was telling His disciples that there is no other path to Heaven, and no other way to God the Father. The Apostle Peter also reiterated this same truth—years later after Jesus ascended into Heaven—to the rulers in Jerusalem, saying about Jesus, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” [ Acts 4:12 ]. The exclusive nature of the only path to salvation is expressed in the words “I am the way.”

“The truth” is also used in the ‘definite article’ to emphasize Himself as “the only truth.” In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reminded His listeners of several points of the Law, then said, “But I say unto you…” (Matthew 5:22, 28, 32, 34, 39, 44), thereby equating Himself as THE ‘authoritative standard’ of righteousness. In fact, Jesus also said that He came to fulfill the Law and the prophets (Matthew 5:17). Jesus said that, as the incarnate Word of God (John 1:1), He IS the ‘source’ of all truth!

“The life” was something that Jesus said when He had just been telling His disciples about His impending death, and now He was claiming to be THE ‘SOURCE’ of all life. Jesus declared that He was going to lay down His life for His sheep, and then take it back again (John 10:17-18). He spoke of His authority over life and death as being granted to Him by the Father. Jesus then gave the promise that “because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19c). The deliverance He was about to provide was not a political or social deliverance (which most of the Jews were seeking), but a true deliverance from a life of bondage to sin and death to a life of freedom in eternity.

In these words, Jesus was declaring Himself the great “I AM,” the ONLY ‘path’ to Heaven, the ONLY true ‘measure’ of righteousness, and THE ‘source’ of both physical and spiritual life.

 

One of the stories in the Bible that kind of explains what Jesus meant by saying that He was the “way, the truth, and the life,” is what He told a heartbroken Martha, after her brother Lazarus had died four days earlier Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this” [ John 11:25-26 ]. Jesus is eternal life for all who believe (John 3:16), and death will not prevent them from seeing Him again in Heaven.

 

At Jesus’ trial, the Jewish high priest asked Jesus, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of God?” Jesus’ answer left no room for doubt He said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of power and coming with the clouds of heaven” [ Mark 14:62 ].

Jesus was claiming, in no uncertain terms, that He was the very God His accusers were desiring to worship. The Jewish court charged Him with blasphemy, and condemned Him to death.

 

Jesus spoke of Himself as the only way to Heaven in several places besides John 14:6. He presented Himself as the object of faith (Matthew 7:21–27). He said His words are life (John 6:63). He promised that those who believe in Him will have eternal life (John 3:14–15). He is the gate of the sheep (John 10:7); the bread of life (John 6:35); and the resurrection (John 11:25). No one else can rightly claim those titles.

Here’s a good illustration that shows ‘objective’ truth really does matter:

“Imagine that two friends are hunting in the woods of Northern Minnesota in the dead of winter. One is an experienced woodsman and the other a novice. Toward the end of the day, the experienced woodsman realizes that a storm is coming and that if they don’t get back to the lodge quickly, they could be in trouble. So, he suggests that they immediately head straight across the lake to get back to the lodge.

The idea of going across the lake scares the novice because he doesn’t know how thick the ice is (a convoy of trucks could cross that ice in the dead of winter since it’s about 30 inches thick). The experienced woodsman boldly strides across the lake while his buddy gingerly tests the ice on the edge of the shore before fearfully crossing the lake and finally making it to safety.

A few months later, the same pair is hunting. While there is no storm coming, the novice remembers the experience of crossing the lake and how much time it saved and says, “Hey, on the way back, let’s take the shortcut across the lake to the lodge.” Well, the experienced woodsman says, “No way I’m getting on that ice! The conditions are different. The ice is thin now and very dangerous.” In spite of the warning, the novice decides that he can make it and sets out. A few feet offshore, he falls through the ice and has to be rescued.

In the first instance, the faith of the novice was weak, but the ‘object’ of his faith was strong. He made it. In the second instance, his faith was very strong, but it was in a ‘weak’ object. He didn’t make it. The validity of the ‘OBJECT’ is more important than the strength of the faith!”

 

Since ice is a physical object, you can drill through a core sample and measure how thick it is. That’s how to determine its strength. But how would someone determine whether Jesus is a valid object? [ If Jesus predicted His death and his resurrection and if He actually pulled it off, wouldn’t that be a solid objective basis for believing in Him? It’s the kind of evidence that you would use to decide a legal case ].

 

Jesus is the only way to Heaven for several other reasons. Jesus was “chosen by God” to be the Savior (1 Peter 2:4). Jesus is the only One to have come down from Heaven and returned there (John 3:13). He is the only person to have lived a perfect human life (Hebrews 4:15). He is the only sacrifice for sin (1 John 2:2; Hebrews 10:26). He alone fulfilled the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 5:17). He is the only man to have conquered death forever (Hebrews 2:14–15). He is the only Mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5). He is the only man whom God has “exalted… to the highest place” (Philippians 2:9).

 

Jesus’ life and teachings are definitely models of integrity and goodness. His acts of healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead, and demonstrating gentle love match His teachings on kindness, compassion, and morality. Jesus’ words matched His actions. However, He said He was God, and this claim was supported by His words and actions and the commitment of His followers.

Author and lay theologian C. S. Lewis once mused that there are only three reasonable options about Jesus’ identity. He said:

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I
don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God—or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.”

 

So, here’s a bit of detail on each one of the three options Lewis surmised:

– A ‘LUNATIC’: If Jesus is not God, then He could be accused of having delusions of grandeur. Yet those who knew Him best recognized that Jesus’ claim to deity was not outlandish. It corresponded perfectly to whom He showed them He was, a reality the disciples were willing to die for.

– A ‘LIAR’: If Jesus is not God, then He was lying. In this case, He would have had to know that He was not who He claimed to be. This becomes increasingly difficult to accept the more one looks at His life. How could He, in every other instance, convey the essence of honesty and credibility if on this one major point He continued to lie? How could He deceive so many godly people if He were doing such an ungodly thing?

– ‘GOD’: What Jesus said and what He did support this option. Jesus fulfilled the prophecies about the One who would be God on Earth. He displayed the attributes of the eternal God. He did things only God could do.
A lunatic can claim anything, but he can’t deliver. A liar can play amazing mental games, but he can’t prove anything he says. Jesus was born where the God-man was to be born, lived as the God-man should have lived, died as the God-man was to die, and lived again as only the God-man could.

 

Who do you think Jesus is? Only when you accept that Jesus is God can you come to Him as the source of life. Only as you trust God’s Word—not just in regard to Jesus’ life but also in regard to His deity— will you understand the importance of His death. Your ETERNAL LIFE DEPENDS ON IT! Who do you say Jesus is?

 

Anybody is free to make the claim, as Jesus did, that they are the way, the truth, and the life, and that nobody can go to Heaven unless they follow them (as many have done in the past). The question is, how do we know Jesus was telling the truth?

Well, Jesus backs up His claim with unique credentials that make Him uniquely credible. For instance, Jesus authenticated His claim of being God by fulfilling dozens of centuries-old prophecies against every mathematical odd. These prophecies were like a thumbprint that only the Messiah would be able to fit—and, in all of history, it only ‘fits’ Jesus!

Unlike other religious leaders and ‘false christs’, Jesus performed great miracles that further authenticated His claim to being God, with the most spectacular demonstration of His deity being when He fulfilled His own prediction of being resurrected from the dead—a historical event that was witnessed by more than 500 people, and which sparked a spiritual revolution (the “Christian” faith) unparalleled in history!

Christianity isn’t just a philosophy, it’s a ‘reality’. Jesus didn’t just ‘claim’ He was the one-and-only Son of God, He validated His claim LIKE NOBODY ELSE in history!

 

WHO DID THE APOSTLES THINK JESUS WAS?
After Jesus ascended into Heaven, the apostles’ preaching focused on the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Apostle Peter, speaking to the Sanhedrin, clearly proclaimed Jesus as the only way to Heaven: “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under Heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” [ Acts 4:12 ].

Peter was dogmatically exclusive on Jesus being the only way to God. Notice that he did not say that we “may” be saved through Jesus, he was adamant in saying that we “must.” Peter is preaching that salvation by Jesus is imperative!

John, writing to the church at large, specifies the name of Jesus as the basis of our forgiveness: “I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of His name” [ 1 John 2:12 ]. No one but Jesus can forgive sin.

Then there was the Apostle Paul. He wrote, “There is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus” [ 1 Timothy 2:5 ]. Jesus is not one of many mediators. He is not a good guru among many. He is THE ONLY mediator between us and God.

Paul often stressed this word “one.” Elsewhere he said, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” [ Ephesians 4:4-6 ]. To be without Christ, he says, is to be without hope (Ephesians 2:12), and that Jesus is our only “access” to God (Ephesians 2:18, 3:12).

When Paul was speaking to the synagogue in Antioch, he singled out Jesus as the Savior: “I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin” [ Acts 13:38–39 ].

 

The Apostle Paul’s major book was the Letter to the Romans. In the first three chapters, he shows how all men are sinners under the wrath of God. Thankfully, in the next few chapters, he describes God’s way of salvation through Jesus.
In Romans 10, Paul reasons that since there is no salvation except through Christ, there is no salvation for those who never hear of Christ. Immediately someone will object, “That’s not fair!,” and Paul deals with that, too. The thing is, ALL people everywhere are sinners “without excuse” (Romans 2:1). NO ONE deserves salvation. God does not have to give us ANY WAY of salvation—at all. However, God DOES give us ‘A’ way—His ‘WAY’…Jesus!

 

Hopefully, this gives you a ‘taste’ of the united testimony of the New Testament apostles that NO ONE can know God the Father except through the person of Jesus Christ.

 

WHAT DOES GOD SAY?
Over and over God says that He ALONE is the one true God (Isaiah 44:6), and He utterly condemns atheism, polytheism, pantheism, and dualism (all other religions). He says that all other “gods” are false gods. Allah is a false god; Brahman is a false god; and Krishna is a false god. They are mere ‘idols’. God goes so far as to say that they are really “demons” (1 Corinthians 10:20), and one cannot come to know him through any of those false gods.

Likewise, God says that all the prophets of other religions are false prophets. Jesus said, “All who came before me were thieves and robbers” (John 10:8). They were wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15). They did not get their messages from God, and therefore they cannot lead us to God. In fact, they only lead away from the true God. This applies to their writings as well (the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, etc.).

God, ‘speaking’ through the Apostle Paul, warned that false religions are perversions of true Christianity: “If any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed!” [ Galatians 1:9 ]. False religions are accursed and bring down God’s damnation on all who follow them.

God Himself said, “If they do not speak according to this Word [the Bible], it is because they have no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20). Simply put, one cannot know the one true God by reading the religious texts of non-Christian religions. Why? Because they are lies and frauds. We know God only through reading God’s true book, the Bible.

 

RELIABILITY OF THE BIBLE
Many people say that, “One really can’t be sure that the Bible is accurate since it’s been copied and translated so many times.” Others say that, “It’s been long since proven that the Bible is full of contradictions and errors, and is inaccurate and unreliable.”

[ Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y07WJJ5OHaU ].

 

But how accurate is that statement? Is the Bible really full of contradictions? Is it outdated, inauthentic, and full of scientific and historical errors as so many assert? In short, can we trust the Bible?

 

The fact is that, with few exceptions, many people have reached their conclusions about the Bible through second- and third-hand sources rather than through firsthand investigation. For example, it is a rare person who has personally examined the text to see if an alleged contradiction is really there. Someone who asserts that the Bible is full of contradictions should be able to name at least one—if not several—but most cannot cite even one!

So let’s investigate together just a few things to determine if the Bible is reliable [ Note: More resources on Bible reliability are in both the “Resources” and “Articles” sections below ].

 

The quantity of New Testament manuscripts is UNPARALLELED in ancient literature. There are over 5,000 Greek manuscripts, about 8,000 Latin manuscripts, and another 1,000 manuscripts in other languages (Syriac and Coptic, among others). In addition to this extraordinary number, there are tens of thousands of citations of New Testament passages by the early church fathers. In contrast, the typical number of existing manuscript copies for any of the works of the Greek and Latin authors, such as Plato, Aristotle, Caesar, or Tacitus, is much smaller.

Comparison of Existing Manuscript Quantities:
Homer: about 2,000
Plato: 7
Aristotle: 49
Caesar: 10
Tacitus: 20
New Testament: 24,000 (including translations in other languages); 6,000+ in Greek

 

The 1947 discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls provided a significant check on this, because these Hebrew scrolls predate the earliest Masoretic Old Testament manuscripts by about 1,000 years. But in spite of this time span, the number of variant readings between the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Masoretic Text is quite small, and most of these are variations in spelling and style. The quality of the manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible SURPASS ALL other ancient manuscripts. The New Testament is considerably better in manuscript quality than ANY OTHER ancient document.

The New Testament can be regarded as 99.5% pure, and the correct readings for the remaining 0.5% can often be ascertained with a fair degree of probability by the practice of “textual criticism.” Furthermore, there are NO variant readings significant enough to call into question any of the doctrines of the New Testament.

The time span of the New Testament manuscripts is also EXCEPTIONAL, with the manuscripts written on papyrus coming from the second and third centuries AD. The John Rylands Fragment (P52) of the Gospel of John is dated at AD 117–138, only a few decades after the Gospel was written. The time span for most of the New Testament is less than 200 years (and some books are within 100 years) from the date of authorship to the date of our earliest manuscripts. This can be sharply contrasted with the average gap of OVER 1,000 years between the composition and the earliest copy of the writings of other ancient authors!

The Old and New Testaments enjoy far greater manuscript attestation in terms of quantity, quality, and time span than ANY OTHER ancient document.

 

The Bible was written by people who were ‘eyewitnesses’ of the events they recorded. The Apostle Peter makes this point abundantly clear: “For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty” [ 2 Peter 1:16 ]. (See also Acts 2:22 and 1 Peter 5:1).

The independent eyewitness accounts in the New Testament of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ were written by people who were intimately acquainted with Jesus. Most of the New Testament was written between AD 47 and 70, and all of it was complete before the end of the first century. There simply was not enough time for myths about Christ to be created and propagated. And the multitudes of eyewitnesses who were alive when the New Testament books began to be circulated would have challenged blatant historical fabrications about the life of Jesus.

 

Because the Scriptures continually refer to historical events, they are verifiable; their accuracy can be checked by external evidence. The historicity of Jesus Christ is well-established by early Roman, Greek, and Jewish sources, and these extrabiblical writings affirm the major details of the New Testament portrait of the Lord. The first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus made specific references to John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, and James in his “Antiquities of the Jews.” In this work, Josephus also gives many background details—about the Herods, the Sadducees and Pharisees (Jewish religious leaders), the high priests like Annas and Caiaphas, and the Roman emperors, for example—that are mentioned in the four Gospels and the book of Acts.

There are many other external references, totally apart from the document, that confirms details, personalities, and events by non-Christian writers. For example,
you could look at Jesus, James, John the Baptist, Caesar Augustus, Pilate, the high priest Caiaphas, Quirinius, Herod the Great, Herod Archelaus, Herod Philip, Herodias’ daughter, Salome, the high priest Ananias, Judas the Galilean,
with Gallio, Tiberius Caesar, Tyrannus, Lysanias, King Aretas, and Gamaliel.

Other first- and second-century writers who mention Christ include: The Roman historians Cornelius Tacitus (Annals) and Suetonius (Life of Claudius, Lives of the Caesars); the Roman governor Pliny the Younger (Epistles); the Greek satirist Lucian (On the Death of Peregrine); and the Jewish Talmud also mentions Jesus a number of times.

 

The New Testament has also received abundant support from archaeology. Most of the geographical details associated with the life of Jesus in the Gospels have been substantiated. Here’s just one example. [ A few good books on this subject are listed in the “Resources” area below ].

There is a plaque that is placed on the steps leading up to the Tiberium (a ’shrine’ honoring Emperor Tiberius) that says, “Pontius Pilate, the prefect of Judea has dedicated the people of Caesarea a temple in honor of Tiberius.” Here was an archaeological discovery that confirmed Pontius Pilate in the New Testament and being the prefect of Judea. Archaeology continues to give greater confirmation of the accuracy of the New Testament.

Now archaeology cannot prove that the Bible is the Word of God. It can’t do that.
A lot of people say it can, but it can’t. It can only confirm that the details of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are accurate.

Noted archaeologists such as William F. Albright, Nelson Glueck, and G. Ernest Wright developed a great respect for the historical accuracy of the Scriptures as a result of their work.

 

The Old and New Testaments pass the “authenticity” (textual reliability), “accuracy” (factual reliability), “authority” (doctrinal reliability), and “accumulation” (proper books included) tests like no other ancient books. Most professional archaeologists and historians acknowledge the historicity of the Bible, and yet many theologians still embrace pre-archaeological critical theories about the Bible.

The evidence strongly supports the accuracy of the Bible in relation to history and culture, but in many cases, it has been overlooked or rejected because of philosophical presuppositions that run contrary to the Scriptures. This leads to a double standard: critics approach secular literature with one standard but wrongly use a different standard when they examine the Bible. Those who discard the Bible as historically untrustworthy must realize that the same standard would force them to eliminate ALMOST ALL ancient literature!

 

If the Gospels are historically reliable—and there is overwhelming evidence that they are—then we have Jesus’ own words, and discover that He claims to be the ONLY ‘WAY’ way to God.

 

OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECIES
There were almost 400 ‘predictive’ prophecies concerning Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection—some of which were made well over 2,000 years prior to His birth, and EVERY ONE OF THEM have been FULFILLED EXACTLY AS PROPHESIED! Now, I’m thinking that’s a ‘source’ you CAN TRUST!

As was mentioned previously, Peter Stoner stated that the probability of just eight prophecies being fulfilled by one man is 1 in 10 to the 17th power.” Here’s the prophecies that he used:

1) Born in Bethlehem:
– Old Testament prophecy:
Micah 5:2 – “O Bethlehem Ephrathah…a ruler of Israel will come from you”
[Note: Bethlehem was non-existent in Micah’s time!]

– New Testament fulfillment:
Matthew 1-2 – “Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod.”

2) Messiah Preceded by a Messenger:
– Old Testament prophecy:
Isaiah 40 – “One crying in the wilderness”
Malachi 3 – “…my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me”

– New Testament fulfillment:
Matthew 3:1 – “In those days John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching.”

3) Messiah Would Enter Jerusalem on a Donkey:
– Old Testament prophecy:
Zechariah 9:9 – “Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey—riding on a donkey’s colt.”

– New Testament fulfillment:
Matthew 21:6-9 – “The two disciples did as Jesus commanded. They brought the donkey and the colt to him and threw their garments over the colt, and he sat on it. Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting, Praise God for the Son of David! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Praise God in highest heaven.”

4) Messiah Would be Betrayed by a Close Friend:
– Old Testament prophecy:
Psalm 41:9 – “Even my best friend, the one I trusted completely, the one who shared my food, has turned against me.”

– New Testament fulfillment:
Matthew 26:23-25 – “He replied, ‘One of you who has just eaten from this bowl with me will betray me. For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!’ Judas, the one who would betray him, also asked, ‘Rabbi, am I the one?’ And Jesus told him, ‘You have said it.’”

5) Messiah Would be Sold for 30 Pieces of Silver:
– Old Testament prophecy:
Zechariah 11:11 – “That was the end of my covenant with them. The suffering flock was watching me, and they knew that the Lord was speaking through my actions. And I said to them, ‘If you like, give me my wages, whatever I am worth; but only if you want to.’ So they counted out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.”

– New Testament fulfillment:
Matthew 26:14-15 – “Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests and asked, ‘How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?’ And they gave him thirty pieces of silver.”

6) 30 Pieces of Silver Used to Purchase a Potters Field:
– Old Testament prophecy:
Zechariah 11:13 – “And the Lord said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter—this magnificent sum at which they valued me!’ So I took the thirty coins and threw them to the potter in the Temple of the Lord.”

– New Testament fulfillment:
Matthew 27:5-7 – “Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out to the potter’s field and hanged himself. The leading priests picked up the coins. ‘It wouldn’t be right to put this money in the Temple treasury,’ they said, ‘since it was payment for murder.’ After some discussion they finally decided to buy the potter’s field, and they made it into a cemetery for foreigners.”

7) Messiah Would be Silent Before His Accusers:
– Old Testament prophecy:
Isaiah 53:7 – “He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.”

– New Testament fulfillment:
Mark 15:3-4 – “Then the leading priests kept accusing him of many crimes, and Pilate asked him, ‘Aren’t you going to answer them? What about all these charges they are bringing against you?’ But Jesus said nothing, much to Pilate’s surprise.”

Matthew 27:12-14 – “But when the leading priests and the elders made their accusations against him, Jesus remained silent. ‘Don’t you hear all these charges they are bringing against you?’ Pilate demanded. But Jesus made no response to any of the charges, much to the governor’s surprise.”

8) Messiah Would be Executed by Crucifixion as a Thief:
– Old Testament prophecy:
Psalm 22:12-18 – “My enemies surround me like a herd of bulls; fierce bulls of Bashan have hemmed me in! Like lions they open their jaws against me, roaring and tearing into their prey. My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, melting within me. My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead. My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and feet. I can count all my bones. My enemies stare at me and gloat. They divide my garments among themselves and throw dice for my clothing.”

– New Testament fulfillment:
Matthew 27:35-38 – “After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there. A sign was fastened above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against him. It read: ‘This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.’ Two thieves were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.”

 

Unbelievably accurate, eh? Well, if you would like more, there’s a booklet that you can get that has 92 more Messianic prophecies that were made before Jesus was born. [ “100 Prophecies Fulfilled By Jesus” – http://www.rose-publishing.com/100-Prophecies-Fulfilled-by-Jesus-pamphlet-P73.aspx ].

 

Now, Peter Stoner and his ‘group’ took it a bit further, and considered 48 prophecies. They concluded that, “we find the chance that any one man fulfilled all 48 prophecies to be 1 in 10 to the 157th power, or 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

[ NOTE: The estimated number of ELECTRONS in the universe is around 10 to the 79th power! ]. Stoner continued, “It should be quite evident that Jesus did not fulfill the prophecies by accident.”

 

To me, and many others, this ‘PROVES’ that Jesus was like no other person before Him or since!

Taken with the over 2,500 or so total prophecies in the Bible—2,000 of which have already been FULFILLED EXACTLY AS PROPHESIED. This should strengthen your confidence that Jesus really was who He said He was—God in human flesh—and the Bible is God’s Word to humans about how we should live here on earth, how to get to Heaven, and how to live with God eternally!

You can TRUST the Bible’s accuracy, and that there’s been NOBODY quite like Jesus for all of mankind. So, if you have yet to do so, you can CONFIDENTLY put your ‘trust’ in Him!

[ FYI: More fulfilled prophecies are listed in the “Articles” area below ].

 

‘PROOF’ JESUS WAS WHO HE SAID HE WAS
Well, in addition to all the predictive prophesies being FULFILLED EXACTLY as written, the MOST IMPORTANT ‘proof’ for Jesus being who He said He was is His RESURRECTION from the dead—which He prophesied!

So, to give you an idea of what is said in regard to Jesus’ resurrection, I will present the three main facts about it: the discovery of Jesus’ empty tomb; the appearances of Jesus alive after His death; and the disciples’ belief that Jesus did rise from the dead.

The discovery that Jesus’ tomb was empty was reported by no less than six independent sources, and some of these are among the earliest materials to be found in the New Testament. This is important because when an event is recorded by two or more unconnected sources, historians’ confidence that the event actually happened increases tremendously, and the earlier these sources are dated, the higher their confidence. Moreover, the Gospels indicate that it was a woman who first discovered that Jesus’ body was missing. This is likely historical, because, in that culture, a woman’s testimony was considered next to worthless. Confidence in the empty tomb is further increased by the response of the time Jewish authorities. When they heard the report that the tomb was found empty, they said that Jesus’ followers had stolen his body, thereby admitting that Jesus’ tomb was, in fact, empty. Most scholars, by far, hold firmly to the reliability of the biblical statements about the empty tomb.

In one of the earliest letters in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul provides a list of witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection appearances. Jesus appeared to Peter, then to the twelve, to more than 500 brothers at one time, then he appeared to James. Finally, he appeared to Paul. Furthermore, various resurrection appearances of Jesus are independently confirmed by the Gospel accounts. On the basis of Paul’s testimony alone, virtually all historical scholars agree that various individuals and groups experienced appearances of Jesus alive after his death. It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’ death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ.

After Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus’ followers were devastated, demoralized, and hiding in fear for their lives. As Jews, they had no concept of a Messiah who would be executed by His enemies, much less come back to life. The only resurrection Jews believed in was a universal event on Judgement Day after the end of the world, not an individual event within history. Moreover, in Jewish law, Jesus’ crucifixion as a criminal meant that he was literally under God’s curse. Yet somehow, despite all of this, the disciples suddenly and sincerely came to believe that God had raised Jesus from the dead. They were so completely convinced, that when threatened with death, not one of them recanted. Even the previous Pharisee, Paul, who persecuted Christians, suddenly became a Christian himself, as did Jesus’ skeptical younger brother, James. Some sort of powerful, transformative experience is required to generate the sort of movement earliest Christianity was. That is why historians cannot explain the rise of early Christianity unless Jesus rose again, leaving an empty tomb behind Him.

 

These three firmly established facts ‘cry out’ for an adequate explanation. How do YOU make sense of them? Down through history, various naturalistic explanations have been offered to explain away these facts: the conspiracy hypothesis, the apparent death hypothesis, the hallucination hypothesis, and so on. But, for a God who is able to create the entire universe, the resurrection of Jesus would have been ‘child’s play’.

So, after examining just these three independently established historical facts, what do you think? How do YOU explain them?

[ FYI: For more evidence for Jesus’ resurrection, review the additional info in the “Resources” and “Articles” sections below, and/or read this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts” post:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/greatest-comeback-ever-v217/ ].

 

‘ISSUES’ WITH CHRISTIANITY’S EXCLUSIVITY
There are a few ‘issues’ that people bring up in regards to Christianity’s claim of exclusivity. The following are the most ‘popular’ ones.

 

EXCLUSIVITY IS ‘IRRATIONAL’
Is it ‘rational’ to believe Christianity’s exclusively? Well, many say, “No.” They say religion may have a place in society, but it will be a place dictated and controlled by autonomous human reason. Since most religions claim phenomena such as direct revelation from God, miracles, and religious experience—things not immediately accessible to reason—they are automatically suspect in a rationalistic world. One may follow whatever religion they please, but they cannot suggest that it is on the basis of ‘truth’. Anyone who does so has clearly not understood the nature of religion or the nature of truth.

Some argue that it is better to think of religion as an aspect of culture. Thus, author and philosopher John Hick suggests that religions are “expressions of the diversities of human types and temperaments and thought forms.”

How the cultural view of religion also seems difficult to maintain in light of the growing internationalism of the great religions.

When Islam, for example, is found not only in the Middle East but in places as diverse as China and North America, it becomes strained at best to argue that Islam is merely ‘the appropriate religion for a certain culture.’ Like other major religions, it clearly has an appeal that is transcultural.

 

ALL RELIGIONS ARE EQUALLY VALID
As a matter of simple observation, since different religions make very different claims, some say that they are equally valid.

Is the physical world, including its evil, real (as Western religions claim) or an illusion (as Buddhism claims)? What makes us acceptable to God? Our beliefs? Our moral actions? Our religious actions? Again, religions differ. Is it appropriate to think of God as (in some sense) a Person? Western religions say yes, Buddhism says no. As Hans Kung has remarked, there is a world of difference between the smiling Buddha and the crucified Christ. The list could go on. However, for me, how can all these views be equally valid?

 

DIFFERENT CULTURES HAVE DIFFERENT RELIGIONS
Some would argue that we can know so little of God that all our religions are merely best guesses, and we should not be dogmatic. But those religions which claim special revelation (for instance, a holy book), while agreeing that our understanding of God is limited, would claim that God has revealed more than we could ever have known by ourselves. By this standard, to be dogmatic is not to be unfaithful to a big view of God. Precisely the opposite: because I can know so little, I must be faithful to what I believe God has revealed.

 

ONE RELIGION CAN’T HAVE ALL THE ‘ANSWERS’
Some say that ultimate spiritual reality is beyond any single religion. Swiss philosopher, Fritjhof Schuon, said that religions are different, “not only dissimilar in their external but also in their internal character.” God, or an ‘ultimate reality’, however, is ‘beyond’ all religions. To put it another way, ‘all religions meet in their origin and source.’

With this view, however, there is no certain way of knowing or describing or approaching this ‘Ultimate Reality’, since it is, by definition, beyond anything described in any of the world’s great religions. Indeed, if this Reality is really expressing itself through the world’s religions, it is disturbing to realize that Ultimate Reality actually manifests itself in ways that are ‘mutually incoherent’. In such a muddle of beliefs, where can we find evidence for Bishop Michael Ingham’s (in his 1997 book “Mansions of the Spirit”) claim that, “all knowledge…radiates from the same transcendent point.” How can such confusion be a basis for religious, let alone human, unity?

 

HELL SEEMS ‘UNREASONABLE’
Many also feel that Hell is a “horrible idea,” and author C.S. Lewis agreed: “There is no doctrine I would more willingly remove from Christianity than this, if it lay in my power. But it has the full support of Scripture and, especially, of Our Lord’s own words; it has always been held by Christendom, and it has the support of reason.”

Jesus, arguably the most loving person ever to live, clearly believed and taught about Hell. Some, like Lewis, have argued that Hell is a necessary corollary of free will. If God has given us free will, and honors our free choices throughout our lives, is it likely that after death God will revoke that freedom, and compel us to come into Heaven?

Christian author Dorothy Sayers comments: “If, seeing God, the soul rejects him in hatred and horror, then there is nothing more that God can do for it. God will…if it insists, give it what it desires.”

It is difficult to speak sensitively enough about such a painful subject, but the Bible teaches that many people of many different religions will be in Hell.

A lot of people say that there just can’t be billions of non-christians that are going to Hell. They all can’t be wrong about God.

 

EXCLUSIVITY LEADS TO ‘OPPRESSION’
Others fell that the exclusivity claims of Christianity lead to oppression. The function of truth-claims in the postmodern view is not so much that they are ‘really’ true as that they give the one who has ‘the truth’ a ‘club’ with which to beat those into submission who do not agree.

However, in a strange ‘reversal’, some say that it is enforced tolerance which turns out to be the real oppressor. Paul Griffiths of the Chicago Divinity School writes: “Pluralists want to check and rebuke Christian tendencies to be (as they see it) imperialist and condescending in their judgments about non-Christian religions, but in doing this they are themselves engaging in precisely the activity they wish to rebuke… [There are] close links between the ideology of pluralism and a voracious, omnivorous modernity, whose surface tolerance of all religions is indistinguishable from a profound hostility to all.”

What initially appears to be a benign and liberal analogy proves, in fact, to be just as intolerant of diversity as the views it seeks to relativize—maybe even more so because it appears, at first sight, to be so broad-minded.

 

HAVE NEVER HEARD
Probably THE ‘issue’ that most plagues unbelievers—saying that it unacceptable and deeply offensive—is that if Jesus is the only way, then what about people who’ve never heard of Him? What about those who live in an isolated place and who haven’t had a chance to hear about Jesus? They say it’s “unconscionable” that they won’t have a chance to be saved.

Well, frankly, we don’t have the complete answer. God hasn’t explicitly told us all we’d like to know about this. But we do know a few things.

 

First off, the Bible tells us that everybody has a moral standard ‘written’ on their hearts by God—a CONSCIENCE—and that everybody is guilty of violating that standard. “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus” [ Romans 2:14-16 ]. This why our conscience ‘bothers’ us when we do something wrong.

Secondly, we know that everybody has enough information from observing the ‘creation’ around us to know that God exists. However, people have ‘suppressed’ that knowledge and rejected God anyway—for which we rightfully deserve eternal separation from Him.

We also know, from the Bible, that those who sincerely seek God will ‘find’ Him. (In fact, the Bible says that the Holy Spirit seeks us first, making it even possible for us to seek God.)

There’s something else that’s reassuring, too. God is scrupulously fair: “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” [ Genesis 18:25 ]. It’s comforting for me to know that each person will be judged uniquely and justly, according to what they knew and what they did. After being judged by a loving and righteous God, not one person will be able to walk away claiming that he or she had been treated unfairly.

The Bible also tells us that apart from the payment that Jesus made on the Cross, nobody has a chance of getting off ‘Death Row’. But exactly how much detailed knowledge a person has to know about Jesus or precisely where the lines are drawn, only God knows. The Bible says in that only God can expose the motives of a person’s heart (1 Corinthians 4:5).

Finally, nobody will be excluded from heaven solely because he or she has lacked some information. The reason people will be denied admittance is because they have ‘told’ God their entire life that they can live just fine without Him. So, on Judgment Day, God will say, “Based on your own decision to live separately from Me, you will now spend eternity apart from Me.” God won’t violate our will—and that’s only fair.

 

Just like people who lived PRIOR to the time of Christ, they can be saved through Christ, even though they haven’t heard of Christ. But what about people who don’t respond to God’s self-revelation in nature and conscience? Well, they freely SEPARATE themselves from God by rejecting His self-revelation to them, and God won’t force them to believe if they don’t want to.

But maybe they would have believed in Jesus if only they had heard about Him! Are they just victims of bad luck, born at the wrong time and place in history? NO! For according to the Bible, the times and places that people are born are not the result of an accident. Rather, God DECIDES where and when each person will live. So it’s possible that God has so ordered the world that anyone who would believe in Christ if he heard about him is created at a time and a place in history where he does hear about him, thus no one is lost through a historical or geographical accident. ANYONE WHO WANTS or even would want to be saved WILL BE SAVED!

 

This illustration might help you ‘process’ your concern about the people who may not have heard the Gospel.

If the cruise ship is sinking and the Captain tells everyone on Deck 7 to get into the lifeboat. You then ask well the Captain if the people on Deck 12 have been told yet. He tells you that it is very nice of you to be compassionate about others, but he’s got this all under control, so please get into the lifeboat. Biblically speaking, God is MUCH MORE compassionate than you, and knows who wants to be saved. So, if you know He is ‘talking’ to you, RESPOND IMMEDIATELY in saving yourself, since He just might ‘use’ you to save someone else—in the future, after you have saved yourself!

 

But for you and me, now that you have read this far, the issue isn’t ignorance—it’s ‘OBEDIENCE’! We’ve heard what Christ has to say—even today—we have access to the evidence, and it’s clear we’re responsible for our decision on how we respond!

Some of you need to respond today by becoming SERIOUS SEEKERS who are sincere and systematic in your search for truth so you can eventually make a knowledgeable decision to follow Jesus.

 

HUMANITY’S ‘PROBLEM’
As each of us lives our life, we accumulate a kind of ‘rap sheet’ of sorts, a personal list of our ‘crimes’. The Bible calls these “sins,” and we caught this ‘disease’ from or original parents, Adam and Eve—and humanity has been getting sicker ever since.

In God’s ‘eyes’, we are ‘children of wrath’ (Ephesians 2:3) and deserving of His just punishment.

If you question this, just observe an infant. They try to ‘deceive’ even before they can talk—trying to advance their own ‘agenda’ in their own way [ and it gets even worse after they start talking (back), and make it to the teenage years! ;^D ].

 

The thing is, just like when you receive a ticket for being caught speeding on the expressway, there are ‘consequences’ of our sins. Some things get you a ticket, but other things get you put in jail or even, at the extreme, the electric chair. However, our sins against a HOLY God get us something that’s even worse than physical death—‘spiritual’ death and eternal damnation in Hell!

You might say that you are a ‘good’ person—you haven’t killed anyone. However, our standards are generous because our self-interests are involved. When measured by God’s standards—perfection—the picture is much different!

God’s absolute standards silence every claim to self-righteousness making the whole world accountable to Him (Romans 3:19), and being perfectly holy, He cannot let evil go unpunished.

 

Every other religion in the world is based on man’s efforts to reach God. These world religions teach that man must somehow do righteous deeds or perform religious service in order to become good enough for salvation. In order to be saved a person must pray a certain number of times, in a certain manner, facing a certain direction. Or he must wear a particular type of religious garment. Or he must visit a certain religious shrine or temple. Or he must worship in a particular way.

Some religions require sacrifice and even the infliction of pain upon a believer in order to become holy in the sight of God. Some extreme religions require adherents to beat themselves with whips or rods to show their devotion to God. Some require pilgrims to crawl on their knees a certain distance in prayer in order to earn righteous points with God. Some religions require worship on Friday; others on Saturday, and others on Sunday.

But in all of this, the striving after righteousness is based on the religious activity of the man or woman. In every other religious system besides Christianity, a spiritual scale hangs over the head of the individual, with all of the sins they have committed on one side and all of their righteous deeds on the other. The person never knows whether they have been good enough, or prayed enough, or worked hard enough to earn the righteous points needed to counter their earned sins.

 

But the Christian Bible teaches that man is a sinner and could NEVER EARN salvation by what he or she did. “No one is righteous—not even one” [ Romans 3:10 ]. “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags” [ Isaiah 64:6a ].

No matter how good you are; no matter how religious you are; no matter what you do for God, you can never be good enough, or holy enough to earn salvation.

 

It is the ‘burden’ of the opening chapters of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans to show that this desolate condition is the general situation of mankind. Paul explains that God’s power and deity are made known through the created order around us, so that men are without excuse (Romans 1:20), and that God has written His moral law upon all men’s hearts, so that they are morally responsible before Him (Romans 2:15). Although God offers eternal life to all who will respond in an appropriate way to God’s general revelation in nature and conscience (Romans 2:7), the sad fact is that rather than worship and serve their Creator, people ignore God and disregard His moral law (Romans 1:21-32). The conclusion: All people are under the power of sin (Romans 3:9-12), and worse, NO ONE can redeem themselves by means of righteous living (Romans 3:19-20)!

The Bible is clear: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way” [ Isaiah 53:6 ], we “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” [ Romans 3:23 ], and we “suppress the truth by their wickedness” [ Romans 1”18 ].

 

Now, if we have never broken any of His laws—if we have never faltered in any of God’s requirements in any way—then we have nothing to worry about. However, if we have done wrong, we will be punished in proportion to our crimes.

This, of course, is not good news. It is bad news. The good news is that even though God would be completely just to punish us without any further consideration, still He has provided a ‘rescue’ plan—a means of ‘escape’.

 

Even humanly, the requirements for restoring a broken friendship are easy to understand but difficult for most to do. To restore a lost friendship, the offended person must be willing to forgive by bearing the harm caused by the transgressor, electing not to hold it against him if certain conditions are met. The conditions for forgiveness are that the offending party must repent, confess his sin and want to restore the relationship with the offended party. Since the goal of forgiveness is the restoration of a genuine friendship, the offending party must begin with repentance. When the offending party genuinely repents, confesses, and receives the offer of forgiveness, the estranged parties can reconcile, and again have righteous harmony. If you have ever lost and genuinely restored a meaningful friendship, you know this is the only way to do it.

Now, to restore the broken relationship with a holy God, the offended party, God, requires justice, and ‘payment’ for the sins that have been committed against Him. However, God knows that humanity cannot ever attain His ‘standard’ of perfection—which is what is required to ‘pay’ for any sin against Him—so, God has provided a ‘solution’: His perfect Son, Jesus Christ, fully human and having lived a sinless life, was the sacrificial ‘lamb’ that was able to pay the penalty by dying for every sin of mankind, thereby satisfying the demands of God’s justice, and enabling reconciliation with Him (Romans 3:21-4:6). By means of Jesus’ atoning death, salvation is made available as a gift to be received by faith. We, the offenders, then need to repent and trust in God’s ‘WAY’ of forgiveness—belief in His Son as Savior. When we do, we are reconciled to God for the purpose of fellowship with Him as His beloved ‘children’! Jesus is THE ONLY ‘WAY” God has made for humanity to be reconciled with Him! As the Apostle Peter proclaimed to the Pharisees: “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” [ Acts 4.12 ].

 

Jesus made a ‘trade’. He died in our place. NO ONE else could do that for us. No other religious leader ever accomplished such a thing. Being human, they all need the same kind of ‘grave’ and mercy’ you do that Jesus alone provides.

So, if you put your trust in God’s Rescuer, Jesus, then you can be ‘rescued’. However, if you don’t put your trust in Him, then there is NO HOPE for you, since there is NO OTHER rescue ‘method’ accepted by God!

Sometimes singular problems have singular solutions, and that’s what we’re facing here. Simply put, the reason Jesus is the only way of salvation is because He’s the only one who has solved OUR PROBLEM. He SATISFIES God’s anger. He ‘purchased’ our salvation. Jesus is the ONLY ‘WAY’ for us to be rescued!

 

Thank God there IS ‘A’ solution! Christianity insists it is the only solution: a perfect payment for sin. Sin has to be paid for because God is too holy to overlook it. Something needs to be done about sin, which is what Jesus was doing on that Cross!

 

SATAN ‘BLINDS’ WITH FALSE RELIGIONS
Well, don’t go blaming yourself for everything just yet, since there’s a ‘spiritual’ element to all of this. Satan is putting thoughts into people’s minds and then ‘preventing’ them working actively to dissuade those thoughts. He’s not making them non-religious per se—since most people, by nature, are religious beings—but Satan is ‘redirecting’ that and offering the many religious options to keep them from embracing Christianity. In affect, Satan is actively ‘blinding’ the minds of unbelievers—to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God—so they reject Jesus and His teachings.

[ FYI: For more info about how one can be ‘blinded’, view this previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts post: https://markbesh.wordpress.com/are-you-blind-v252/ ].

 

Satan has an agenda to pull ‘wool’ over the people’s eyes so to speak blinding the eyes of the unbelieving by putting forth that false religions are true, since there is some truth in all of them (“In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” – 2 Corinthians 4:4).

However, the next reason IS your ‘problem’—all of our minds are spiritually blinded by sin. The fact is, we are ‘running’ away from God, not trying to find Him (Romans 3:11). There is no “sincere seeker,” and even if there was, sincerity itself is not enough. We need truth, not merely sincerity. One can believe something and be sincerely wrong.

This illustration may help here:

A demolition company is contacted by the city to destroy a house, and they are given an address. They dutifully go there the next day, destroy the house, and take it away.

The next day, the owner of the house comes home from a business trip and finds that his house is no longer there. Contacting the city, he finds out that they gave the demolition company the wrong address. The city was ‘sincere’, but wrong! We can be 100% sincere, yet still be 100% wrong. Sincerity is important, but it doesn’t determine truth.

[ For more info about sincerity, view this section on my “The Search for Meaning” website: http://4vis.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q6_d1_1of10.html ].

 

The Bible says that, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” [ Proverbs 14:12 ]. How foolish, then, is the nonsense that says, “It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are sincere.” It does matter—it is a matter of life and death… forvever! God doesn’t say, “Pick a card, any card.” God says, “Follow Jesus Christ.”

 

There’s a fascinating story about what can happen when one is ‘DECEIVED’:

It happened back in 1912 to the Titanic. The “unsinkable” ship that was they boasted there’s no way this ship could sink. The fact that the disaster may not have been due so much to human error, but rather sort of a “reflective mirage” that created an optical illusion of a false horizon, ‘deceiving’ the watchman.

A 2012 Smithsonian documentary titled “Titanic’s Final Mystery,” historian Tim Moulton presented his theory about the Titanic’s fate—that night the conditions were ripe for what they call a “super refraction,” and it prevented the Titanic’s lookout from actually seeing the iceberg—because it created this false horizon, so they just kept going.

The parallel to where we are today—with everything that’s happening in the world—is that it’s a very deceiving ‘night’ and people can’t see the prophetic ‘iceberg’ due to this false horizon, vis-a-vis a strong and powerful ’delusion’ about the End Times.

The parallel is even more terrifying in the sense that those on the Titanic really truly honestly believed it was unsinkable (because that’s what they were told) Many people actually wanted to stay on the Titanic rather than get into the lifeboats—they thought it was safer to stay on the Titanic—and that’s why many perished.

This is an apt description of where we are today, with many Christians believing that there’s a lot more time before The Tribulation and go on enjoying life, avoiding the ‘lifeboat’ Jesus Christ.

There are some haunting parallels that we are on a sinking ‘ship’ and clearly, Jesus is the ‘lifeboat’ (salvation), but many would rather keep on ‘partying’.

 

Sadly many people today—even Christians—are like the lookout on the Titanic. They don’t believe they’ve been deceived. They believe that all religions are true and any of them will get them to Heaven. As I have shown, that could not be FURTHER from the truth!

As a related ‘aside’, this is the kind of ‘DECEPTION’ I have been discussing in the past few posts: The ‘signs of the times’ are telling us that the earth is exhibiting catastrophic “birth pangs”—natural disasters worldwide are happening with greater frequency and greater intensity—and Jesus spoke to His disciples about the ‘signs’ of the end times that would herald HIS RETURN (Matthew 24:5ff). He mentioned a great variety of signs—spiritual, natural, societal, and world political—and then compared them to “birth pangs” (Matthew 24:8).

Just like what happened to the Titanic, ‘danger’ is just ahead but I see people just going about their lives. They’re ‘busy’ and they have no idea what’s ahead. Maybe this CORONAVIRUS is the thing that’s going to GET PEOPLE’S ATTENTION!

 

[ FYI: The following previous “Life’s Deep Thoughts posts give details of the “End Times”:

“Are You ‘Blind’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/are-you-blind-v252/

“‘Heed The Warning!”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/heed-the-warning-v251/

“Being A ‘Watchman’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/being-a-watchman-v250/

“Last ‘Generation’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/last-generation-v249

“Mankind’s ‘Destiny’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/mankinds-destiny-v247/

“‘Final’ Tribulation”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/final-tribulation-v246/

“‘Blessed’ Hope”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/blessed-hope-v245/ ]

 

WRAP UP
Nothing is more offensive to the typical modern American ear than Jesus’ claim of exclusivity expressed in statements like, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). How arrogant! How narrow-minded! How intolerant! How can Christians make this claim?

So, instead of giving in to a knee-jerk reaction of offense to such a claim, we should ask ourselves, “Why does Jesus make such a claim? What does His claim of exclusivity say about Him and about us?” It turns out that Jesus’ statement is not arbitrary; it is grounded in solid biblical doctrine.

 

There are a whole bunch of other places—and in many different ways—that Jesus makes the same claim He made here in the Book of John. Not only did He ‘make’ the claim, but He taught this to those who followed after Him. Peter, after Jesus ascended to Heaven, was speaking to the Sanhedrin—very religious people who executed Jesus—and said: “There is salvation in none other, for there is no other name under heaven, given among men, by which we must be saved” [ Acts 4:12 ].

So, this is something that is ‘foundational’ to the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth.

 

Now, here’s a second thing: Jesus said this for a reason. Human beings have a terrible problem. They are ‘lost’ and in rebellion against God, and God is angry. That anger WILL BE appeased because He’s a just and holy God.

 

Some people don’t agree with the ‘anger’ part of God. They say He’s a God of love. Well, I agree. He IS a God of love. But ask yourself, “Why is He a God of love?” Well, because He is a GOOD God.

The same reasoning God is loving, is the same reason He is angry. He cannot let evil go unpunished. However, since He is good, He has made a ‘provision’ for forgiveness—and that comes through One Person, Jesus, because He is ONLY ONE that can ‘purchase’ that forgiveness.

This illustration might help you understand this:

“There’s a story about a judge whose own son was brought before her for a crime he had committed. The judge felt a deep grief that her son would violate the laws upon which she based her entire life. Tears welled in her eyes and she listened painfully as the evidence against her son was presented. The courtroom sat in silence wondering how the judge would rule. Would she just give him a reprimand in an act of mercy? Would she give him the minimum penalty for the offense? Much to their surprise, she handed down the maximum fine, upholding the law to its fullest degree. The son was in shock, for he knew that he could not pay the fine and was anguished at the thought of imprisonment. He looked up at her in disbelief.

But then something happened that nobody expected. She stepped down from the bench, took off her judge’s robe, told her son how much she loved him and then paid, out of her own pocket, the fine she had just handed down. Not everyone understood what she had done. As a judge, she showed her commitment to honor the law to its fullest, but she then stepped down from that seat of honor and showed her love for her child. Her son never understood the depth of his mother’s commitment to the law until that moment, and, until that moment, he never knew the depth of his mother’s love for him. He felt deep sorrow for the pain he had caused her and for those he had hurt by his act of crime. With his head bowed, and his tears flowing freely, he asked for her forgiveness, which she willingly and freely gave to him.”

This story is actually an allegory for God’s relationship with us. Our crimes are our willful departure from the laws given to us by God for the way we are to live. When we break those laws, God is grieved and pained. Inevitably there are natural consequences of our failings that hurt others, sometimes affecting lives for generations to come. This is why God’s laws say that the penalty for sin is death. His holy nature demands that He not just let us off the hook or go easy on us. So what did He do? He came down from heaven to us in Jesus Christ to help us to understand His laws, to show us the depth of His love for us and to pay the price of our sin with His own life. This never made sense to me until I understood how I fell short of God’s standards for life and how deeply that had hurt those who depended on me the most. But once I knew the love and forgiveness of God, I turned away in disgust from my deepest sins and understood, in a way, I never had before, how to love and forgive others.

 

Jesus made a ‘trade’—He died in OUR PLACE. No one else did that for us, either Jesus takes the payment for our crimes against God or we take the payment. The math is that simple. No other religious leader accomplished such a thing. They all need the kind of thing that Jesus alone provides. And so, if we put our trust in God’s Rescuer, then we are rescued. And if we don’t put our trust in Him, then there is no hope because there is no other rescue.
Sometimes singular problems have singular solutions and that’s what we’re facing here. Put most simply, the reason Jesus is the only way of salvation is because He’s the only one who solved the problem. He satisfied God’s anger. He purchased our salvation. He is the only way for us to be rescued.

The apparently arrogant claims of classical Christianity are not made lightly, and cannot be held thoughtlessly, in today’s climate of opinion. They are held out of a deep conviction that they are an integral part of the most life-changing story the world has ever heard. It is unfair to dismiss Christianity’s exclusive claims out of hand without considering the person and story of Jesus, and understanding why Christians make those claims. A convert to Christianity from Islam spoke at the New Delhi Assembly of the World Council of Churches and expressed the heart of Christian conviction when he said:

“I am a Christian for one reason alone—the absolute worship-ability of Jesus Christ. By that word I mean that I have found no other being in the universe who compels my adoration as he has done.

It is this Jesus—by turns intriguing, challenging, infuriating and delightful—who is the key to this whole question.”

 

The Bible says that Jesus is the only way to heaven for several reasons:

– Jesus was “chosen by God” to be the Savior.
– Jesus is the only One to have come down from heaven and returned there.
– He is the only person to have lived a perfect human life.
– He is the only sacrifice for sin.
– He alone fulfilled the Law and the Prophets.
– He is the only man to have conquered death forever.
– He is the only Mediator between God and man.
– He is the only man whom God has “exalted… to the highest place”.
– Jesus spoke of Himself as the only way to heaven in several places
– He presented Himself as the object of faith.
– He said His words are life.
– He promised that those who believe in Him will have eternal life.
– He is the gate of the sheep; the bread of life; and the resurrection.
– No one else can rightly claim those titles.

 

At one point in Jesus’ ministry, many of the crowd were turning their backs on Him and leaving in hopes of finding another savior. Jesus asked the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” [ John 6:67b ]. Peter’s reply is exactly right: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God” [ John 6:68–69 ].

I pray that you have or will share in Peter’s faith that eternal life resides only in Jesus Christ!

 

Author and Christian apologist, Greg Koukl writes a “Redux” of a famous ‘wager’ that Blaise Pascal offered his detractors which might be valuable for this who may still be tempted to sit on the ‘fence’ on this issue of Jesus’ exclusivity:

“Blaise Pascal, the 17th Century French scientist and Christian sage, once offered a famous wager to his detractors. Based merely on a kind of cost/benefit risk assessment, Pascal argued it is smart to “bet” on God. If the Christian is right, he gains eternal life. If wrong, he passes into non-existence, nothing lost. The atheist, on the other hand, gains nothing substantial if correct, and if incorrect suffers eternally for his error.

I think the wisdom of Pascal’s wager applies to inclusivism. If we preach the message of Jesus, the apostles, and the early church—that faith in Christ is necessary for salvation—and we are wrong, what is the downside? If we proclaim that those separated from the gospel are also separated from Christ and have no hope and are without God in the world (Ephesians 2:12), yet we are mistaken, Heaven will be more crowded than we thought. If we erroneously preach exclusivism, the upshot is good news, not bad.

However, what if we take the side of inclusivism and err? What if we are wrong when we teach that the person who has heard the gospel of Christ does not have to answer its challenge by humbling himself before the cross? What if we say that sincere people will be accepted by God in the pursuit of their own religious convictions? What if we discourage other Christians from “forcing” their views on “good” Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc.? What if we do any of these things and it turns out their rejection of Christ—either active or passive—seals their fate: judgment and an eternity of suffering for their crimes against God? What is the downside then? Only that we have given false hope to the lost and have prevented them from seriously considering the only salvation available to them. If you are an inclusivist and you are wrong, that is very bad news.

It seems we have a simple choice. We can be broad-minded and advance the broad way, a path Jesus said leads to destruction. Or we can endure being called “narrow-minded” and preach the narrow way, the only path that Jesus said leads to life. I, for one, would not want to be on the inclusivist’s side of this issue.”

The claims of Jesus can be ‘true for me’ and ‘true for you’ even though you don’t believe them. They can be ‘false for you’ and ‘false for me’ even if I do believe them. Under no circumstance, though, can they be half and half. Jesus is either Savior for all, or He is the savior of none!

 

The biblical claim that Jesus is God’s Messiah for the world (John 3:16, et al.) is either true or false. If true, then those who trust in Him are pardoned and those who do not are still in their sin. If false, then Jesus fails to save anyone, unbeliever or believer. Those who reject Him face no consequence for doing so, and those who trust Him have trusted in vain.

It is not a reasonable option, however, to claim that Jesus is one’s own savior but not the world’s. The claims of Christ can be true for me and true for you even though you don’t believe them. Or they can be false for you and also false for me even if I do believe them. Under no circumstance, though, can they be half and half. Jesus either is the savior for all, or He is the savior of none.

On the one hand, Christianity is the narrowest, MOST EXCLUSIVE of religions because it insists that Jesus is the only way to God. You have to believe in him to get eternal life. On the other hand, Christianity is the MOST INCLUSIVE of religions because it offers Jesus to everyone. Out of his great love God sent his only Son Jesus into the world. ANYONE who believes in Jesus will live forever with God. There are no racial, social or economic criteria that prevent anyone from joining God’s family. Christianity is both universal and exclusive. “There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men” (1 Tim. 2:5-6). Although Jesus is the ONLY WAY to God, he is AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE!

 

It’s popular to believe there are many pathways to heaven. It makes sense why people want this to be true! It’s comforting to believe we’ll all spend eternity together rather than believe some will get to heaven and some won’t.

The problem is that the Bible never bends to mainstream culture, and the Bible’s teachings aren’t consistent with this feel-good theology. It is very clear in detailing the one and only way to get to heaven – Jesus, who said “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

It might be an ‘inconvenient’ truth, but there is indeed a SINGLE ‘SOURCE’ to salvation. However, for whatever reason, God has an ‘EXCLUSIVE’ PLAN!
The thing is, God’s way of salvation is by God’s SHEER GRACE. God grants us the high privilege of knowing Him and His forgiveness solely by His free love and mercy. We could never do enough good works to merit that. Also, this salvation is received by faith alone, not by human merit (Galatians 2).

Saying that Christianity is right does not mean that Christians themselves are right about everything, or that they are innately superior to non-Christians. What Christianity teaches is that both Christians and non-Christians “have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and need salvation, which comes only by the grace of God, not the individual’s actions or merits (Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Corinthians 1:26-31).

 

Jesus gives every person a choice to make: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36). So “life” is that which is eternal, and wrath is received in Hell, but it’s also eternal, but more like an eternal death or dying (even destruction).

It’s kind of like if you were on a sinking ship, and the captain said that the only way you can be saved right now is to get into the lifeboat—an absolute claim—since he knows there are no other boats, helicopters or submarines in the area. Now, you have a decision to make: trust the captain and be saved, or do your own thing and be ‘condemned’ to die.

 

What then of those who reject Jesus and His words? Well, Jesus addressed this by saying, “Unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in you sins” [ John 8:24 ]. Our eternal destiny is ‘determined’ by whether we acknowledge the true identity of Jesus. Those who believe in Jesus shall be saved from sin and know God (Acts 16:31). Those who do not believe in Him will not know God but will be eternally damned (Mark 16:16; John 3:18). That is total exclusivity. Jesus emphasized that when He said, “Everyone therefore who shall confess him before My Father who is in Heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33). Not only is Jesus the ONE ‘WAY’ to God, but He is also the Judge on Judgement Day. Those who trust and know Jesus go to Heaven; all others go to Hell! Jesus Himself said so in uncertain terms: “And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” [ Matthew 7:23 ] and “‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” 25:41b ]. Terrifying!!!

So according to Jesus, there’s no other path to God. If you think highly of Jesus, eventually you will have to ‘grapple’ with His claims about Himself.

Jesus said, “If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” [ John 8:24 ]. Here sin is the ‘DISEASE’ and we are ALL ‘INFECTED’—with Jesus being the ‘CURE’. Jesus is the only ‘medicine’ that can cure the spiritual disease—sin—that is ‘killing’ us (Romans 6:23). Jesus is the only One that offers both the ‘diagnosis’ and the ‘cure’. He’s the ‘Great Physician’!

We can try to ‘scrub away’ our sin with good deeds, but it won’t work (Ephesians 2:8-9). We can ignore it and hope it goes away, but it won’t. We can sincerely think there’s another way of dealing with it, but we will be sincerely wrong! The truth is that only the ‘Great Physician’ offers a treatment that will erase the ‘stain’ of sin. When we turn to Him, we’re not being narrow-minded, we’re acting rationally in accordance with the evidence.

 

So, what makes Jesus so special? Well, there are two things. First, is who HE IS. For one thing, He was a perfect man. He was the only human being ever to go through life without ever sinning once! That separates Him from all other people, including all the so-called “great religious leaders.”

Jesus Christ was God in the flesh. He Himself said so (John 8:24, 58), as did His followers (John 1:1, 20:28; Hebrews 1:8; 2 Peter 1:1). He was thus the “God-Man.” He was the only man to be God, and this was the only time God became a man. This too distinguishes Him from Buddha, Mohammed, and all other religious men. Being God in the flesh, He alone is the perfect revelation of God (Hebrews 1:3). God is invisible, but in Jesus some have ‘seen’ God (John 1:18; Colossians 1:15).

Secondly, Jesus is unique because of what HE DID. He died as our substitute: “Christ died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3). Remember, He was sinless and did not deserve to die. None of us can pay our debt to God, even by death and Hell. But Jesus paid our debt for us by dying on the Cross and suffering the wrath of God in our place. Furthermore, He rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:4), and will return again to Earth one day!

 

Christianity does not teach that people who ‘call’ themselves “Christians” deserve to go to Heaven. Rather, it teaches that no one deserves to go to heaven, because we have all done wrong during our lives (Rom 3:23). We can gain admittance to heaven by repenting of our wrongs, accepting Jesus Christ’s death as payment for our wrongs and deciding to follow and worship him as Lord. The principle is that Jesus is the only way to God, not any particular church or denomination (John 6:40). Thus, salvation is accessible to everyone and is intended by God for everyone

 

One of the most brilliant men in past generations, C.S. Lewis, said that your life is the sum total of your choices. “Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different than it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a heavenly creature or a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state of the other.”

It’s your choice. Now, you’re free to choose, but you’re not free to choose the ‘consequences’ of your choice. After you choose, then your choice chooses ‘for’ you. EVERY choice changes you.—ESPECIALLY this one about Jesus being THE ONLY ‘WAY’ to Heaven!

 

When it comes to all that He said about Himself, either He is a counterfeit and a fraud, or He is exactly who He says He is—the eternal Son of the living God, the Savior of the world, and the One who will someday judge each one of us.

 

Truly inclusive: While many people today find this message intolerably ‘exclusive’, we should point them to the RADICAL ‘INCLUSIVITY’ of the Gospel. The Gospel confronts all people as sinners and offers forgiveness and eternal life to all those who turn from their sin and trust in Christ. It doesn’t matter how good or bad you’ve been. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what your religious background is. If you repent of your sin and trust in Christ you will be saved.

 

The Bible clearly teaches that Christ is the only way and that outside of faith in Him, all will perish. This should not inspire bigotry or hatred, but rather a humble love for the lost which beckons believers to share the message of God’s salvation to a broken world. (THAT’S WHY I writing this post!).

God, in His great wisdom, has chosen ONE ‘WAY’ of how people may come to Him.

 

To receive God’s free gift of salvation, we must ‘look’ to Jesus and Jesus alone. We must trust in Jesus’ death on the cross as our payment for sin and in His resurrection. “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Romans 3:22).

At one point in Jesus’ ministry, many of the crowd were turning their backs on Him and leaving in hopes of finding another savior. Jesus asked the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” [ John 6:67b ]. Peter’s reply is exactly right: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God” [ John 6:68–69 ]. May we all share Peter’s faith that eternal life resides only in Jesus Christ.

 

Will this ‘offer’ of salvation ever expire? Well, eventually, yes. BUT, God has given you all the information you need to make the choice for salvation. The rest is up to you! He doesn’t want anyone to be permanently separated from Him.

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” [ 2 Peter 3:9 ].

However, not knowing how long you have on this earth—and you can only make this decision while you are alive—ket me STRONGLY SUGGEST that you repent and believe NOW!!!

 

[ FYI: Consider reading the past six months of the “Life’s Deep Thoughts” posts about what the Bible has to say about the “End Times” and the coming “Tribulation” ].

 

Will you take the next step now? Will you trust Him to be your Lord and Savior?

Put your life into His hands now. Do what He asks you to do. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He asks you to believe in Him. He asks you to honestly confess your sins to Him and to receive His complete forgiveness. He has a special gift that He wants to give you—eternal life.

 

So, what are we to do with Jesus’ claims about Himself? Do we even need to decide? Jesus declared, “Whoever is not with me is against me” [ Matthew 12:30a ]. In other words, neutrality is impossible!

This simple fact confronted a man named Sheldon Vanauken after he had carried on a lengthy correspondence about Christianity with the great Oxford professor C. S. Lewis. In his book entitled “A Severe Mercy,” he wrote that he came to the chilling realization that he “could not go back”:

“I had regarded Christianity as a sort of fairy tale; and I had neither accepted nor rejected Jesus, since I had never, in fact, encountered Him. Now I had.
The position was not, as I had been comfortably thinking all these months, merely a question of whether I was to accept the Messiah or not. It was a question of whether I was to accept Him—or reject. My God! There was a gap behind me, too. Perhaps the leap to acceptance was a horrifying gamble—but what of the leap to rejection? There might be no certainty that Christ was God—but, by God, there was no certainty that He was not… If I were to reject, I would certainly face the haunting, terrible thought: ‘Perhaps it’s true—and I have rejected my God!’ This was not to be borne. I could not reject Jesus.”

Vanauken decided that there was only one thing he could do: “I turned away and flung myself over the gap towards Jesus.” He wrote in his journal, “I choose to believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—in Christ, my lord and my God. Christianity has the ring, the feel, of unique truth. Of essential truth. By it, life is made full instead of empty, meaningful instead of meaningless.”

The same decision faces each of us. Jesus challenges us with his claim that he is God in human form, the Savior of the world, and the source of life—both now and forever. How will YOU ‘RESPOND’ to Jesus?

 

Jesus LOVES an honest skeptic. He extends to them the invitation, “Come now, let us reason together… Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” [ Isaiah 1:18a ]. God has provided this COMPLETE FORGIVENESS through Jesus, and LONGS to give it to you!

 

What remains is YOUR RESPONSE to His invitation. If you are uncertain, ask God to reveal Himself to you and to show you the truth about Jesus. He will open your ‘eyes’ to see that Jesus is the Messiah who died for your sin and rose from the dead. I URGE YOU TO DO YOUR PART by accepting Him as your Savior and making Him your Lord and Master!

 

IT IS CLEAR that the Bible presents that faith in Jesus is THE ONLY ‘WAY’ to God. So, what are you going to do with that information? What are you going to ‘do’ with Jesus?

Are you going to allow the philosopher’s deceiving words to mistrust Jesus? Will you let the musings of humans carry more ‘weight’ that the message of God? PLEASE DON’T!

Take Jesus at His word. Repent of your sins and put your faith in Jesus’ sacrifice for those sins. You will find at there is an ‘indescribable’ joy at comes from being set free form the penalty of sin.

So, again, what is your decision about Who Jesus really is? It is THE MOST IMPORTANT question you will EVER ANSWER!!!

[ FYI: For more details on this “most important” decision you will ever make, consider reading this on my “The Search for Meaning” website:
http://4vis.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q12_d1_1of10.html ].

 

The ‘natural’ man will not get the idea that Jesus is God and the ONLY ‘WAY’ to the Father—this ‘insight’ comes from ‘Heaven’. Jesus said to the Apostle Peter: “‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven’” [ Matthew 16:17 ]. We must all be on our ‘faces’ BEGGING God to provide the ‘gift’ of atonement through Jesus, and then ‘instill’ the Holy Spirit into us so that we can ‘hear’ His ‘voice’: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” [ John 10:27 ].

 

I pray you will make this question about Jesus’ exclusivity of being the ONLY ‘WAY’ to God and Heaven your ONLY AMBITION until you answer it for yourself, and you DO SO with all the VORACITY you can muster!

 

[ Excerpts from: Tim Barnett; Mike Fabarez; John MacArthur; Michael Houdmann; Greg Koukl; William Lane Craig; Kevin Alan Lewis; Curt Daniel; Norton Herbst; Brett Kunkle; Frank Turek; Ken Boa; Bob Perry; Bill Kraftson ]

 

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CORONAVIRUS PRAYER:
Father, I just want to pray right now, first for all those people that have been affected by the Coronavirus—either having lost loved ones or who are sick themselves right now. Comfort them, take away their fears and anxiety, and give them peace.

I also want to pray for those on the ‘front lines’—doctors, nurses, and assistants—who are putting their lives and health at risk by treating others. Also protect those who are providing and distributing food and crucial supplies.

I want to also pray for the medical researchers, that they would have a ‘breakthrough’ in developing a vaccine to treat and kill the Coronavirus.

I also pray for wisdom for the world leaders to know the proper things to do during this crisis.

Finally, I pray that you will help families to adjust to new ways of life, calm their uncertain financial strain, and provide for their needs. Please heal our and the world economy quickly.

Father, knowing that everything is in Your sovereign control, I humbly plead that You stop the spreading of this pandemic. Your Word says that You answer and deliver people then they call on Your name. Father, we are humbly calling.

May those whose don’t know You realize that they are not in control of their lives, You are, and that they repent of their sins and put their trust in Your Son, Jesus, for the salvation of their souls.

I ask all this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Responding Well to the Coronavirus Pandemic

How does God want us to respond to the Coronavirus pandemic? Find out how to please God and honor Christ in these trying times from God’s Word.

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6OJMyGkR7s

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After the Sermon: Responding Well to the Coronavirus Pandemic

In this After the Sermon episode, Pastor Jon encourages loving our neighbors through the Coronavirus pandemic.

Sermon Overview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UugIipLQnE8

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Trust God and Prepare Wisely During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Does preparation during difficult times display a lack of trust in God? How should we prepare for disaster? And how do we shift the focus off of self and toward others? Proverbs 22:3 says “The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, But the naive go on, and are punished for it.

Sermon Review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvNhOVmcN_o

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RELATED POSTS:

Is There Absolute Truth?:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/jul-02-v41/

What’s Wrong With World?”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/oct-02-v44/

What If It’s True?”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/jan-03-v47/

’True’ Sacrifice”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/apr-07-v98/

What Is ’Truth’?“:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/feb-09-v120/
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/mar-09-v121/
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/apr-09-v122/
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/may-09-v123/

An ‘Idea’ Worth Spreading”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/an-idea-worth-spreading-v129/

It’s Your ‘Choice’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/its-your-choice-v141/

It Is ‘Finished’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/it-is-finished-v158/

Terminally ‘Ill’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/terminally-ill-v160/

‘Trusted’ Prophesies”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/trusted-prophecies-v167/

Greatest ‘Comeback’”:
https://markbesh.wordpress.com/greatest-comeback-ever-v217/

 

‘PRAYER’ OF REPENTANCE
In the Bible, there is a parable that Jesus told about a Pharisee and a tax collector praying in the Temple. He notes that the tax collector didn’t even dare to lift his eyes toward Heaven as he prayed. Instead he “beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner’”—and Jesus said that the tax collector “went home justified,” he had been “born again” and ‘reconciled’ by God. (Luke 18:9-14).

If you are ‘sensing’ something like that right now, let me strongly encourage you to HUMBLE YOURSELF, CRY OUT to God, and PLEAD for Him to mercifully ‘SAVE’ YOU! None of us have a ‘claim’ on our salvation, nor do we have any ‘works’ that would cause us to deserve it or earn it—it is purely a gift of Divine grace—and all any of us can do is ask. So, CONFESS YOUR SINS and acknowledge to God that you have no hope for Heaven apart from what He provides through Jesus.

There is no ‘formula’ or certain words for this. So just talk to God, in your own words—He knows your ‘heart’. If you are genuinely sincere, and God does respond to your plea, one will usually have a sense of joy and peace.

Jesus said, “He that comes to Me, I will not cast out” [ John 6:37 ].

[ FYI: This is a great sermon on the “Call to Repentance” by John MacArthur from his book “The Gospel According to Jesus”: https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/90-22/the-call-to-repentance
(Transcript: http://www.spiritedesign.com/TheCallToRepentance-JohnMacArthur(Jul-27-2019).pdf) ].

[ NOTE: If you have ‘tasted the kindness of the Lord’, please e-mail me—I would love to CELEBRATE with you, and help you get started on your ‘journey’ with Jesus! ].

 

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RESOURCES:

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Only Jesus: What It Really Means to Be Saved
By: John F. MacArthur

What does it mean to be a Christian? What did Jesus mean when He said, “Follow me”?

Based on his classic bestseller, The Gospel According to Jesus, pastor and author John MacArthur explores the gospel Jesus himself preached–the radical message his followers risked everything to live out. Only Jesus helps readers gain a thorough and proper understanding of the true way to salvation by examining questions like these:

– What does it mean to be saved?
– What is saving grace?
– Why do Christians call Jesus “Lord”?
– Why does the Cross matter?
– What does it mean to be born again?
– What did Jesus teach about eternal life?
– What do “sin” and “repentance” mean?
– What is the role of the Holy Spirit in salvation?

Only Jesus is perfect for Christians who want a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ or seekers who want to know who Jesus is and what he taught. John MacArthur will guide you in discovering how Jesus’ actual words and teachings call us to salvation and new life through the power of the Holy Spirit. Drastic changes will result in our hearts and lives when we truly answer Christ’s call to discipleship.

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Why One Way?
By: John MacArthur

A concise guide to understanding how and why the ancient Christian faith makes sense for today and a blueprint for communicating truth to a “truthless” and cynical generation.The book is centered around 6 key principles: objectivity, rationality, veracity, authority, incompatibility and integrity. In the ultimate apologetic, John MacArthur presents a case for Christianity that serves as a logical explanation as much as a solid defense.

—————-
Jesus: The Only Way to God: Must You Hear The Gospel To Be Saved?
By: John Piper

Bestselling author offers a timely plea for the evangelical church to consider what is at stake in surrendering the unique, universal place of Jesus in salvation.

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Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims of the Christian Message
By: Ravi Zacharias

In a world with so many religions, why Jesus?

We are living in a time when you can believe anything, as long as you do not claim it to be true. In the name of “tolerance,” our postmodern culture embraces everything from Eastern mysticism to New Age spirituality. But as Ravi Zacharias points out, such unquestioning acceptance of all things spiritual is absurd. All religions, plainly and simply, cannot be true.

Jesus Among Other Gods provides the answers to the most fundamental claims about Christianity, such as:

Aren’t all religions fundamentally the same?
Was Jesus who He claimed to be?
Can one study the life of Christ and demonstrate conclusively that He was and is the way, the truth, and the life?

In each chapter, Zacharias considers a unique claim that Jesus made and then contrasts the truth of Jesus with the founders of Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism with compelling insight and passionate conviction. In addition to an impressive breadth of reading and study, he shares his personal journey from despair and meaninglessness to his discovery that Jesus is who He said He is.

“In Jesus Among Other Gods, Ravi Zacharias demonstrates that he is one of the most intellectually gifted as well as spiritually sensitive writers of today’s leading apologists for the Christian faith. Zacharias brings alive the unique power of the claims of Jesus about himself and the utter relevance of his message today for the human condition.”
— David Aikman, author of Great Souls

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Only One Way: Christian Witness in an Age of Inclusion
By: Michael L. Johnson

Sometimes even believers become uncomfortable with the exclusive claims of Christianity. But is that discomfort based on actual doubt of the truth of these claims—or do we simply feel inadequate to defend them? Here notable pastor-scholars defend our faith in one God, one Savior, and one truth. Exposing the failings of postmodernism, they remind us of our reasons for confidence—and strengthen us for the challenges ahead.

—————-
Only One Way?: Reaffirming the Exclusive Truth Claims of Christianity
By: Richard D. Phillips

Centuries ago Christ made a claim that disconcerts as many today as it did then-he is the way of salvation. Ironically, he spoke these words to comfort his disciples on the night of his arrest. Richard Phillips is just one of six highly respected authors seeking to reaffirm these comforting words and other exclusive claims of Christianity for today’s reader.

Each chapter proclaims, defends, and explains the Christian truths that are most directly challenged by postmodern relativism. Our God is the God; Jesus is not merely a savior, but the only Savior; and the truth revealed in the Bible is divine truth. As readers grasp these essential ideas and their implications they will be able to witness powerfully by articulating these claims with clarity, conviction, and love.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1581348010/

—————-
Is Jesus the Only Way?
By: Philip Graham Ryken

We’ve all heard people say it: “The problem with Christians is that they think Jesus is the only way to heaven.” Even reason says: We go to the college of our choice, watch the cable channel of our choice, and eat the food of our choice. So why can’t we pray to the god of our choice and get to heaven by any means we choose?

These are fair questions. Questions that demand an answer if Christians are going to insist that their claims are true―and that all other religions’ claims about salvation are thereby false. They are questions Philip Ryken confronts head-on in this accessible book.

Within these pages, the four essential Christian beliefs that pluralists find most troublesome are explained in clear, everyday terms. Ryken argues not only that Jesus is the only way, but also why this must be true.

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The Biblical Jesus: The Only Way To Heaven
By: Dr. John McElhaney

Is the Jesus you are following the Jesus of the bible? Many people today have a view of Jesus in their mind that they have created by their own imagination. It is a picture of the Jesus they want, not the biblical Jesus. The Jesus of the bible is God, has always been God and will always be God. He is creator and sustainer of all. He needs nothing to exist, but everything created can not exist without him. He died for the sin of the world, but he had no sin of his own. He came the first time as the lamb of God, he is coming back again as the lion. He is also the one who will judge everyone one day, at the judgment seat if you are a believer, or at the great white throne judgment if you are not a believer. He is going to set on David’s throne one day and rule. He is the alpha and the omega, the first and last, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

—————-
Is Jesus the Only Way to God?
By: James Emery White

Isn’t it awfully narrow and intolerant for Christians to believe that Jesus is the only way to God? James Emery White responds to common questions.

—————-
Why Jesus Said He Is The Only Way
By: Henk Kruger

It was around 30 – 33 A.D. when a man who was known as Jesus of Nazareth made an unprecedented and highly controversial claim: He claimed that He was the only way to God, and that no one could go to heaven unless they went through Him. This statement was so preposterous that He was crucified!In March 2017, a British court convicted two street preachers for preaching the Bible in public. The prosecutor in the case told the court that preaching Jesus as the only way to God cannot be truth.Understandably, the notion that Jesus is the only way is and will always be offensive to many. Unfortunately those who believe this to be truth often fail to communicate why they believe this in an effective manner. Furthermore, those who don’t believe this often reject the statement without trying to obtain understanding first.The purpose of this book is to look at why Jesus said He is the only way to heaven. This will leave Christians equipped with a better answer as to why Jesus said this, and those who reject the statement can do so from a place of being accurately informed.

—————-
Is Jesus the Only Savior?
By: Ronald H. Nash

Today many question the idea that there is only one way to heaven (or that Christianity is the only true faith) — even some people who identify themselves as Christians. In a world where we are likely to have neighbors of differing faiths, to profess Jesus as the only Savior may be viewed as arrogance and intolerance. Religious “pluralism” is gaining popularity. Ronald Nash believes that one’s position on the issue is crucial to an understanding of the Christian faith and sees pluralism as a significant threat to Christianity. He explores the divergent views of pluralism (“No”) and inclusivism (“Yes, but”) and makes a case for exclusivism (Yes, period”). In doing so, Nash especially confronts the pluralism of John Hick and the inclusivism of Clark Pinnock and John Sanders. He presents his case compellingly, in accessible terms and a readable style.

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None Other: Discovering the God of the Bible
By: John MacArthur

The Bible’s teaching on God’s love, holiness, and sovereignty is often met with questions about human responsibility, suffering, and evil. If God is in control of everything, can we make free choices? If God is good and all–powerful, how can we account for natural disasters and moral atrocities? Answers to these questions are often filled with technical jargon and personal assumptions that don’t take into account the full scope of biblical truth.

In None Other: Discovering the God of the Bible, Dr. John MacArthur shows that the best way to discover the one true God is not through philosophical discourse but a careful study of Scripture―the primary place where God has chosen to reveal Himself.

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Not All Roads Lead to Heaven
By: Dr. Robert Jeffress

Almost 60 percent of those in American evangelical churches believe that many religions can lead to eternal life. But if Jesus is to be trusted when He says that no one comes to the Father except through Him, the church is failing in its mission. And it’s not hard to guess why. An exclusive Jesus just isn’t popular in our inclusive world.

True compassion for non-Christians lies not in letting them go their way while we go ours but rather in sharing the only true way with them. Dr. Robert Jeffress calls on Christians to recover the exclusive claims of the One whom they trust as Lord and Savior, not as a way to keep people out of heaven but as the only way to invite them in. He tackles questions such as

· Can people be saved who have never heard of Christ?
· What about those who worship God by another name?
· Do all children go to heaven when they die?

If you want to confidently and compassionately share the one true way of salvation with those in your life, or if you simply need to restore your confidence in the gospel message, this is the book for you.

Book Overview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-j5GxYvj3k

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The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus
By: Lee Strobel

A SEASONED JOURNALIST CHASES DOWN THE BIGGEST STORY IN HISTORY

Is there credible evidence that
Jesus of Nazareth really is the Son of God?

Retracing his own spiritual journey from atheism to faith, Lee Strobel, former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, cross-examines a dozen experts with doctorates who are specialists in the areas of old manuscripts, textual criticism, and biblical studies.

Strobel challenges them with questions like How reliable is the New Testament? Does evidence for Jesus exist outside the Bible? Is there any reason to believe the resurrection was an actual event?

Strobel’s tough, point-blank questions make this bestselling book read like a captivating, fast-paced novel. But it’s not fiction. It’s a riveting quest for the truth about history’s most compelling figure.

What will your verdict be in the The Case for Christ?

“Lee Strobel probes with bulldog-like tenacity the evidence for the truth of biblical Christianity.”

Bruce M. Metzger, PhD, Professor of New Testament, Emeritus, Princeton Theological Seminary

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Questions Skeptics Ask About Messianic Prophecy

Many skeptics doubt there was ever a link between Jesus and the prophets of Israel—arguing that Scripture has been taken out of context or changed to suit the Christian’s purpose. In this booklet, author Herb Vander Lugt takes a closer look at the questions raised by skeptics and shares insight from the Word to help you see Jesus in both the Old and New Testaments.

[ RBC Ministries – Discovery Series (Our Daily Bread) ]

Questions Skeptics Ask About Messianic Prophecy

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I’m Glad You Asked: In-Depth Answers to Difficult Questions about Christianity
By Ken Boa and Larry Moody

Everything Your Friends Wanted to Know about Christianity and You Were Afraid They’d Ask Such questions as:

– How can there be a good God with all the suffering in the world?
– Isn’t religion just an emotional crutch?
– How do we even know there is a God?

How many times have you been placed in an uncomfortable situation when faced with skeptical questions about Christianity? You know Christianity is true, but you are unable to communicate the truth effectively. The Apostle Peter told us to always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks us about the hope that is in us. I’m Glad You Asked can help you become that able defender of the faith. This classic book, first published in 1982, explains the alternatives to the Christian position and then demonstrates why the Christian worldview is valid. It provides answers to the basic questions people ask and guides you logically through these questions with helpful flow charts. And it shows, most importantly, how each objection is really an opportunity to present the Gospel.

Dr. Ken Boa is involved in a varied ministry of lifestyle evangelism and discipleship, teaching, writing, and speaking. His other books include Cults, World Religions, and the Occult, also from Victor.

Larry Moody is the president of Search Ministries, a para-church organization that assists adults in the process of lifestyle evangelism and discipleship through modeling and training.

https://www.amazon.com/Glad-You-Asked-Depth-Christianity/dp/1564763870

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The Popular Handbook of Archaeology and the Bible: Discoveries That Confirm the Reliability of Scripture
By Joseph M. Holden and Norman Geisler

From two leading Christian apologists, here is a fascinating survey of the most important Old and New Testament archaeological discoveries through the ages.

Biblical archaeology has always stirred excitement among believers and curiosity among unbelievers. The evidence dug up with a spade can speak volumes–and serve as a powerful testimony of the reliability of Scripture.

Norman Geisler and Joseph Holden have put together an impressive array of finds that confirm the biblical peoples and events of ages past. In a user-friendly format written in popular style, they…

– Examine the latest finds and explain their significance
– Includes more than 150 of photographs
– Provide an instructive chart of artifacts (along with fast facts)
– Sample a variety of finds–papyri, inscriptions, scrolls, ossuaries, and more

If readers are looking for just one book to cover this topic both concisely and comprehensively, this is it!

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Evidence That Demands a Verdict: Life-Changing Truth for a Skeptical World
By: Josh McDowell and Sean McDowell

The modern apologetics classic that started it all is now completely revised and updated—because the truth of the Bible doesn’t change, but its critics do. With the original Evidence That Demands a Verdict, bestselling author Josh McDowell gave Christian readers the answers they needed to defend their faith against the harshest critics and skeptics. Since that time, Evidence has remained a trusted resource for believers young and old. Bringing historical documentation and the best modern scholarship to bear on the trustworthiness of the Bible and its teachings, this extensive volume has encouraged and strengthened millions. Now, with his son Sean McDowell, Josh McDowell has updated and expanded this classic resource for a new generation. This is a book that invites readers to bring their doubts and doesn’t shy away from the tough questions.

Features Include:
– Thoroughly revised and updated from the previous edition
– Now co-authored by Josh McDowell and Sean McDowell
– All-new chapters defending against the latest attacks from Christianity’s critics
– Designed to be a go-to reference for even the toughest questions
– Offers thoughtful responses to the Bible’s most difficult and extraordinary passages
– Expansive defense of Christianity’s core truths, including the resurrection of Jesus Christ

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Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air
By: Francis J. Beckwith and Gregory Koukl

Many Christians are concerned about the tide of moral relativism that is rising steadily in our country. And rightly so: Relativism affects our education system, the legal system, and how people think about everyday issues. Yet little has been written on the topic outside academic circles.

This void is filled by Frank Beckwith and Greg Koukl, who analyze relativism and present strategies to defend the belief in moral absolutes. Using a commonsense approach, Koukl defines relativism, traces its growth over the past few decades, and critiques the logical inconsistencies to which its supporters are led. He then presents a case for moral objectivism. Beckwith, building on Koukl’s foundation, evaluates the influence of relativism on issues including abortion, homosexuality, political correctness, multiculturalism, and tolerance. In each of these areas, he provides compelling arguments for thinking people.

Following in the tradition of C. S. Lewis and Francis Schaeffer, Relativism is an important guide for those who are concerned about intellectual issues that challenge the Christian faith.

“Relativism “offers a critique of moral relativism and suggests ways Christians can defend their moral beliefs. The authors survey the rising tide of relativism in recent decades, explore its inherent inconsistencies, suggest specific approaches that can be used in the course of dialogue, and consider its everyday implications.

“An extremely well researched, intellectual approach to the problem of relativism and its effect on education, public policy, and our everyday lives.”

“Brisk, logical, and thoroughly practical, this is simply the best and most accessible book on the subject for general readers. It’s ideal for ordinary people trying to find sense under the assault of senselessness in private and public life. You can be sure I’ll recommend it highly to my students.”

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I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist
By: Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek

To some, the concept of having faith in a higher power or a set of religious beliefs is nonsensical. Indeed, many view religion in general, and Christianity in particular, as unfounded and unreasonable.

Norman Geisler and Frank Turek argue, however, that Christianity is not only more reasonable than all other belief systems, but is indeed more rational than unbelief itself. With conviction and clear thinking, Geisler and Turek guide readers through some of the traditional, tested arguments for the existence of a creator God. They move into an examination of the source of morality and the reliability of the New Testament accounts concerning Jesus. The final section of the book deals with a detailed investigation of the claims of Christ. This volume will be an interesting read for those skeptical about Christianity, as well as a helpful resource for Christians seeking to articulate a more sophisticated defense of their faith.

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Not All Roads Lead to Heaven
By: Dr. Robert Jeffress

Almost 60 percent of those in American evangelical churches believe that many religions can lead to eternal life. But if Jesus is to be trusted when he says that no one comes to the Father except through him, the church is failing in its mission. And it’s not hard to guess why. An exclusive Jesus just isn’t popular in our inclusive world.

Dr. Robert Jeffress calls on Christians to recover the exclusive claims of the one they claim as Lord and Savior, not as a way to keep people out of heaven but as the only way to invite them in. He tackles questions like

– Can people be saved who have never heard of Christ?
– What about those who worship God by another name?
– Do children automatically go to Heaven when they die?

True compassion for non-Christians doesn’t lie in letting them go their way while we go ours, but in sharing the only true way with them.

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Saving Truth: Finding Meaning and Clarity in a Post-Truth World
By: Abdu Murray

Increasingly, Western culture embraces confusion as a virtue and decries certainty as a sin. Those who are confused about sexuality and identity are viewed as heroes. Those who are confused about morality are progressive pioneers. Those who are confused about spirituality are praised as tolerant. Conversely, those who express certainty about any of these issues are seen as bigoted, oppressive, arrogant, or intolerant.

This cultural phenomenon led the compilers of the Oxford English Dictionary to name “post-truth” their word of the year in 2016. How can Christians offer truth and clarity to a world that shuns both?

By accurately describing the Culture of Confusion and how it has affected our society, author Abdu Murray seeks to awaken Westerners to the plight we find ourselves in. He also challenges Christians to consider how they have played a part in fostering the Culture of Confusion through bad arguments, unwise labeling, and emotional attacks.

Ultimately, Saving Truth provides arguments from a Christian perspective for the foundations of truth and how those foundations apply to sexuality, identity, morality, and spirituality. For those enmeshed in the culture of confusion, the book offers a way to untangle oneself and find hope in the clarity that Christ offers.

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“THE SEARCH FOR MEANING” WEBSITE

This site presents discussions on the 12 most commonly asked questions about the Christian faith.

The 12 discussions are accessed by the “tabs” at the bottom of the page. The tabs are numbered 1-12. Roll your mouse over them and you will see the question displayed at the right. Click on the number to select that question.

Within each question (i.e. tabs 1-12), there are subtopics (or dialogues) to select that appear as smaller tabs underneath the numbered tabs. Roll your mouse over them and the title of these topics is also displayed to the right. Click on the open rectangle to select that dialogue.

For each question (1-12), a link to related resources and an optional flowchart is provided. To access this material, click on the respective words, “Related Resources” or “Options Flowchart.”

To play a more detailed discussion of the subject, between two people, select the desired dialogue and click on “Play Audio Dialogue.”

In the upper right-hand corner of the page, there is an icon that looks like binoculars looking at a question mark. Click on this icon to return to the homepage.

In the upper right-hand corner of a “Related Resources” page, there is an icon that looks like some books. Click on this icon to get to an “overview” page that has links to all of the resources for all of the questions. There also are additional “appendices” for most of the questions.

In the upper right-hand corner of a “Flowchart” page, there is an icon that looks like an Org chart. Click on this icon to get to an “overview” page that has links to all of the flowcharts.

http://4vis.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q1_d1_1of10.html

[ Content by: Bill Kraftson and Lamar Smith; Website by Mark Besh ]

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“FRUITS OF THE BEATITUDES” WEB SITE
(The ATTITUDES of Jesus that produce the CHARACTER of Jesus)

CLICK ON THE LINK to view:
http://fruitsofthebeatitudes.org/

FACEBOOK PAGE:
https://www.facebook.com/FruitsOfTheBeatitudes/

[ Mark Besh ]

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[ P.S.: If you would like to investigate further about Jesus being the only ‘way’ to God, visit the following link:
http://4vis.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q6_d1_1of10.html ].

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ARTICLES:

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Why Do Computers Use 1s and 0s? Binary and Transistors Explained

Upon reviewing the finished video I realized I made a mistake in some of my vocabulary. A byte can represent a number up to 255 but it can actually represent 256 different VALUES, as 0 is a value in and of itself. Rerecording and reanimating would be a painful process, so forgive me this mistake.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xpk67YzOn5w

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Probability – Mutually Exclusive Events Example

Let’s understand Mutually Exclusive events with an example.

Illustration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQLAWVkFk4E

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What is the law of non contradiction?

In college classes across the world, young people are taught that there is “no truth.” Ironically, this statement itself makes a claim as to what is true. And if it is true that there is no truth then the statement is false. Understanding this basic chain of reasoning is the starting point of understanding logic and logic is how the discerning mind comes to know what is true.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-v8eKRbz30

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Religious Exclusivism

Religious exclusivism is the doctrine that the adherents of a particular faith, or group of faiths, will attain salvation while groups that do not share this faith will not attain the blessings associated with such a state. In its more extreme form, religious exclusivism teaches that only the members of one religion or sect will reach Heaven, while others will be doomed to eternal damnation. The opposite of religious exclusivism is universalism, the teaching that all will eventually share in the eternal blessings of God or the heavenly realm.

Exclusivism is most prevalent in Abrahamic religions. In Jewish tradition, it manifests in certain interpretations of the concepts of the Chosen people, in which anyone who does not accept the teachings of Jewish monotheism is excluded from the messianic “world to come.” In Christianity, religious exclusivism is seen in the former teachings of the Catholic Church and the current teachings of several denominations that only those who adhere to the true faith will reach Heaven, while those outside of the true church will go to Hell. Exclusivism is seen in Islam in the acceptance of sincere Jews and Christians as people “of the Book” along with Muslims, but the rejection of other religious traditions—as well as impious Jews and Christians—as “infidels” who have no part in Allah or paradise.

Historically, religious exclusivism sometimes leads to the justification of religious wars, forced conversions of those outside the faith, bans against inter-religious fellowship and marriage, and the persecution of religious minorities. However, it is also possible to practice an exclusivist faith while generally respecting the rights of unbelievers, and this is often the case today. Many religions practice a modified form of exclusivism, in which other faiths are recognized as legitimate to a degree, but not as holy as the true faith. [more…]

Article: https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Religious_exclusivism

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Religious Diversity (Pluralism)” [ “Exclusivism” ]

With respect to many, if not most issues, there exist significant differences of opinion among individuals who seem to be equally knowledgeable and sincere. Individuals who apparently have access to the same information and are equally interested in the truth affirm incompatible perspectives on, for instance, significant social, political, and economic issues. Such diversity of opinion, though, is nowhere more evident than in the area of religious thought. On almost every religious issue, honest, knowledgeable people hold significantly diverse, often incompatible beliefs.

Religious diversity of this sort can fruitfully be explored in many ways—for instance, from psychological, anthropological, or historical perspectives. The current discussion, however, will concern itself primarily with those key issues surrounding religious diversity with which philosophers, especially analytic philosophers of religion, are most concerned at present. Specifically, our discussion will focus primarily on the following questions: How pervasive is religious diversity? Does the reality of this diversity require a response? Can a person who acknowledges religious diversity remain justified in claiming just one perspective to be correct? If so, is it morally justifiable to attempt to convert others to a different perspective? Can it justifiably be claimed that only one religion offers a path into the eternal presence of God? How should religious diversity be approached in public education? The answers to such questions are not simply academic. They increasingly have great impact on how we treat others, both personally and corporately.

[ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy ]

Study: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/religious-pluralism/

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Clarifying Inclusivism and Exclusivism

Inclusivists believe that everyone who is saved is saved through the person and work of Christ. They do not, however, insist that conscious faith (on the part of sentient adults) is necessary to appropriate this saving work. Some Buddhists or Hindus or good people in our neighborhoods drawn to the true and the beautiful might be saved through Christ without knowing it. But what about John 14:6? Inclusivists understand “no one can come to the Father except through me” to mean through my saving work. Faith may not be necessary. [more…]

[ Kevin DeYoung ]

Article: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevin-deyoung/clarifying-inclusivism-and-exclusivism/

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Pluralist Theories of Truth

The plausibility of theories of truth has often been observed to vary, sometimes extensively, across different domains or regions of discourse. Because of this variance, the problems internal to each such theory become salient as they overgeneralize. A natural suggestion is therefore that not all (declarative) sentences in all domains are true in exactly the same way. Sentences in mathematics, morals, comedy, chemistry, politics, and gastronomy may be true in different ways, if and when they are ever true. ‘Pluralism about truth’ names the thesis that there is more than one way of being true. [more…]

[ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy ]

Study: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/truth-pluralist/

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Relativism

Relativism, roughly put, is the view that truth and falsity, right and wrong, standards of reasoning, and procedures of justification are products of differing conventions and frameworks of assessment and that their authority is confined to the context giving rise to them. More precisely, “relativism” covers views which maintain that—at a high level of abstraction—at least some class of things have the properties they have (e.g., beautiful, morally good, epistemically justified) not simpliciter, but only relative to a given framework of assessment (e.g., local cultural norms, individual standards), and correspondingly, that the truth of claims attributing these properties holds only once the relevant framework of assessment is specified or supplied. Relativists characteristically insist, furthermore, that if something is only relatively so, then there can be no framework-independent vantage point from which the matter of whether the thing in question is so can be established. [more…]

[ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy ]

Study: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/relativism/

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Truth

Truth is one of the central subjects in philosophy. It is also one of the largest. Truth has been a topic of discussion in its own right for thousands of years. Moreover, a huge variety of issues in philosophy relate to truth, either by relying on theses about truth, or implying theses about truth.

It would be impossible to survey all there is to say about truth in any coherent way. Instead, this essay will concentrate on the main themes in the study of truth in the contemporary philosophical literature. It will attempt to survey the key problems and theories of current interest, and show how they relate to one-another. A number of other entries investigate many of these topics in greater depth. Generally, discussion of the principal arguments is left to them. The goal of this essay is only to provide an overview of the current Theories. Many of the papers mentioned in this essay can be found in the anthologies edited by Blackburn and Simmons (1999) and Lynch (2001b). There are a number of book-length surveys of the topics discussed here, including Burgess and Burgess (2011), Kirkham (1992), and Künne (2003). Also, a number of the topics discussed here, and many further ones, are surveyed at more length in papers in Glanzberg (2018).

The problem of truth is in a way easy to state: what truths are, and what (if anything) makes them true. But this simple statement masks a great deal of controversy. Whether there is a metaphysical problem of truth at all, and if there is, what kind of theory might address it, are all standing issues in the theory of truth. We will see a number of distinct ways of answering these questions. [more…]

[ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy ]

Study: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/truth/

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The Epistemology of Religion

Contemporary epistemology of religion may conveniently be treated as a debate over whether evidentialism applies to religious beliefs, or whether we should instead adopt a more permissive epistemology. Here evidentialism is the initially plausible position that a belief is justified only if “it is proportioned to the evidence”. For example, suppose a local weather forecaster has noticed that over the two hundred years since records began a wetter than average Winter is followed in 85% of cases by a hotter than average Summer. Then, assuming for simplicity that the records are reliable, the forecaster is justified in believing with less than full confidence that this Winter, which is wetter than average, will be followed by a hotter than average Summer. But evidentialism implies that it would not be justified to have full belief, that is belief with 100% confidence. Again, consider someone who has a hunch that this Summer will be hotter than average but cannot justify that hunch further. Hunches are not considered evidence, so the belief is not considered justified. If, however, the huncher can cite a good track record of hunches about the weather that have turned out correct then the belief would be considered justified. For although hunches are not considered evidence, memories about past hunches are, as are the observations that corroborated the past hunches.

Evidentialism implies that full religious belief is justified only if there is conclusive evidence for it. It follows that if the arguments for there being a God, including any arguments from religious experience, are at best probable ones, no one would be justified in having a full belief that there is a God. And the same holds for other religious beliefs, such as the belief that God is not just good in a utilitarian fashion but loving, or the belief that there is an afterlife. Likewise it would be unjustified to believe even with less than full confidence that, say, Krishna is divine or that Mohammed is the last and most authoritative of the prophets, unless a good case can be made for these claims from the evidence.

Evidentialism, then, sets rather high standards for justification, standards that the majority do not, it would seem, meet when it comes to religious beliefs, where many rely on “faith”, which is more like the forecaster’s hunch about the weather than the argument from past climate records. Many others take some body of scripture, such as the Bible or the Koran as of special authority, contrary to the evidentialist treatment of these as just like any other books making various claims. Are these standards too high?

This century has seen a turn in the debate, with emphasis on the implications of disagreement, “How can sincere intelligent people disagree? Should not we all suspend judgement?” [more…]

[ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy ]

Study: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/religion-epistemology/

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The Problem of Evil

The epistemic question posed by evil is whether the world contains undesirable states of affairs that provide the basis for an argument that makes it unreasonable to believe in the existence of God.

This discussion is divided into eight sections. The first is concerned with some preliminary distinctions; the second, with the choice between deductive versions of the argument from evil, and evidential versions; the third, with alternative evidential formulations of the argument from evil; the fourth, with the distinction between three very different types of responses to the argument from evil: attempted total refutations, defenses, and theodicies. The fifth section then focuses upon attempted total refutations, while the sixth is concerned with defenses, and the seventh with some traditional theodicies. The possibility of more modest variants on defenses and theodicies, based on the idea of global properties, is then considered in section eight. [more…]

Study: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/evil/

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“John MacArthur: Is Jesus the Only Way?”

Religious pluralism is one of the greatest challenges facing Christianity in today’s world. Is Jesus Christ just one way among many valid paths to God? In this message, Dr. John MacArthur explains how pluralism conflicts with the exclusive claims of Christ and undermines Christ’s Great Commission.

[ John MacArthur ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eSNW8WBHr4

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“Why Is Jesus The Only Way?”

Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason unpacks the powerful truth of God’s love, God’s anger, and His only provision for forgiveness of sins; His Son, Jesus Christ.

[ Greg Koukl ]

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_kyqdu5ODk

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“Is Jesus the only way to Heaven | How to get to Heaven”

Is Jesus the only way to Heaven? How to get to heaven, is no secret. The Bible clearly states that Jesus is the only way to heaven. In this video, Pastor Nelson not only shares that Jesus is the only way to God, but he points out why Jesus is the only way using the Bible. Don’t miss this powerful short video!

[ Pastor Nelson ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABGfp4jB_ak

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“What did Jesus mean when He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6)?”

What did Jesus mean when He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6)? Is Jesus the only way of salvation?

[ Got Questions ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTS1tMC38AQ

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“The Exclusivity of Jesus/Christianity”

Dr Ravi Zacharias and Dr Vince Vitale tackle the correctness of Jesus and the Christian worldview.

Q&A: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJJPK_8hFGI

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“Is the Exclusivity of Christ Unjust?”

[ Alistair Begg ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRWtUTrxYAs

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“What If It’s All True!”

Eyewitness testimonies, the empty tomb, the striking change in the disciples … the New Testament provides fact-based evidence that Jesus rose from the dead. In this message, Alistair Begg encourages us to a thoughtful consideration of this central Christian truth, emphasizing the need to trust in Christ for our salvation. Through His Word, Jesus calls each one to faith in the Gospel, and those who believe are called to share His story with a broken world.

[ Alistair Begg ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcXSLCRaIWg

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Is Jesus the Only Way?”

HOOK: Is believing in Jesus Christ the ONLY way to get to God? (You may need to know the answer to this or you are wondering yourself. That stats are in. 56% of all professing Christians believe there is another way to get to heaven other than Jesus.
I mean you have Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, JW’s Mormons to name a few. So how can Jesus and Christianity be the ONLY way? Today I want to share with you 4 things that totally set him apart from every other religious leader that has ever lived.

1. Power – No other religious leader DID what He DID
a. Miracles, Resurrections, raised Himself from the dead, He walked on water (even the Holy Qu’ran mentions Jesus’ miracles)
b. The greatest miracle in the history of time is His own resurrection 3 days after He was crucified in which He showed Himself alive to over 500 people as proof that the resurrection indeed was an actual historical event (add scripture).
c. Jesus Himself said, “if you don’t believe in my message then fine. But at least believe in the works that I do.” In other words, Jesus didn’t just say He was the only way He backed it up by doing things that no other religious leader has ever done. Not only did Jesus raise Himself from the dead but He prophesied He was going to do it beforehand which leads me to my second reason…
2. Prophecies – No other religious leader FULFILLED prophecy
a. He was the only religious leader who was able to fulfill prophecies written about Him hundreds of years before He came to the earth – No other leader can boast of that (the odds of 1 man fulfilling 8 prophecies in a lifetime is 1 x 10^17). Virgin birth, prophecies about the exact date when Jesus would die and exactly how He would die. And Jesus fulfilled these prophecies and many others with perfect accuracy.
3. Preaching/Message – No other religious leader TAUGHT what He TAUGHT
a. Jesus is the only religious leader who provided a genuine solution for the problem of sin.
b. Every other religious leader teaches that you must DO something in order to earn salvation & forgiveness which puts you in a very insecure and uncertain state because you never really know if you’ve done enough righteous works to earn God’s favor.
c. Jesus teaches that He’s already done the work for you. All you have to do is to BELIEVE one thing and you are saved.
d. All nine of the founders of religions except Jesus admit to going through a period of uncertainty where they were searching for truth and enlightenment.
4. Perfection – No other religious leader LIVED how He LIVED
a. Some of the other religious leaders even to their own admission led very sinful lives. Some of them were polygamists, others were murderers, some of them made countless prophecies that never came to pass. But Jesus is the only religious leader who lived a sinless perfect life even to the point where the very people who crucified Him admitted that they could find no fault in Him.
i. Jesus (Jn. 8:46), His followers (Heb. 4:15) and His enemies (John 19:6) all asserted His perfect life
b. Mohammad confessed his sin and was a man like us – Surah 18:110 – Killed many people who disagreed with him. (also said majority of people in hell would be women)
c. Siddhartha Gautama, founder of Buddhism abandoned his wife and son to achieve “enlightenment.”
d. Joseph Smith the founder of Mormonism made prophecies and claims that never came to pass making him a liar and supported polygamy and took on extra wives.

Now for the Christian who says that there is another way to heaven besides Jesus you are saying that the Bible is false (Acts 4:12) and Jesus was a liar (John 14:6) because He said very clearly that He was THE way, THE truth and THE life and that NO ONE can come to the Father except through Him.

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMlSqNzB_Ts

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Why Christ is the Only Way ”

Renewing Your Mind broadcast: “Christ the Only Way”

[ R. C. Sproul ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjmSDt-tPAs

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“Jesus Is Our Only Way To Heaven”

Jesus said, “I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

[ Living Waters ]

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pWQqhQ9Ee0

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“Why Jesus Is No Longer the Only Way for Many American Christians”

[ Answers In Genesis ]

Show: https://youtu.be/Qzw80S_MVFM?t=732

Article: https://www.christianpost.com/news/why-jesus-is-no-longer-only-way-for-many-american-christians-223601/

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“How Can Jesus Be the Only Way?”

Dr. Michael Horton (co-host of White Horse Inn and editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine) answers this common question about the Christian faith.

[ Defend the Faith ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZssVVYdrg8

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“Is Jesus The Only Way To Heaven?”

[ Awaken LA Church ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYO4a2IyOe0

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“Is Christ the Only Way?”

When R.C. Sproul was in college he was asked, “Is Christ the only way?” In this classic clip, he shares how he responded.

[ R.C. Sproul ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8bbH4Trojw

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“William Lane Craig Q&A: Is Jesus the Only Way to God?”

Is Jesus the only way to God? How should Christians speak to someone who has questions about Christian particularism? This is a question that Dr William Lane Craig answered during the 2013 Apologetics Canada Conference question and answer period.

[ William Lane Craig ]

Q&A: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a82G0UdfHZ8

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“Jesus is the Only Way to God”

[ Lee Strobel ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRgb57DStO8

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“Is There Another Way to Heaven?”

Jesus describes in His Word that he is the way, the truth, and the life. But is the only way to heaven really through Jesus Christ, and if so, is that unloving?

Is Jesus the only way to heaven? If not, are there other ways to get to heaven? Can someone be saved by any other way? And if Jesus really is the only way to heaven, isn’t that unloving for providing only one way?

[ Impact Video Ministries ]

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byGXazVmZNk

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“Jesus Is the Only Way to Heaven”

Albert Mohler continues his apologetics series, answering the question, “Is Jesus the only way to Heaven?”

[ Albert Mohler ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRxELHc36_Q

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“Jesus Is The Only Way To Heaven”

No Other Way to Heaven Except Through Jesus [#1965].

[ Adrian Rogers ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNTjpfH4dGE

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“Why Is Jesus Is the Only Way to Heaven?”

Jesus walked in a day just like today where people had radically different beliefs. Every religion is exclusive in its belief of how to get to Heaven. Christianity is as well.

Jesus said he’s the only way to Heaven. But it’s not just because He said it. Jesus fulfilled hundreds of years of prophecy that preceded His life. He foretold that he would rise from the dead. When He did, tons of other religions even acknowledge and tell this, but just can’t explain it.

[ 12Stone Church ]

Q&A: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oatUgeDd9io

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“There Is Only One Way To Heaven (Through The Cross Of Jesus Christ)”

The Bible Says There Is Only One Way To Heaven, and that is through the cross of Jesus Christ.

[ Billy Graham ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-NdZEDAZpQ

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“Is Jesus the Only Way to God?”

Is Jesus the only way to God? It is a question that probably will raise more discussion and cause more irritation in more people today than most any question one can imagine. And yet, for 2,000 years Christians have always be¬lieved the answer to that was, “Yes, Jesus Christ is the only way to God.” But today this idea flies right in the face of the Zeitgeist of our age—the dominant value of our secular time which, of course, is tolerance. And that seems to so many to be an intolerant view.

[ Dr. D. James Kennedy ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6Y6QmkIHTQ

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“The Only Way to God (John)”

Martyn Lloyd-Jones – The Only Way to God – Sermon #1173 (Book of John)

JOHN 4:27-38 – Christ; not Christianity; the danger of legalism; the error of the age of tolerance; the Son of God; the only way to satisfaction; the finished work of Christ; the seal of Christ.

[ D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWJoHKwo3pM

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“The Only Way (Matthew)”

Martyn Lloyd-Jones – The Only Way – Sermon #5352 (Gospel According to Matthew)

MATTHEW 2414 – The Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament; the only hope Jesus Christ; Jesus; the door to the kingdom.

[ D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1wQ9dWcNGY

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“Jesus Christ the ONLY Way to Heaven”

[ Hal Lindsey ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J73lrfTRny0

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“Jesus Is The Only Way”

Christ is clear when he tells us that the only way to heaven is by trusting in him.

[ Mike Fabarez ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UO0PJwP_8xE

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“Is Jesus the Only Way?”

Compass Night Apologetics Lesson #12: Is Jesus the Only Way?

In a culture that is increasingly hostile toward the true God and his authoritative word, Christians, now more than ever, need to be ready to stand up for the truth in a strong, intelligent, and diplomatic way. At this year’s Compass Night, Pastor Mike will equip us to make a defense in the face of today’s unfounded attacks against Christianity and the Bible. Don’t miss this important time of study as we gather each Thursday night to prepare ourselves with questions like:

– If God is so good why is there evil in the world?
– Isn’t the Christian view of marriage just bigotry?
– How can we even know there’s a God?
– Wasn’t Jesus only a good, moral teacher?
– How can you trust the Bible when it has changed so much?
– Aren’t most religions the same anyway?
– How can it be that miracles have happened?
– Didn’t the Roman Emperor Constantine choose the Gospels?
– Doesn’t science disprove the Genesis account of creation?

[ Mike Fabarez ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBTQW13Mt7M

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“Is Jesus The Only Way?”

Dr. Norman Geisler teaches a session titled “Is Jesus The Only Way?”.

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX4FIg6ayDM

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“Pluralism: Is Jesus the Only Way to God?”

[ Dr. Norman Geisler ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgNfsultrUQ

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“Why Christianity is the Only Way”

Reality Conference – Session 1 – Parts 1 and 2

[ Greg Koukl ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhUoD7IiCcs
Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYxy3HXuIWM

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“Is Christianity the only way?”

Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason answers the question, “Is Christianity the only way to receive eternal life?”

[ Greg Koukl ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOCrLyzIows

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“Why is Jesus the only way?”

Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason answers the question, “Why is Jesus the only way?”

[ Greg Koukl ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6zpySZDBo0

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“Isn’t it unfair to claim that the people who don’t believe in Jesus are condemned to hell?”

From our latest series with Dr. Ravi Zacharias entitled, “Ravi Zacharias Answers Skeptics”

TV Show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OUDO782aag

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“Is Jesus the only way to God?”

This clip is from our series entitled, “The Fight Without and The Fight Witnin” featuring Dr. John Ankerberg. This clip answers the question: Is Jesus the only way to God?

[ John Ankerberg ]

TV Show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0I2kxmYQNHQ

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“Why is Jesus the only one qualified?”

Have you ever wondered why Jesus Christ is presented in the Bible as the only one qualified to bring us into God’s presence? Hear special guest Dr. Erwin Lutzer answer this question.

[ Erwin Lutzer ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCDGDXqQNI0

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“Jesus Is the Only Way”

Are all religions created equal? Dr. Michael Youssef shares why Jesus is the only way to heaven, setting him apart from all the other false religions of the world.

[ Dr. Michael Youssef ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_vt4vtF5Ns

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“Jesus – The only way to God?”

Tim Keller talks about Jesus as being the only way to God, during an interview with Eric Metaxas at New Canaan Society Washington Weekend 2012.

[ Tim Keller ]

Q&A: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTa7b86Ojds

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“Jesus: the Only Way”

An excerpt from the Tim Keller sermon entitled “Christ: The Final Word”

[ Tim Keller ]

Sermon Jam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPh-lCimTkM

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“Why One Way?”

Sermon 1 of 4

[ Dr. James White ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxW2xQelez4

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“Jesus Christ is the Only Way”

Carter Conlon, Paul Washer, and John MacArthur

Sermon Jam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyky0W8MMwg

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“The Way to God”

Sermon #245 – Jesus is the Only Way – John 14:6

[ Charles Spurgeon ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ect1ibB9e_k

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“Only One Way: Christ!”

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Acts 4:11 Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

[ Bishop J. C. Ryle ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDiJXzJcYgs

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“The Only Road To Heaven (Matthew 7:13-14)”

The Narrow and Wide Gates

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” – Matthew 7:13-14

[ John MacArthur ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls3MCdHFJpA

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“Is Christianity the Only Way?”

Tim Barnett of Stand to Reason highlights the eternal significance and exclusivity of Christianity.

[ Tim Barnett ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfBjO8qvAMA

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“Jesus – The One and Only”

JESUS—THE ONE AND ONLY: Many people want to make Jesus just ONE of the ways to heaven. You will see in this message that Jesus is not to be prominent in our lives, but pre-eminent. Jesus doesn’t just show the way; He is the Way. He doesn’t just give life; He is the Life. He doesn’t just tell the truth; He is the Truth.

[ Adrian Rogers ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7LKn9wtyas

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“Is Jesus the Only Way to God?”

Often times, people have a real problem with Jesus’ claim that he’s the only way to God. Is it intolerant to suggest that Jesus the only way? In this video, author and speaker Brett Kunkle explains that the question is not whether someone is offended, but instead whether or not Jesus’ claim is true.

[ Brett Kunkle ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDAQQ-xPy8I

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“Jesus Is the Only Way”

Jesus Christ is the only way to God. Watch this brief clip of R.C. Sproul through the years proclaiming the exclusivity of Christ for the salvation of sinners.

[ R.C. Sproul ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UP2S3rT0Ehs

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“Is Jesus the Only Way”

[ Ravi Zacharias ]

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9MUOqporAc

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“Is Jesus the Only Way to God?”

In 2001, John Ankerberg interviewed William Lane Craig on on the subject of, “Jesus of Nazareth.” In the interview, Dr Craig was asked a number of questions about the historicity of Jesus, the evidence of the resurrection of Jesus, the reliability of the gospel accounts, and much more.

[ Dr. William Lane Craig ]

TV Show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFT_udDlwkw

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“Is Jesus the Only Way?”

[ Bobby Conway ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0NGniQP-v0

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“Jesus is the only way to Heaven”

[ Pastor Robert Jeffress ]

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnLMHsgevZc

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“Jesus Christ The only way to Heaven!”

Illustration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwCE3i7glb0

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“Is Jesus the Only Way to Heaven?”

The Bible makes an outrageous claim — Jesus is the only way to Heaven! Join Nathan Jones of Lamb & Lion Ministries as he examines the very words of Christ.

[ Nathan Jones ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4n_F81mRbWQ

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“Jesus the only way to God”

[ John Piper ]

Sermon Snippet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3k0W5EpbzXI

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“Where in the Bible does Jesus actually say he is God?”

[ Michael Ramsden ]

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1N5Mh42ziA

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“How do you know that Christianity is the one true worldview?”

Exclusivity is one of the most popular charges leveled against the Christian faith. Here, author and apologist Ravi Zacharias and RZIM speaker John Njoroge challenge the assumption that Christianity is alone in making exclusive claims

[ Ravi Zacharias ]

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWY-6xBA0Pk

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“Finding the Narrow Way to Heaven”

[ John MacArthur ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OV_FTsieQw8

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“How do we know that Jesus actually said and did what is recorded about Him?”

Who do you think Jesus of Nazareth understood himself to be? Do you think He actually thought that He was Israel’s Messiah, and the Divine Son of God? Dr. William Lane Craig discusses the historical evidence shows that Jesus not only thought this, but taught this.

[ John Ankerberg show – Dr. William Lane Craig ]

TV Show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5l_P2XT7xWU

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“Is Jesus Christ God?”

[ Dr. Charles Stanley ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enHenXdVV0I

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“Jesus in Every Book of the Bible”

Dr. Youssef explains the remarkable names attributed to Jesus in every book of the Bible.

[ Dr. Michael Youssef ]

Illustration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMZm17elM-c

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“Proclaiming the Exclusivity of Jesus Will Result in Persecution”

Alistair Begg speaks on the exclusivity of Jesus and how in church history, and today, proclaiming it results in persecution.

[ Alistair Begg ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSBbcN5qisw

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“Two Paths, One Way (Matthew 7:13-27)”

[ John MacArthur ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SweyABtVddk

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“I Am The Way, The Truth, and The Life”

Movie clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEk56eTr_RU

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“The Narrow Gate and the Narrow Way”

[ Zac Poonen ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXbt-Di2EPg

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“The Way of Jesus”

[ Matt Chandler ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-d8wdOBQ7Y

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“With all of the different religions, how can I know which one is correct?”

Question: “With all of the different religions, how can I know which one is correct?”

Answer: There is no doubt that the number of different religions in the world makes it a challenge to know which one is correct. First, let’s consider some thoughts on the overall subject and then look at how one might approach the topic in a manner that can actually get to a right conclusion about God. The challenge of different answers to a particular issue is not unique to the topic of religion. For example, you can sit 100 math students down, give them a complex problem to solve, and it is likely that many will get the answer wrong. But does this mean that a correct answer does not exist? Not at all. Those who get the answer wrong simply need to be shown their error and know the techniques necessary to arrive at the correct answer.

How do we arrive at the truth about God? We use a systematic methodology that is designed to separate truth from error by using various tests for truth, with the end result being a set of right conclusions. Can you imagine the end results a scientist would arrive at if he went into the lab and just started mixing things together with no rhyme or reason? Or if a physician just started treating a patient with random medicines in the hope of making him well? Neither the scientist nor the physician takes this approach; instead, they use systematic methods that are methodical, logical, evidential, and proven to yield the right end result.

This being the case, why should theology—the study of God—be any different? Why believe it can be approached in a haphazard and undisciplined way and still yield right conclusions? Unfortunately, this is the approach many take, and this is one of the reasons why so many religions exist. That said, we now return to the question of how to reach truthful conclusions about God. What systematic approach should be used? First, we need to establish a framework for testing various truth claims, and then we need a roadmap to follow to reach a right conclusion. Here is a good framework to use:

1. Logical consistency—the claims of a belief system must logically cohere to each other and not contradict in any way. As an example, the end goal of Buddhism is to rid oneself of all desires. Yet, one must have a desire to rid oneself of all desires, which is a contradictory and illogical principle.

2. Empirical adequacy—is there evidence to support the belief system (whether the evidence is rational, externally evidential, etc.)? Naturally, it is only right to want proof for important claims being made so the assertions can be verified. For example, Mormons teach that Jesus visited North America. Yet there is absolutely no proof, archaeological or otherwise, to support such a claim.

3. Existential relevancy—the belief system should address the big questions of life described below and the teachings should be accurately reflected in the world in which we live. Christianity, for example, provides good answers for the large questions of life, but is sometimes questioned because of its claim of an all-good and powerful God who exists alongside a world filled with very real evil. Critics charge that such a thing violates the criteria of existential relevancy, although many good answers have been given to address the issue.

The above framework, when applied to the topic of religion, will help lead one to a right view of God and will answer the four big questions of life:

1. Origin – where did we come from?
2. Ethics – how should we live?
3. Meaning – what is the purpose for life?
4. Destiny – where is mankind heading?

But how does one go about applying this framework in the pursuit of God? A step-by-step question/answer approach is one of the best tactics to employ. Narrowing the list of possible questions down produces the following:

1. Does absolute truth exist?
2. Do reason and religion mix?
3. Does God exist?
4. Can God be known?
5. Is Jesus God?
6. Does God care about me?

First we need to know if absolute truth exists. If it does not, then we really cannot be sure of anything (spiritual or not), and we end up either an agnostic, unsure if we can really know anything, or a pluralist, accepting every position because we are not sure which, if any, is right.

Absolute truth is defined as that which matches reality, that which corresponds to its object, telling it like it is. Some say there is no such thing as absolute truth, but taking such a position becomes self-defeating. For example, the relativist says, “All truth is relative,” yet one must ask: is that statement absolutely true? If so, then absolute truth exists; if not, then why consider it? Postmodernism affirms no truth, yet it affirms at least one absolute truth: postmodernism is true. In the end, absolute truth becomes undeniable.

Further, absolute truth is naturally narrow and excludes its opposite. Two plus two equals four, with no other answer being possible. This point becomes critical as different belief systems and worldviews are compared. If one belief system has components that are proven true, then any competing belief system with contrary claims must be false. Also, we must keep in mind that absolute truth is not impacted by sincerity and desire. No matter how sincerely someone embraces a lie, it is still a lie. And no desire in the world can make something true that is false.

The answer of question one is that absolute truth exists. This being the case, agnosticism, postmodernism, relativism, and skepticism are all false positions.

This leads us to the next question of whether reason/logic can be used in matters of religion. Some say this is not possible, but—why not? The truth is, logic is vital when examining spiritual claims because it helps us understand why some claims should be excluded and others embraced. Logic is absolutely critical in dismantling pluralism (which says that all truth claims, even those that oppose each other, are equal and valid).

For example, Islam and Judaism claim that Jesus is not God, whereas Christianity claims He is. One of the core laws of logic is the law of non-contradiction, which says something cannot be both “A” and “non-A” at the same time and in the same sense. Applying this law to the claims of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity means that one is right and the other two are wrong. Jesus cannot be both God and not God. Used properly, logic is a potent weapon against pluralism because it clearly demonstrates that contrary truth claims cannot both be true. This understanding topples the whole “true for you but not for me” mindset.

Logic also dispels the whole “all roads lead to the top of the mountain” analogy that pluralists use. Logic shows that each belief system has its own set of signs that point to radically different locations in the end. Logic shows that the proper illustration of a search for spiritual truth is more like a maze—one path makes it through to truth, while all others arrive at dead ends. All faiths may have some surface similarities, but they differ in major ways in their core doctrines.

The conclusion is that you can use reason and logic in matters of religion. That being the case, pluralism (the belief that all truth claims are equally true and valid) is ruled out because it is illogical and contradictory to believe that diametrically opposing truth claims can both be right.

Next comes the big question: does God exist? Atheists and naturalists (who do not accept anything beyond this physical world and universe) say “no.” While volumes have been written and debates have raged throughout history on this question, it is actually not difficult to answer. To give it proper attention, you must first ask this question: Why do we have something rather than nothing at all? In other words, how did you and everything around you get here? The argument for God can be presented very simply:

Something exists.
You do not get something from nothing.
Therefore, a necessary and eternal Being exists.

You cannot deny you exist because you have to exist in order to deny your own existence (which is self-defeating), so the first premise above is true. No one has ever demonstrated that something can come from nothing unless they redefine what ‘nothing’ is, so the second premise rings true. Therefore, the conclusion naturally follows—an eternal Being is responsible for everything that exists.

This is a position no thinking atheist denies; they just claim that the universe is that eternal being. However, the problem with that stance is that all scientific evidence points to the fact that the universe had a beginning (the ‘big bang’). And everything that has a beginning must have a cause; therefore, the universe had a cause and is not eternal. Because the only two sources of eternality are an eternal universe (denied by all current empirical evidence) or an eternal Creator, the only logical conclusion is that God exists. Answering the question of God’s existence in the affirmative rules out atheism as a valid belief system.

Now, this conclusion says nothing about what kind of God exists, but amazingly enough, it does do one sweeping thing—it rules out all pantheistic religions. All pantheistic worldviews say that the universe is God and is eternal. And this assertion is false. So, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and all other pantheistic religions are ruled out as valid belief systems.

Further, we learn some interesting things about this God who created the universe. He is:

• Supernatural in nature (as He exists outside of His creation)
• Incredibly powerful (to have created all that is known)
• Eternal (self-existent, as He exists outside of time and space)
• Omnipresent (He created space and is not limited by it)
• Timeless and changeless (He created time)
• Immaterial (because He transcends space)
• Personal (the impersonal can’t create personality)
• Necessary (as everything else depends on Him)
• Infinite and singular (as you cannot have two infinites)
• Diverse yet has unity (as all multiplicity implies a prior singularity)
• Intelligent (supremely, to create everything)
• Purposeful (as He deliberately created everything)
• Moral (no moral law can exist without a lawgiver)
• Caring (or no moral laws would have been given)

This Being exhibits characteristics very similar to the God of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, which interestingly enough, are the only core faiths left standing after atheism and pantheism have been eliminated. Note also that one of the big questions in life (origins) is now answered: we know where we came from.

This leads to the next question: can we know God? At this point, the need for religion is replaced by something more important—the need for revelation. If mankind is to know this God well, it is up to God to reveal Himself to His creation. Judaism, Islam, and Christianity all claim to have a book that is God’s revelation to man, but the question is which (if any) is actually true? Pushing aside minor differences, the two core areas of dispute are 1) the New Testament of the Bible 2) the person of Jesus Christ. Islam and Judaism both claim the New Testament of the Bible is untrue in what it claims, and both deny that Jesus is God incarnate, while Christianity affirms both to be true.

There is no faith on the planet that can match the mountains of evidence that exist for Christianity. From the voluminous number of ancient manuscripts, to the very early dating of the documents written during the lifetime of the eyewitnesses (some only 15 years after Christ’s death), to the multiplicity of the accounts (nine authors in 27 books of the New Testament), to the archaeological evidence—none of which has ever contradicted a single claim the New Testament makes—to the fact that the apostles went to their deaths claiming they had seen Jesus in action and that He had come back from the dead, Christianity sets the bar in terms of providing the proof to back up its claims. The New Testament’s historical authenticity—that it conveys a truthful account of the actual events as they occurred—is the only right conclusion to reach once all the evidence has been examined.

When it comes to Jesus, one finds a very curious thing about Him—He claimed to be God in the flesh. Jesus’ own words (e.g., “Before Abraham was born I AM”), His actions (e.g., forgiving sins, accepting worship), His sinless and miraculous life (which He used to prove His truth claims over opposing claims), and His resurrection all support His claims to be God. The New Testament writers affirm this fact over and over again in their writings.

Now, if Jesus is God, then what He says must be true. And if Jesus said that the Bible is inerrant and true in everything it says (which He did), this must mean that the Bible is true in what it proclaims. As we have already learned, two competing truth claims cannot both be right. So anything in the Islamic Koran or writings of Judaism that contradict the Bible cannot be true. In fact, both Islam and Judaism fail since they both say that Jesus is not God incarnate, while the evidence says otherwise. And because we can indeed know God (because He has revealed Himself in His written Word and in Christ), all forms of agnosticism are refuted. Lastly, another big question of life is answered—that of ethics—as the Bible contains clear instructions on how mankind ought to live.

This same Bible proclaims that God cares deeply for mankind and wishes all to know Him intimately. In fact, He cares so much that He became a man to show His creation exactly what He is like. There are many men who have sought to be God, but only one God who sought to be man so He could save those He deeply loves from an eternity separated from Him. This fact demonstrates the existential relevancy of Christianity and also answers that last two big questions of life—meaning and destiny. Each person has been designed by God for a purpose, and each has a destiny that awaits him—one of eternal life with God or eternal separation from Him. This deduction (and the point of God becoming a man in Christ) also refutes Deism, which says God is not interested in the affairs of mankind.

In the end, we see that ultimate truth about God can be found and the worldview maze successfully navigated by testing various truth claims and systematically pushing aside falsehoods so that only the truth remains. Using the tests of logical consistency, empirical adequacy, and existential relevancy, coupled with asking the right questions, yields truthful and reasonable conclusions about religion and God. Everyone should agree that the only reason to believe something is that it is true—nothing more. Sadly, true belief is a matter of the will, and no matter how much logical evidence is presented, some will still choose to deny the God who is there and miss the one true path to harmony with Him.

[ Got Questions ]

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“The Case For Christ”

Lee Strobel spent two years of his life studying, researching, learning everything he could in order to disprove the resurrection and deity of Christ. What he found instead changed his life forever.

This week, Lee Strobel takes us through the four main points he found that shifted his mind and heart about the truth surrounding the resurrection of Jesus.

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67uj2qvQi_k

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“4 Proofs of the Resurrection ”

JESUS WAS DEAD
Did Jesus die on the cross? Was he dead? Virtually every scholar on planet Earth concedes that Jesus was dead after crucifixion. We have no record of anyone, anywhere, ever surviving a full Roman crucifixion. Even the Journal of the American Medical Association publish a peer reviewed reviewed scientific medical study of the evidence for the death of Jesus and said, “Clearly the weight of the evidence indicates that Jesus was dead even before the wound was inflicted.” Even the atheist New Testament scholar Gerd Lüdeman says, “Historically it’s indisputable that Jesus was dead.” So, Jesus was dead.

EARLY ACCOUNTS FOR THE RESURRECTION
The second category of evidence is the early accounts we have for the resurrection. In other words, I used to think is an atheist that the resurrection was a legend and that took a long time to develop in the ancient world. What I learned is that we have preserved for us a creed of the earliest Christian Church. A creed that is an eyewitness-based report of the resurrection of Jesus. Now this creed has been dated back by scholars to within months of the death of Jesus — within months. That is historical gold. So, we’ve got a news flash from ancient history on the resurrection.

THE EMPTY TOMB
The best evidence for the empty tomb is even the opponents of Jesus implicitly admitted the tomb was empty. When the disciples began proclaiming that Jesus had risen what the opponent said was, “The disciples stole the body.” They’re conceding that the tomb was empty, they’re just trying to explain how it got empty. So, everybody’s conceding that the tomb was empty. How it got empty is the real issue, and that goes to the fourth category of evidence, which is eyewitnesses.

THERE WERE EYEWITNESSES
For most of what we know about ancient history, it comes from one or maybe two sources of information and yet for the conviction of the disciples that they encountered the resurrected Jesus, we have no fewer than 9 ancient sources inside and outside the New Testament confirming and corroborating the conviction of the disciples that they encountered the risen
Christ. That is an avalanche of a historical data.

[ Lee Strobel ]

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FT4Cj-Pi4m0

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“The Resurrection Argument That Changed a Generation of Scholars”

Gary Habermas is the Distinguished Professor of Apologetics and Philosophy and chairman, Department of Philosophy and Theology, at Liberty University, explores the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Recording from The Veritas Forum at UC-Santa Barbara.

[ Gary Habermas ]

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ay_Db4RwZ_M

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“No Other Name”: A Middle Knowledge Perspective on the Exclusivity of Salvation Through Christ
William Lane Craig

SUMMARY
The conviction of the New Testament writers was that there is no salvation apart from Jesus. This orthodox doctrine is widely rejected today because God’s condemnation of persons in other world religions seems incompatible with various attributes of God.

Analysis reveals the real problem to involve certain counterfactuals of freedom, e.g., why did not God create a world in which all people would freely believe in Christ and be saved? Such questions presuppose that God possesses middle knowledge. But it can be shown that no inconsistency exists between God’s having middle knowledge and certain persons’ being damned; on the contrary, it can be positively shown that these two notions are compatible.

Introduction

“There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4.12). So proclaimed the early preachers of the gospel of Christ. Indeed, this conviction permeates the New Testament and helped to spur the Gentile mission. Paul invites his Gentile converts to recall their pre-Christian days: “Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2.12). The burden of the opening chapters of Romans is to show that this desolate situation is the general condition of mankind. Though God’s eternal power and deity are evident through creation (1.20) and the demands of His moral law implanted on the hearts of all persons (2.15) and although God offers eternal life to all who seek Him in well-doing (2.7), the tragic fact of the matter is that in general people suppress the truth in unrighteousness, ignoring the Creator (1.21) and flouting the moral law (1.32). Therefore, “all men, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin, as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands, no one seeks for God…'” (3.9-1 1). Sin is the great leveler, rendering all needy of God’s forgiveness and salvation. Given the universality of sin, all persons stand morally guilty and condemned before God, utterly incapable of redeeming themselves through righteous acts (3.19-20). But God in His grace has provided a means of salvation from this state of condemnation: Jesus Christ, by his expiatory death, redeems us from sin and justifies us before God (3.21-26). It is through him and through him alone, then, that God’s forgiveness is available (5.12-21). To reject Jesus Christ is therefore to reject God’s grace and forgiveness, to refuse the one means of salvation which God has provided. It is to remain under His condemnation and wrath, to forfeit eternally salvation. For someday God will judge all men, “inflicting vengeance upon those who do not know God and upon those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (II Thessalonians 1.8-9).

It was not just Paul who held to this exclusivistic, Christocentric view of salvation. No less than Paul, the apostle John saw no salvation outside of Christ. In his gospel, Jesus declares, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me” (John 14.6). John explains that men love the darkness of sin rather than light, but that God has sent His Son into the world to save the world and to give eternal life to everyone who believes in the Son. “He who believes is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3.18). People are already spiritually dead; but those who believe in Christ pass from death to life (John 5.24). In his epistles, John asserts that no one who denies the Son has the Father and identifies such a person as the antichrist (I John 2.22-23; 4.3; II John 9). In short, “He who has the Son has life; he who has not the Son of God has not life” (I John 5.12). In John’s Apocalypse, it is the Lamb alone in heaven and on earth and under the earth who is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals, for it was he that by his blood ransomed men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation on the earth (Revelation 5.1-14). In the consummation, everyone whose name is not found written in the Lamb’s book of life is cast into the everlasting fire reserved for the devil and his cohorts (Revelation 20.15).

One could make the same point from the catholic epistles and the pastorals. It is the conviction of the writers of the New Testament that “there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all” (I Timothy 2.5-6).

Indeed, it is plausible that such was the attitude of Jesus himself. New Testament scholarship has reached something of a consensus that the historical Jesus came on the scene with an unparalleled sense of divine authority, the authority to stand and speak in the place of God Himself and to call men to repentance and faith. [1] Moreover, the object of that faith was he himself, the absolute revelation of God: “All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Matthew 11.27) . [2] On the day of judgment, people’s destiny will be determined by how they responded to him: “And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God; but he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God” (Luke 12.8-9). [3] Frequent warnings concerning hell are found on Jesus’ lips, and it may well be that he believed that most of mankind would be damned, while a minority of mankind would be saved: “Enter by the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14) [4]

A hard teaching, no doubt; but the logic of the New Testament is simple and compelling: The universality of sin and the uniqueness Christ’s expiatory sacrifice entail that there is no salvation apart from Christ. Although this exclusivity was scandalous in the polytheistic world of the first century, with the triumph of Christianity throughout the Empire the scandal receded. Indeed, one of the classic marks of the church was its catholicity, and for men like Augustine and Aquinas the universality of the church was one of the signs that the Scriptures are divine revelation, since so great a structure could not have been generated by and founded upon a falsehood. [5] Of course, recalcitrant Jews remained in Christian Europe, and later the infidel armies of Islam had to be combated, but these exceptions were hardly sufficient to overturn the catholicity of the church or to promote religious pluralism.

But with the so-called “Expansion of Europe” during the three centuries of exploration and discovery from 1450 to 1750, the situation changed radically. [6] It was now seen that far from being the universal religion, Christianity was confined to a small corner of the globe. This realization had a two-fold impact upon people’s religious thinking: (i) it tended toward the relativization of religious beliefs. Since each religious system was historically and geographically limited, it seemed incredible that any of them should be regarded as universally true. It seemed that the only religion which could make a universal claim upon mankind would be a sort of general religion of nature. (ii) It tended to make Christianity’s claim to exclusivity appear unjustly narrow and cruel. If salvation was only through faith in Christ, then the majority of the human race was condemned to eternal damnation, since they had not so much as even heard of Christ. Again, only a natural religion available to all men seemed consistent with a fair and loving God.

In our own day the influx into Western nations of immigrants from former colonies, coupled with the advances in telecommunications which have served to shrink the world toward a “global village,” have heightened both of these impressions. As a result, the church has to a great extent lost its sense of missionary calling or been forced to reinterpret it in terms of social engagement, while those who continue to adhere to the traditional, orthodox view are denounced for religious intolerance. This shift is perhaps best illustrated by the attitude of the Second Vatican Council toward world mission. In its Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, the Council declared that those who have not yet received the gospel are related in various ways to the people of God. [7] Jews, in particular, remain dear to God, but the plan of salvation also includes all who acknowledge the Creator, such as Muslims. People who through no fault of their own do not know the gospel, but who strive to do God’s will by conscience can also be saved. The Council therefore declared that Catholics now pray for the Jews, not for the conversion of the Jews and also declares that the Church looks with esteem upon Muslims. [8] Missionary work seems to be directed only toward those who “serve the creature rather than the Creator” or are utterly hopeless. [9] Carefully couched in ambiguous language and often apparently internally inconsistent, [10] the documents of Vatican II could easily be taken as a radical reinterpretation of the nature of the Church and of Christian missions, according to which great numbers of non-Christians are specifically related to the Church and therefore not appropriate subjects of evangelism.

The difficulty of the orthodox position has compelled some persons to embrace universalism and as a consequence to deny the incarnation of Christ. Thus, John Hick explains,

For understood literally the Son of God, God the Son, God-incarnate language implies that God can be adequately known and responded to only through Jesus; and the whole religious life of mankind, beyond the stream of Judaic-Christian faith is thus by implication excluded as lying outside the sphere of salvation. This implication did little positive harm so long as Christendom was a largely autonomous civilization with only relatively marginal interaction with the rest of mankind. But with the clash between the Christian and Muslim worlds, and then on an ever-broadening front with European colonization through the earth, the literal understanding of the mythological language of Christian discipleship has had a divisive effect upon the relations between that minority of human beings who live within the borders of the Christian tradition and that majority who live outside it and within other streams of religious life.

Transposed into theological terms, the problem which has come to the surface in the encounter of Christianity with the other world religions is this: If Jesus was literally God incarnate, and if it is by his death alone that men can be saved, and by their response to him alone that they can appropriate that salvation, then the only doorway to eternal life is Christian faith. It would follow from this that the large majority of the human race so far have not been saved. But is it credible that the loving God and Father of all men has decreed that only those born within one particular thread of human history shall be saved? [11]

But what exactly is the problem with God’s condemning persons who adhere to non-Christian religions? I do not see that the very notion of hell is incompatible with a just and loving God. According to the New Testament, God does not want anyone to perish, but desires that all persons repent and be saved and come to know the truth (11 Peter 3.9; 1 Timothy 2.4). He therefore seeks to draw all men to Himself. Those who make a well-informed and free decision to reject Christ are self-condemned, since they repudiate God’s unique sacrifice for sin. By spurning God’s prevenient grace and the solicitation of His Spirit, they shut out God’s mercy and seal their own destiny. They, therefore, and not God, are responsible for their condemnation, and God deeply mourns their loss.

Nor does it seem to me that the problem can be simply reduced to the inconsistency of a loving and just God’s condemning persons who are either un- , ill-, or misinformed concerning Christ and who therefore lack the opportunity to receive Him. For one could maintain that God graciously applies to such persons the benefits of Christ’s atoning death without their conscious knowledge thereof on the basis of their response to the light of general revelation and the truth that they do have, even as He did in the case of Old Testament figures like Job who were outside the covenant of Israel. [12] The testimony of Scripture is that the mass of humanity do not even respond to the light that they do have, and God’s condemnation of them is neither unloving nor unjust, since He judges them according to standards of general revelation vastly lower than those which are applied to persons who have been recipients of His special revelation.

Rather the real problem, it seems to me, involves certain counterfactuals of freedom concerning those who do not receive special revelation and so are lost. If we take Scripture seriously, we must admit that the vast majority of persons in the world are condemned and will be forever lost, even if in some relatively rare cases a person might be saved through his response to the light that he has apart from special revelation. [13] But then certain questions inevitably arise: Why did God not supply special revelation to persons who, while rejecting the general revelation they do have, would have responded to the gospel of Christ if they had been sufficiently well-informed concerning it? More fundamentally, Why did God create this world when He knew that so many persons would not receive Christ and would therefore be lost? Even more radically, why did God not create a world in which everyone freely receives Christ and so is saved?

Now all of these questions appear, at least, to presuppose that certain counterfactuals of freedom concerning people’s response to God’s gracious initiatives are true, and the last two seem to presuppose that God’s omniscience embraces a species of knowledge known as middle knowledge (scientia media). For if there are no true counterfactuals of freedom, it is not true that certain persons would receive Christ if they were to hear the gospel, nor can God be held responsible for the number of the lost if He lacks middle knowledge, for without such knowledge He could only guess in the moment logically prior to His decree to create the world how many and, indeed, whether any persons would freely receive Christ (or whether He would even send Christ!) and be saved. Let us assume, then, that some such counterfactuals are true and that God has middle knowledge. [14]

For those who are unfamiliar with this species of knowledge and as considerable confusion exists concerning it, a few words about the concept of middle knowledge and its implications for providence and predestination might be helpful.

Scientia Media

Largely the product of the creative genius of the Spanish Jesuit of the Counter-Reformation Luis Molina (1535-1600), the doctrine of middle knowledge proposes to furnish an analysis of divine knowledge in terms of three logical moments. [15] Although whatever God knows, He has known from eternity, so that there is no temporal succession in God’s knowledge, nonetheless there does exist a sort of logical succession in God’s knowledge in that His knowledge of certain propositions is conditionally or explanatorily prior to His knowledge of certain other propositions. That is to say, God’s knowledge of a particular set of propositions depends asymmetrically on His knowledge of a certain other set of propositions and is in this sense posterior to it. In the first, unconditioned moment God knows all possibilia, not only all individual essences, but also all possible worlds. Molina calls such knowledge “natural knowledge” because the content of such knowledge is essential to God and in no way depends on the free decisions of His will. By means of His natural knowledge, then, God has knowledge of every contingent state of affairs which could possibly obtain and of what the exemplification of the individual essence of any free creature could freely choose to do in any such state of affairs that should be actual.

In the second moment, God possesses knowledge of all true counterfactual propositions, including counterfactuals of creaturely freedom. That is to say, He knows what contingent states of affairs would obtain if certain antecedent states of affairs were to obtain; whereas by His natural knowledge God knew what any free creature could do in any set of circumstances, now in this second moment God knows what any free creature would do in any set of circumstances. This is not because the circumstances causally determine the creature’s choice, but simply because this is how the creature would freely choose. God thus knows that were He to actualize certain states of affairs, then certain other contingent states of affairs would obtain. Molina calls this counterfactual knowledge “middle knowledge” because it stands in between the first and third moment in divine knowledge. Middle knowledge is like natural knowledge in that such knowledge does not depend on any decision of the divine will; God does not determine which counterfactuals of creaturely freedom are true or false. Thus, if it is true that

If some agent S were placed in circumstances C, then he would freely perform action a,

then even God in His omnipotence cannot bring it about that S would refrain from a if he were placed in C. On the other hand, middle knowledge is unlike natural knowledge in that the content of His middle knowledge is not essential to God. True counterfactuals of freedom are contingently true; S could freely decide to refrain from a in C, so that different counterfactuals could be true and be known by God than those that are. Hence, although it is essential to God that He have middle knowledge, it is not essential to Him to have middle knowledge of those particular propositions which He does in fact know.

Intervening between the second and third moments of divine knowledge stands God’s free decree to actualize a world known by Him to be realizable on the basis of His middle knowledge. By His natural knowledge, God knows what is the entire range of logically possible worlds; by His middle knowledge He knows, in effect, what is the proper subset of those worlds which it is feasible for Him to actualize. By a free decision, God decrees to actualize one of those worlds known to Him through His middle knowledge. According to Molina, this decision is the result of a complete and unlimited deliberation by means of which God considers and weighs every possible circumstance and its ramifications and decides to settle on the particular world He desires. Hence, logically prior, if not chronologically prior, to God’s creation of the world is the divine deliberation concerning which world to actualize.

Given God’s free decision to actualize a world, in the third and final moment God possesses knowledge of all remaining propositions that are in fact true in the actual world. Such knowledge is denominated “free knowledge” by Molina because it is logically posterior to the decision of the divine will to actualize a world. The content of such knowledge is clearly not essential to God, since He could have decreed to actualize a different world. Had He done so, the content of His free knowledge would be different.

Molina saw clearly the profound implications a doctrine of middle knowledge could have for the notions of providence and predestination. God’s providence is His ordering of things to their ends, either directly or mediately through secondary agents. Molina distinguishes between God’s absolute and conditional intentions for creatures. It is, for example, God’s absolute intention that no creature should sin and that all should reach beatitude. But it is not within the scope of God’s power to control what free creatures would do if placed in any set of circumstances. In certain circumstances, then, creatures would freely sin, despite the fact that God does not will this. Should God then choose to actualize precisely those circumstances, He has no choice but to allow the creature to sin. God’s absolute intentions can thus be frustrated by free creatures. But God’s conditional intentions, which are based on His middle knowledge and thus take account of what free creatures would do, cannot be so frustrated. It is God’s conditional intention to permit many actions on the part of free creatures which He does not absolutely will; but in His infinite wisdom God so orders which states of affairs obtain that His purposes are achieved despite and even through the sinful, free choices of creatures. God thus providentially arranges for everything that does happen by either willing or permitting it, and He causes everything to happen insofar as He concurs with the decisions of free creatures in producing their effects, yet He does so in such a way as to preserve freedom and contingency.

Middle knowledge also serves to reconcile predestination and human freedom. On Molina’s view predestination is merely that aspect of providence pertaining to eternal salvation; it is the order and means by which God ensures that some free creature attains eternal life. Prior to the divine decree, God knows via His middle knowledge how any possible free creature would respond in any possible circumstances, which include the offer of certain gifts of prevenient grace which God might provide. In choosing a certain possible world, God commits Himself, out of His goodness, to offering various gifts of grace to every person which are sufficient for his salvation. Such grace is not intrinsically efficacious in that it of itself produces its effect; rather it is extrinsically efficacious in accomplishing its end in those who freely cooperate with it. God knows that many will freely reject His sufficient grace and be lost; but He knows that many others will assent to it, thereby rendering it efficacious in effecting their salvation. Given God’s immutable decree to actualize a certain world, those whom God knew would respond to His grace are predestined to do so in the sense that it is absolutely certain that they will respond to and persevere in God’s grace. There is no risk of their being lost; indeed, in sensu composito it is impossible for them to fall away. But in sensu diviso they are entirely free to reject God’s grace; but were they to do so, God would have had different middle knowledge and they would not have been predestined. [16] Similarly those who are not predestined have no one to blame but themselves. It is up to God whether we find ourselves in a world in which we are predestined, but it is up to us whether we are predestined in the world in which we find ourselves.

The Soteriological Problem of Evil

Years ago when I first read Alvin Plantinga’s basically Molinist formulation of the Free Will Defense against the problem of evil, it occurred to me that his reasoning might also help to resolve the problem of the exclusivity of salvation through Christ, and my own subsequent study of the notion of middle knowledge has convinced me that this is in fact so. [17] For the person who objects to the exclusivity of salvation through Christ is, in effect, posing what one might call the soteriological problem of evil, that is to say, he maintains that the proposition

1. God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent

is inconsistent with

2. Some persons do not receive Christ and are damned.

Since (1) is essential to theism, we must therefore deny (2).

The orthodox Christian will point out, however, that (1) and (2) are not explicitly contradictory, since one is not the negation of the other, nor are they logically contradictory, since a contradiction cannot be derived from them using first order logic. The objector, then, must mean that (1) and (2) are inconsistent in the broadly logical sense, that is, that there is no possible world in which both are true. Now in order to show this, the objector must supply some further premise(s) which meets the following conditions: (it) its conjunction with (1) and (2) formally entails a contradiction, (ii) it is either necessarily true, essential to theism, or a logical consequence of propositions that are, and (iii) its meeting conditions (i) and (ii) could not he rationally denied by a right-thinking person. [18]

I am not aware of anyone who has tried to supply the missing premise which meets these conditions, but let us try to find some such proposition. Perhaps it might be claimed that the following two propositions will suffice:

3. God is able to actualize a possible world in which all persons freely receive Christ.

4. God prefers a world in which no persons fail to receive Christ and are damned to a world in which some do.

It might be claimed that anyone who accepts (1) must also accept (3) and (4), since (3) is true in virtue of God’s omniscience (which includes middle knowledge) and His omnipotence, and (4) is true in virtue of His omnibenevolence.

But is (3) necessarily true or incumbent upon the theist who is a Molinist? This is far from clear. For although it is logically possible that God actualize any possible world (assuming that God exists in every possible world), it does not follow therefrom that it is feasible for God to actualize any possible world. [19] For God’s ability to actualize worlds containing free creatures will be limited by which counterfactuals of creaturely freedom are true in the moment logically prior to the divine decree. In a world containing free creatures, God can strongly actualize only certain segments or states of affairs in that world, and the remainder He must weakly actualize, using His middle knowledge of what free creatures would do under any circumstances. Hence, there will be an infinite number of possible worlds known to God by His natural knowledge which are not realizable by Him because the counterfactuals of creaturely freedom which must be true in order for Him to weakly actualize such worlds are in fact false. [20] His middle knowledge serves to delimit, so to speak, the range of logically possible worlds to those which are feasible for Him to actualize. This might be thought to impugn divine omnipotence, but in fact such a restriction poses no non-logical limit to God’s power. [21]

So the question is whether it is necessarily true or incumbent upon the Molinist to hold that within the range of possible worlds which are feasible to God there is at least one world in which everyone freely receives Christ and is saved. Now within Molinism there is a school known as Congruism which would appear to agree that such a position is mandatory for the theist . [22] According to Suarez, for any individual God might create there are gifts of prevenient grace which would be efficacious in winning the free consent of that individual to God’s offer of salvation. [23] Such grace, which Suarez calls “congruent grace” (gratia congrua), consists in the divine gifts and aids which would be efficacious in eliciting the response desired by God, but without coercion. No grace is intrinsically efficacious, but congruent grace is always in fact efficacious because God knows via His middle knowledge that the creature would freely and affirmatively respond to it, were He to offer it. Accordingly, the Congruist might claim

5. God knows for any individual S under what circumstances S would freely receive Christ.

But why is it incumbent upon us to accept (5)? Given that persons are free, might there not be persons who would not receive Christ in any actual world in which they existed? Suarez himself seemed to vacillate at this point. When asked whether there is a congruent grace for every person God could create or whether some persons are so incorrigible that regardless of the grace accorded them by God, they would not repent, Suarez wants to say that God can win the free response of any creature He could create. But when pressed that it is logically possible that some person should resist every grace, Suarez concedes that this is true, but adds that God could still save such a person by over- powering his will. [24] But such coercive salvation is beside the point; so long as there might be individuals for whom no grace would be congruent, (5) cannot be regarded as necessary or essential to theism. On the contrary, the theist might hold that

6. For some individual S, there are no circumstances under which S would freely receive Christ.

In such a case, the theist could consistently maintain that there are no worlds feasible for God in which S exists and is saved.

The Congruist could, however, accept (6) and still insist that there are congruent graces for many other individuals and that God could actualize a world containing only such individuals, so that every one would receive Christ and be saved. But the Congruist must show more than that for certain (or even every) individual there are circumstances under which that person would freely receive Christ. He must show that the circumstances under which various individuals would freely receive Christ are compossible, so that all persons in some possible world would freely receive Christ and be saved. It is not even enough to show that the various circumstances are compossible; if he is to avoid the counterfactual fallacy of strengthening the antecedent, he must show that in the combined circumstances the consequent still follows. It might be that in circumstances C1, individual S1 would do action a and that in circumstances C2 individual S2 would do b and that C1and C2 are compossible, but it does not follow that in C1- C2, S1 would do a or that in C1 – C2, S2would do b. Hence, even if it were the case that for any individual He might create, God could actualize a world in which that person is freely saved, it does not follow that there are worlds which are feasible for God in which all individuals are saved. Contrary to (3) the theist might hold that

7. There is no world feasible for God in which all persons would freely receive Christ.

Unless we have good reason to think that (7) is impossible or essentially incompatible with Christian theism, the objector has failed to show (1) and (2) to be inconsistent.

That leads to (4), which, it is said, is incumbent upon anyone who accepts God’s omnibenevolence. Now I think that it is obvious that, all things being equal, an omnibenevolent God prefers a world in which all persons are saved to a world containing those same persons some of whom are lost. But (4) is stronger than this. It claims that God prefers any world in which all persons are saved to any world in which some persons are damned. But again, this is far from obvious. Suppose that the only worlds feasible for God in which all persons receive Christ and are saved are worlds containing only a handful of persons. Is it not at least possible that such a world is less preferable to God than a world in which great multitudes come to experience His salvation and a few are damned because they freely reject Christ? Not only does this seem to me possibly true, but I think that it probably is true. Why should the joy and blessedness of those who would receive God’s grace and love be prevented on account of those who would freely spurn it? An omnibenevolent God might want as many creatures as possible to share salvation; but given certain true counterfactuals of creaturely freedom, God, in order to have a multitude in heaven, might have to accept a number in hell. Hence, contrary to (4) the theist might well hold that

8. God prefers certain worlds in which some persons fail to receive Christ and are damned to certain worlds in which all receive Christ and are saved.

So unless we have good reason to think that (8) is impossible or essentially incompatible with Christian theism, the objector has again failed to show (1) and (2) to be inconsistent.

Since we have no good grounds for believing (3) and (4) to be necessary or essential to theism, or for that matter even contingently true, the opponent of the traditional Christian view has not succeeded in demonstrating that there is no possible world in which God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent and yet in which some persons do not receive Christ and are damned.

But, on the pattern of the Free Will Defense, we can yet go further. For I believe that we can demonstrate not only that (1) and (2) have not been shown to be inconsistent, but also that they are, indeed, consistent. In order to show (1) and (2) to be consistent, the orthodox defender has to come up with a proposition which is consistent with (1) and which together with (1) entails (2). This proposition need not be plausible or even true; it need be only a possibly true proposition, even if it is contingently false.

Now we have seen that it is possible that God wants to maximize the number of the saved: He wants heaven to be as full as possible. Moreover, as a loving God, He wants to minimize the number of the lost: He wants hell to be as empty as possible. His goal, then, is to achieve an optimal balance between these, to create no more lost than is necessary to achieve a certain number of the saved.

But it is possible that the balance between saved and lost in the actual world is such an optimal balance. It is possible that in order to create the actual number of persons who will be saved, God had to create the actual number of persons who will be lost. It is possible that the terrible price of filling heavenis also filling hell and that in any other possible world which was feasible for God the balance between saved and lost was worse. It is possible that had God actualized a world in which there are less persons in hell, there would also have been less persons in heaven. It is possible that in order to achieve this much blessedness, God was forced to accept this much loss. Even if we grant that God could have achieved a better ratio between saved and lost, it is possible that in order to achieve such a ratio God would have had to so drastically reduce the number of the saved as to leave heaven deficient in population (say, by creating a world of only four people, three of whom go to heaven and one to hell). It is possible that in order to achieve a multitude of saints, God had to accept an even greater multitude of sinners.

It might be objected that necessarily a loving God would not create persons who He knew would be damned as a concomitant of His creating persons who He knew would be saved. Given His middle knowledge of such a prospect, He should have refrained from creation altogether. But this objection does not strike me as true, much less necessarily so. It is possible that God loves all persons and desires their salvation and furnishes sufficient grace for the salvation of all; indeed, some of the lost may receive even greater gifts of prevenient grace than some of the saved. It is of their own free will that people reject the grace of God and are damned. Their damnation is the result of their own choice and is contrary to God’s perfect will, which is that all persons be saved, and their previsioned obduracy should not be allowed to preclude God’s creating persons who would freely respond to His grace and be saved.

But it might be further objected that necessarily a loving God would not create persons who would be damned as a concomitant of His creating persons who would be saved if He knew that the former would under other circumstances have freely responded to His grace and been saved. Therefore, He should not have created at all. Now one might respond by denying the necessary truth of such a proposition; one could argue that so long as people receive sufficient grace for salvation in whatever circumstances they are, then they are responsible for their response in such circumstances and cannot complain that had they been in different circumstances, then their reaction would have been different. But even if we concede that the objector’s principle is necessarily true, how do we know that its antecedent is fulfilled? We have seen that it is possible that some persons would not freely receive Christ under any circumstances. Suppose, then, that God has so ordered the world that all persons who are actually lost are such persons. In such a case, anyone who actually is lost would have been lost in any world in which God had created him. It is possible, then, that although God, in order to bring this many persons to salvation, had to pay the price of seeing this many persons lost, nevertheless He has providentially ordered the world such that those who are lost are persons who would not have been saved in any world feasible for God in which they exist. On the analogy of transworld depravity, [25] we may accordingly speak of the property of transworld damnation, which is possessed by any person who freely does not respond to God’s grace and so is lost in every world feasible for God in which that person exists (this notion can, of course, be more accurately restated in terms of individual essences and instantiations thereof).

Therefore, we are now prepared to furnish a proposition which is consistent with (1) and entails (2):

9. God has actualized a world containing an optimal balance between saved and unsaved, and those who are unsaved suffer from transworld damnation.

So long as (9) is even possible, one is consistent in believing both (1) and (2).

On the basis of this analysis, we now seem to be equipped to provide possible answers to the three difficult questions which prompted our inquiry. ( i ) Why did God not create a world in which everyone freely receives Christ and so is saved? There is no such world which is feasible for God. He would have actualized such a world were this feasible, but in light of certain true counterfactuals of creaturely freedom every world realizable by God is a world in which some persons are lost. Given His will to create a world of free creatures, God must accept that some will be lost. (ii) Why did God create this world when He knew that so many persons would not receive Christ and would therefore be lost? God desired to incorporate as many persons as He could into the love and joy of divine fellowship while minimizing the number of persons whose final state is hell. He therefore chose a world having an optimal balance between the number of the saved and the number of the damned. Given the truth of certain counterfactuals of creaturely freedom, it was not feasible for God to actualize a world having as many saved as but with no more damned than the actual world. The happiness of the saved should not be precluded by the admittedly tragic circumstance that their salvation has as its concomitant the damnation of many others, for the fate of the damned is the result of their own free choice. (iii) Why did God not supply special revelation to persons who, while rejecting the general revelation they do have, would have responded to the gospel of Christ if they had been sufficiently well-informed concerning it? There are no such persons. In each world in which they exist God loves and wills the salvation of persons who in the actual world have only general revelation, and He graciously and preveniently solicits their response by His Holy Spirit, but in every world feasible for God they freely reject His grace and are lost. If there were anyone who would have responded to the gospel if he had heard it, then God in His love would have brought the gospel to such a person. Apart from miraculous intervention, “a single revelation to the whole earth has never in the past been possible, given the facts of geography and technology”; [26] but God in His providence has so arranged the world that as the gospel spread outward from its historical roots in first century Palestine, all who would respond to this gospel, were they to hear it, did and do hear it. Those who have only general revelation and do not respond to it would also not have responded to the gospel had they heard it. Hence, no one is lost because of lack of information due to historical or geographical accident. All who want or would want to be saved will be saved.

The above are only possible answers to the questions posed. We have been about a defense, not a theodicy, concerning the soteriological problem of evil. What I have shown is that the orthodox Christian is not inconsistent in affirming that an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent God exists and that some people do not receive Christ and are damned. It might, of course, be countered that while the possibility of (9) shows the orthodox position to be consistent, still (9) is highly improbable, given the world in which we live, so that (2) still remains improbable, if not inconsistent, with regard to (1). But here the strength of the position I have been defending emerges beyond that of Plantinga’s Free Will Defense. For while it seems fantastic to attribute all natural evil to the actions of demonic beings (e.g., earthquakes’ being caused by the demons pushing about tectonic plates), (9) does not seem similarly implausible. On the contrary I find the above account of the matter to be quite plausible not only as a defense, but also as a soteriological theodicy. Indeed, I think that it helps to put the proper perspective on Christian missions: it is our duty to proclaim the gospel to the whole world, trusting that God has so providentially ordered things that through us the good news will be brought to persons who God knew would respond if they heard it.

Conclusion

In conclusion, then, I think that a middle knowledge perspective on the problem of the exclusivity of the Christian religion can be quite fruitful. Since all persons are in sin, all are in need of salvation. Since Christ is God’s unique expiatory sacrifice for sin, salvation is only through Christ. Since Jesus and his work are historical in character, many persons as a result of historical and geographical accident will not be sufficiently well-informed concerning him and thus unable to respond to him in faith. Such persons who are not sufficiently well-informed about Christ’s person and work will be judged on the basis of their response to general revelation and the light that they do have. Perhaps some will be saved through such a response; but on the basis of Scripture we must say that such “anonymous Christians” are relatively rare. Those who are judged and condemned on the basis of their failure to respond to the light of general revelation cannot legitimately complain of unfairness for their not also receiving the light of special revelation, since such persons would not have responded to special revelation had they received it. For God in His providence has so arranged the world that anyone who would receive Christ has the opportunity to do so. Since God loves all persons and desires the salvation of all, He supplies sufficient grace for salvation to every individual, and nobody who would receive Christ if he were to hear the gospel will be denied that opportunity. As Molina puts it, our salvation is in our own hands.

Finally, I hope that no reader has been offended by what might appear to be a rather dry and dispassionate discussion of the salvation and damnation of people apart from Christ. But with such an emotionally explosive issue on the table, it seems to me that it is prudent to treat it with reserve. No orthodox Christian likes the doctrine of hell or delights in anyone’s condemnation. I truly wish that universalism were true, but it is not. My compassion toward those in other world religions is therefore expressed, not in pretending that they are not lost and dying without Christ, but by my supporting and making every effort myself to communicate to them the life-giving message of salvation through Christ. [27]

[1]
On Jesus’ self-understanding, see James D. G. Dunn, Jesus and the Spirit (London: SCM Press, 1975), pp. 11 -92; Royce Gordon Gruenler, New Approaches to Jesus and the Gospels (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 1982), especially pt. 1.

[2]
For arguments for the authenticity of this saying, see Dunn, Jesus, pp. 26-33, 371.

[3]
On the authenticity of this and other “Son of Man” sayings, see Seyoon Kim, The Son of Man as the Son of God (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1985), especially pp. 88- 89, and the literature cited there.

[4]
The authenticity of this saying is supported by its multiple attestation (cf. Lk. 13:22-30), its Jewish milieu, and its coherence with Jesus’s other teachings. The most plausible way to avoid the inference would be to deny the universal scope of the saying, restricting it to the Jews of Jesus’ generation. But it hardly seems likely that Jesus believed that the majority of the Gentile world would respond to him in repentance and faith.

[5]
Augustine De vera religione 3.5; 24.47; Augustine De civitate Dei 20.5; Thomas Aquinas Summa contra gentiles 1. 6.

[6]
For a brief account, see my The Historical Argument for the Resurrection of Jesus during the Deist Controversy, Texts and Studies in Religion 23 (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1985), pp. 82-92.

[7]
“Dogmatic Constitution on the Church” [Lumen Gentium 2.16], in The Documents of Vatican II, ed. W. M. Abbott (New York: Guild Press, 1966), p. 34.

[8]
“Declaration on Non-Christian Religions,” in Documents, pp. 663-66.

[9]
“The Church” [LG 2.16], p. 35.

[10]
For example, the constitution on the Church also affirms that anyone who knows that Christ is the unique way of salvation and that the Church is his body and yet refuses to become a Catholic cannot be saved (“The Church” [LG 2.14], in Documents, pp. 32-33). The ambiguity and inconsistency of the documents probably reflects the struggle between traditionalists and modernists in the Council.

[11]
John Hick, “Jesus and the World Religions,” in The Myth of God Incarnate, ed. John Hick (London: SCM, 1977), pp. 179-80.

[12]
For a defense of such a position, see Stuart C. Hackett, The Reconstruction of the Christian Revelation Claim (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 1985), pp. 242 46.

[13]
As we have seen, it is the testimony of Scripture that most persons who hear the gospel do not respond with saving faith and, moreover, that most of those without the light of the gospel do not even respond to the light of general revelation fact which sociological observations would seem to confirm. Hence, I would agree with Hick that attempts to resolve the difficulty by appeal to “anonymous Christians” or “implicit faith” or “the invisible church” are ultimately unavailing, but not because they are clinging to the husk of the old theology, but precisely because they are incompatible with it.

[14]
Of course, this is a controversial assumption, But for a defense of the doctrine of middle knowledge see Alvin Plantinga, “Reply to Robert Adams, ” in Alvin Plantinga, ed. James Tomberlin and Peter Van Inwagen, Profiles 5 (Dordrecht, Holland: D. Reidel, 1985), pp. 372-82; Jonathan L. Kvanvig, The Possibility of an All-Knowing God (New York: St. Martin’s, 1986), pp. 121-48; Alfred J. Freddoso, “Introduction,” in Luis Molina, On Divine Foreknowledge, trans. with notes by Alfred J. Freddoso (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1988); and my own Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1990).

[15]
For Molina’s doctrine, see Ludovici Molina De liberi arbitrii cum gratia donis, divina praescientia, providentia, praedestinationae et reprobatione Concordia 4. This section has been translated by Freddoso under the title in note 14. For Suarez’s doctrine, see R. P. Francisci Suarez, Opera omnia, ed. Carolo Berton, vol. 11: Opuscula theologica sex materiam de auxiliis gratiae absolventia quaestionesque de scientia, libertate et justitia Dei elucidantia: Opusculum II: De scientia Dei futurorum contingentium 2. 7.

[16]
In a proposition taken in the composite sense, the modal operator governs the proposition as a whole, e.g., “Necessarily, if God sees Socrates sitting, he is sitting.” When the proposition is taken in the divided sense, the modal operator governs only a component of the proposition, e.g. “If God sees Socrates sitting, he is necessarily sitting. ” The distinction is analogous to the more familiar difference between necessity de dicto and de re. In the case at hand, the proposition “If God via His middle knowledge and decree has foreknown and chosen to actualize a world in which Peter will be saved, then necessarily Peter will be saved” is true in sensu composito, but false in sensu divivo.

[17]
For his reasoning see Alvin Plantings, God and Other Minds (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1967), pp. 115-55; Alvin Plantinga, The Nature of Necessity, Clarendon Library of Logic and Philosophy (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974), pp. 164-95; Alvin Plantinga, “Self-Profile,” in Plantinga, pp. 36-55.

[18]
For an explanation of why each of these conditions must be met, see Plantinga, God and Other Minds, pp. 116-17, and Plantinga, “Self-Profile,” pp. 39-40.

[19]
See Thomas P. Flint, “The Problem of Divine Freedom,” American Philosophical Quarterly 20 (1983): 257. According to Flint, although all worlds are possible for God to actualize, a world is feasible for God to actualize if and only if it is a member of that proper subset of all possible worlds determined by the counterfactuals of creaturely freedom which God knows to be true.

[20] See Plantinga, “Self-Profile,” pp. 50-52.

[21]
See Thomas P. Flint and Alfred J. Freddoso, “Maximal Power,” in The Existence and Nature of God, ed. Alfred J. Freddoso (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1983), pp. 93-98.

[22] On Congruism, see Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. A. Vacant, E. Mangenot, E. Amann, (Paris: Letouzey et ane, 1923), s.v. “Congruisme,” by H. Quilliet, vol. 3. 1, cols. 1120-1138; Hastings’ Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, s.v. “Molinism,” by Aelfred Whitacre; Th. de Régnon, Banes et Molin (Paris: H. Oudin, 1883), pp. 122-60.

[23]
Suarez, Opera, vol. 11: Opuscula 1: De concursu et efficaci auxilio Dei ad actus libri arbitrii necessario 3.6, 14, 16, 17, 20; Suarez, Opera, vol. 10: Appendix prior: Tractatus de vera intelligentia auxi ii efficacis, ejusque concordia cum libertate voluntarii consensus 1, 12, 13, 14.

[24] Suarez, De concursu et aux ilio Dei 3.14, 16; Suarez, De scientia Dei 2.6.9.

[25] See Plantinga, Nature of Necessity , pp. 184-99.

[26] Hick, “Jesus and World Religions,” p. 180.

[27]
I am very grateful to Thomas Flint and Robert Gundry for helpful comments on the first draft of this paper.

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10 Reasons to Believe God Became a Man – RBC Ministries

1 A VIRGIN CONCEIVED.
If Mary was telling the truth, her baby had no
human father. She claimed an angel appeared to her and told her she would conceive a son by God’s Spirit. Then he said that this child, whom she was to name Jesus, would be the Son of God. If Mary was lying, the night of Jesus’ birth was not holy, and the only thing that was silent was the truth. But how can we know? How can we take seriously the kind of story that usually deserves laughs of disbelief? The answer is in what followed. If there were no witnesses and no evidence, we could ignore Mary’s claims. If her son’s life was the same as any other life, her claim of a virgin birth would be the easiest of all stories to dismiss.

2 AN OLD TESTAMENT PROPHET PREDICTED A GOD-MAN.
What we do know is that in the seventh century BC, the prophet Isaiah made predictions about a Servant of the Lord who would rule the earth in the last days. He described a day in which all of the earth would be at peace and all the nations would go up to Jerusalem to worship God (Isaiah 2). Isaiah announced, “Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (9:6). Isaiah also gave a mysterious prophecy that was only partially fulfilled in his lifetime. He wrote, “The Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (7:14). Immanuel means “God with us.”

3 ANGELS ANNOUNCED THE BIRTH.
In the shepherds’ fields outside of Bethlehem, a group of witnesses formed a bridge between Isaiah and Mary. According to New Testament records (Luke 2:8-14), terrified Jewish shepherds were visited by an angel who announced the birth of Israel’s long-awaited Messiah. The angel said, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger” (vv.10-12). As the shepherds told it, the sky was filled with angels praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men in whom He is well pleased” (v.14 ASV).

4 A SIGN APPEARED IN THE SKY. According to the New Testament, a light in the sky gave additional credibility to Mary. A group of Magi from the East followed a “starlike sign” to the Jewish town of Bethlehem. What they found was a child they believed to be the long-awaited Jewish Messiah. For hundreds of years Old Testament prophets had been speaking of “a Star” and “a Scepter” that would come out of Israel (Numbers 24:17). The Old Testament also predicted a ruler of Israel who would come out of Bethlehem, a ruler “whose goings forth are from old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2).

5 THE TIME WAS RIGHT.
Many believe that the Magi who worshiped Jesus after His birth came from the region of Babylon. If so, they could have had access to the prophecy of a Jewish prophet named Daniel. While in exile in Babylon 400 years earlier, Daniel had a vision that allows for the calculation of the arrival of the Jewish Messiah. According to Daniel’s vision, from the command to rebuild the temple (458 BC or 444 BC), 69 “sevens” would be followed by the arrival and death of Messiah (Daniel 7:13-14; 9:24-27). Some believe this prophecy predicted the exact number of days until Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. (For more details see the RBC publication The Daniel Papers, Q1207).

6 JESUS CLAIMED TO BE EQUAL WITH GOD.
Some have suggested that Jesus never claimed for Himself what His followers claimed for Him. Yet the commotion that surrounded His life can be best explained by His repeated claim to be one with God. John, one of the Gospel writers, quoted Jesus as saying, “Before Abraham was, I am” (8:58). (In Exodus 3:14, the name I AM was used by God to identify Himself to Moses.) John also quoted Jesus as saying, “I and My Father are One” (10:30) and “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him” (14:7). According to the Gospels, Jesus said that to love or hate Him, or to receive or reject Him, was to love or hate, receive or reject His Father in heaven.

7 HIS FRIENDS WORSHIPED HIM.
When Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples, saw the resurrected Christ, he declared, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). Years later, Jesus’ close friend and follower John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1- 3,14). Another friend, Peter, in one of his letters to the early church, addressed his readers as “those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1).

8 JESUS’ ENEMIES ACCUSED HIM OF BLASPHEMY.
Jesus’ friends may have wanted to believe He was more than a man, but His enemies did not. The religious leaders of Israel were outraged to think that the same man who accused them of being hypocritical, blind leaders of the blind, would also claim to forgive sins, would speak of God as His Father, and would even say that He was one with God. On more than one occasion the leaders of Israel picked up stones to kill Jesus, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God” (John 10:33).

9 JESUS’ MIRACLES SUPPORTED HIS CLAIMS.
Jesus’ miracles recorded in the New Testament were more than wonders. They were signs. He did them to encourage men and women to believe in Him for everlasting life. He healed a crippled man to affirm His right to forgive sins. He fed thousands of people with a little boy’s lunch, setting the stage for His claim to be the “bread of life.” He walked on water, stilled angry seas, healed the sick, restored paralyzed limbs, gave sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf, and even raised from the dead an embalmed man by the name of Lazarus. One reason Jesus performed miracles was to support His claim to be God. The apostle John wrote, “Truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30-31).

10 HIS DEPARTURE WAS GREATER THAN HIS ARRIVAL.
Many people down through history have claimed to be gods. Yet only one man has been willing to die for the sins of others. Only one has risen from the dead to prove that He is the Son of God. According to the New Testament, after Jesus voluntarily gave His life on an executioner’s cross, He appeared to His closest disciples and more than 500 other followers for a period of 40 days (1 Corinthians 15:5-8). The eyewitnesses were so convinced of His resurrection that they were willing to suffer and die for their claims. His disciples said that He showed them His scarred hands and feet, walked and talked with them, and even ate with them. Then while they met with Him on the Mount of Olives, He gave them His last words and ascended into the clouds. With a departure more spectacular than His arrival, Jesus left us with a better understanding of the announcement of the angel who said, “There is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).

YOU’RE NOT ALONE if you have mixed feelings when you think about the evidence surrounding the life of Jesus. You may feel compelled to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, but you’re not sure of your relationship to Him. If that’s the case, be assured of this: If you accept Him, He will accept you. If you will receive His offer of forgiveness, everlasting life, and adoption into the family of God, He will become your Savior, Teacher, and Lord.

If you’ve never received Jesus in this way, we encourage you to carefully read the New Testament verses of Romans 3:23 (which says that all have sinned), Romans 6:23 (which says that the wages of sin is spiritual death, separation from God), and Romans 10:13 (which assures us that all who call on the name of the Lord Jesus will be saved). To accept God’s gift, you can pray something like this: “God, I know I’m a sinner. I know I can’t save myself. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins. I believe He rose from the dead to live His life through all who believe in Him. I now receive Him as my Savior. I accept Your offer of forgiveness and everlasting life. Thank You, Father. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.”

If you made a decision to receive God’s gift, let us know by letter or e-mail (rbc@rbc.org) and you will receive, without cost or obligation, devotional and Bible-study materials designed to help you grow in your new life as a child of God. Also, pray for God to lead you to a church that faithfully teaches the Bible in a spirit of love and Christlikeness. You have received the greatest gift of all. The gift bought by God Himself—for you.

Download Booklet: https://discoveryseries.org/courses/10-reasons-to-believe-god-became-a-man/

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10 Reasons to Believe God Became a Man – RBC Ministries

1 A VIRGIN CONCEIVED.
If Mary was telling the truth, her baby had no
human father. She claimed an angel appeared to her and told her she would conceive a son by God’s Spirit. Then he said that this child, whom she was to name Jesus, would be the Son of God. If Mary was lying, the night of Jesus’ birth was not holy, and the only thing that was silent was the truth. But how can we know? How can we take seriously the kind of story that usually deserves laughs of disbelief? The answer is in what followed. If there were no witnesses and no evidence, we could ignore Mary’s claims. If her son’s life was the same as any other life, her claim of a virgin birth would be the easiest of all stories to dismiss.

2 AN OLD TESTAMENT PROPHET PREDICTED A GOD-MAN.
What we do know is that in the seventh century BC, the prophet Isaiah made predictions about a Servant of the Lord who would rule the earth in the last days. He described a day in which all of the earth would be at peace and all the nations would go up to Jerusalem to worship God (Isaiah 2). Isaiah announced, “Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (9:6). Isaiah also gave a mysterious prophecy that was only partially fulfilled in his lifetime. He wrote, “The Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (7:14). Immanuel means “God with us.”

3 ANGELS ANNOUNCED THE BIRTH.
In the shepherds’ fields outside of Bethlehem, a group of witnesses formed a bridge between Isaiah and Mary. According to New Testament records (Luke 2:8-14), terrified Jewish shepherds were visited by an angel who announced the birth of Israel’s long-awaited Messiah. The angel said, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger” (vv.10-12). As the shepherds told it, the sky was filled with angels praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men in whom He is well pleased” (v.14 ASV).

4 A SIGN APPEARED IN THE SKY. According to the New Testament, a light in the sky gave additional credibility to Mary. A group of Magi from the East followed a “starlike sign” to the Jewish town of Bethlehem. What they found was a child they believed to be the long-awaited Jewish Messiah. For hundreds of years Old Testament prophets had been speaking of “a Star” and “a Scepter” that would come out of Israel (Numbers 24:17). The Old Testament also predicted a ruler of Israel who would come out of Bethlehem, a ruler “whose goings forth are from old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2).

5 THE TIME WAS RIGHT.
Many believe that the Magi who worshiped Jesus after His birth came from the region of Babylon. If so, they could have had access to the prophecy of a Jewish prophet named Daniel. While in exile in Babylon 400 years earlier, Daniel had a vision that allows for the calculation of the arrival of the Jewish Messiah. According to Daniel’s vision, from the command to rebuild the temple (458 BC or 444 BC), 69 “sevens” would be followed by the arrival and death of Messiah (Daniel 7:13-14; 9:24-27). Some believe this prophecy predicted the exact number of days until Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. (For more details see the RBC publication The Daniel Papers, Q1207).

6 JESUS CLAIMED TO BE EQUAL WITH GOD.
Some have suggested that Jesus never claimed for Himself what His followers claimed for Him. Yet the commotion that surrounded His life can be best explained by His repeated claim to be one with God. John, one of the Gospel writers, quoted Jesus as saying, “Before Abraham was, I am” (8:58). (In Exodus 3:14, the name I AM was used by God to identify Himself to Moses.) John also quoted Jesus as saying, “I and My Father are One” (10:30) and “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him” (14:7). According to the Gospels, Jesus said that to love or hate Him, or to receive or reject Him, was to love or hate, receive or reject His Father in heaven.

7 HIS FRIENDS WORSHIPED HIM.
When Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples, saw the resurrected Christ, he declared, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). Years later, Jesus’ close friend and follower John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1- 3,14). Another friend, Peter, in one of his letters to the early church, addressed his readers as “those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1).

8 JESUS’ ENEMIES ACCUSED HIM OF BLASPHEMY.
Jesus’ friends may have wanted to believe He was more than a man, but His enemies did not. The religious leaders of Israel were outraged to think that the same man who accused them of being hypocritical, blind leaders of the blind, would also claim to forgive sins, would speak of God as His Father, and would even say that He was one with God. On more than one occasion the leaders of Israel picked up stones to kill Jesus, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God” (John 10:33).

9 JESUS’ MIRACLES SUPPORTED HIS CLAIMS.
Jesus’ miracles recorded in the New Testament were more than wonders. They were signs. He did them to encourage men and women to believe in Him for everlasting life. He healed a crippled man to affirm His right to forgive sins. He fed thousands of people with a little boy’s lunch, setting the stage for His claim to be the “bread of life.” He walked on water, stilled angry seas, healed the sick, restored paralyzed limbs, gave sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf, and even raised from the dead an embalmed man by the name of Lazarus. One reason Jesus performed miracles was to support His claim to be God. The apostle John wrote, “Truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30-31).

10 HIS DEPARTURE WAS GREATER THAN HIS ARRIVAL.
Many people down through history have claimed to be gods. Yet only one man has been willing to die for the sins of others. Only one has risen from the dead to prove that He is the Son of God. According to the New Testament, after Jesus voluntarily gave His life on an executioner’s cross, He appeared to His closest disciples and more than 500 other followers for a period of 40 days (1 Corinthians 15:5-8). The eyewitnesses were so convinced of His resurrection that they were willing to suffer and die for their claims. His disciples said that He showed them His scarred hands and feet, walked and talked with them, and even ate with them. Then while they met with Him on the Mount of Olives, He gave them His last words and ascended into the clouds. With a departure more spectacular than His arrival, Jesus left us with a better understanding of the announcement of the angel who said, “There is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).

Download flyer: https://d3uet6ae1sqvww.cloudfront.net/pdf/ten-reasons/god-became-a-man.pdf

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“Why Can We Trust the Bible?”

Special Guest Dr. Frank Turek energetically answers the question “Why can we trust in the Bible?”

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhT4kFyFEeg

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“Is The Bible Historically Reliable?”

Frank Turek addresses the historical reliability of the Bible.

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmA6kOWwfWI

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“How Do We Show Someone The Bible Is Trustworthy?”

Bobby asks Brett Kunkle to explain the trustworthiness of the Bible.

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYDxyiCBGI4

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“Fulfilled Prophesies of Jesus”

– Born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:21-23)
– A descendant of Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3; 22:18; Matthew 1:1; Galatians 3:16)
– Of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10; Luke 3:23, 33; Hebrews 7:14)
– Of the house of David (2 Samuel 7:12-16; Matthew 1:1)
– Born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2, Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4-7)
– Taken to Egypt (Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:14-15)
– Herod´s killing of the infants (Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:16-18)
– Heralded by the messenger of the Lord (John the Baptist) (Isaiah 40:3-5; Malachi 3:1; Matthew 3:1-3)
– Would perform miracles (Isaiah 35:5-6; Matthew 9:35)
– Would minister in Galilee (Isaiah 9:1; Matthew 4:12-16)
– Would cleanse the Temple (Malachi 3:1; Matthew 21:12-13)
– Would first present Himself as King 173,880 days from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem (Daniel 9:25; Matthew 21:4-11)
– Would enter Jerusalem as a king on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:4-9)
– Would be rejected by Jews (Psalm 118:22; 1 Peter 2:7)

– Die a humiliating death (Psalm 22; Isaiah 53) involving:
Rejection (Isaiah 53:3; John 1:10-11; 7:5,48)
Betrayal by a friend (Psalm 41:9; Luke 22:3-4; John 13:18)
Sold for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12; Matthew 26:14-15)
Silence before His accusers (Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 27:12-14)
Being mocked (Psalm 22:7-8; Matthew 27:31)
Beaten (Isaiah 52:14; Matthew 27:26)
Spit upon (Isaiah 50:6; Matthew 27:30)
Piercing His hands and feet (Psalm 22:16; Matthew 27:31)
Being crucified with thieves (Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 27:38)
Praying for His persecutors (Isaiah 53:12; Luke 23:34)
Piercing His side (Zechariah 12:10; John 19:34)
Given gall and vinegar to drink (Psalm 69:21, Matthew 27:34, Luke 23:36)
No broken bones (Psalm 34:20; John 19:32-36)
Buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57-60)
Casting lots for His garments (Psalm 22:18; John 19:23-24)

– Would rise from the dead! (Psalm 16:10; Mark 16:6; Acts 2:31)
– Ascend into Heaven (Psalm 68:18; Acts 1:9)
– Would sit down at the right hand of God (Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 1:3)

Original Article: https://www.allabouttruth.org/messianic-prophecy.htm

*****************************
“End of Days, Global Apostasy, and Ancient Heresies”

Before the celestial “shock and awe” judgments of the Tribulation are unleashed, God’s Word describes a time characterized by false teaching and teachers SO strong, that it would even sweep away even true believers (Mark 13:22) if they were not sealed by the Spirit of God.

In Matthew 24 Jesus describes the world before He returns in His Second Coming, as a world where the love of most has grown cold because of false teachers (Matthew 24:11-12); and where “the Faith” will be nearly extinct (Luke 18:8).

The end of the church age is shown in Revelation 3 to be like the church at Laodicea where truth is light, self-centeredness is heavy; materialism and personal agendas run deep, and true Biblical spirituality is shallow.

As we have already seen, Paul foretold that the days would be a time of great “falling away”; and Peter, Jude and John all described this final time pervasive false doctrine across the world. As we open to the tiny letter of Christ’s other earthly brother named Jude look at verse 3.

Today we see such a sweeping array of deceptive false teachers as just the foretaste of this birth pang, which Jesus warned about and described–forming before our very eyes.

Never before has wrong teaching and beliefs about God been more widely proclaimed than in our day. In a continuous, 24/7 river erroneous teaching about God flows around the world: on radio, TV, cable, webcasts, podcasts, simulcasts, books, magazines, and everywhere in between—our world is increasingly filled with lies about God. And to this growing cauldron of darkness and lies comes the triumphant truth that—

Jesus Christ is The Key

[ Dr. John Barnett ]

Sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjLYu2c0vnM

*****************************
“Moral Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air”

[ Greg Koukl ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OX3dpZtA_A8

*****************************
“How Does Relativism Contradict Itself?”

Rebecca McLaughlin gives three reasons why relativism should be rejected.

Relativism is the belief that there is no universal truth. That all truth is specific to its culture and its time. And at a basic level, this contradicts itself because it is a universal statement.

If I stand up in a room and say, “Nobody in this room can make any laws,” you shouldn’t listen to me.

But if we buy into relativism, what other problems do we have?

Well, first, we can make no universal moral statements like “Men and women are equally valuable.”

Second, we can make no absolute historical statements like “The Holocaust happened.”

And third, while relativism seems to be a humble approach on religious questions,
it actually turns up being quite arrogant.

Because if I say Christianity can be true for me, well, Islam is true for you,
I’m not taking the beliefs of either of those religions seriously.

Ultimately, we respect each other far more if we are willing to disagree.

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52goRAXCYH8

*****************************
“Is the New Testament Reliable?”

Can we trust the books of the New Testament? How does the New Testament fair historically when compared with other ancient works? Sean briefly answers these questions in a new, top quality, short film.

[ Sean McDowell ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bs4s2i_bWEw

*****************************
“Non-Christian Authors Confirming New Testament’s Reliability”

The External Evidence Test asks the question of a document under investigation: Are there external references, apart from the document being examined, that confirm the inner document, the details, the personalities, and the events? Are the New Testament facts affirmed by other sources? Yes. Listen to Josh explain the research!

[ Josh McDowell ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaW2OpQRoP0

*****************************
“Is the Bible Reliable”

We can trust the details of the New Testament to be accurate because non-Christian authors have confirmed biblical content such as people, personalities, and events as true.

[ Josh McDowell ]

Resources: https://www.josh.org/resurrection/is-the-bible-reliable/

*****************************
“How do you define truth?”

[ Frank Turek ]

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giJVl_ZvcI0

*****************************
“Is Truth Knowable?”

Is Truth Knowable? Frank Turek examines Absolute Truth vs. Relative Truth. Do we share universal, objective truths in the moral arena, OR is morality limited to subjective truths relative to our individual and cultural experience?

[ Frank Turek ]

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNuULwwSMzg

*****************************
“How Is objective Truth An Argument For God?”

Discussing the objective truth, the laws of logic and the existence of God.

[ Frank Turek ]

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7LnjiCQMKI

*****************************
“Can the truth of Christianity be established?”

Talking about the objectivity of truth and its relationship with Christianity.

[ Frank Turek ]

Q&A: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZjWVewv3iM

*****************************
“Fearless Faith: A Discussion on Truth”

As Christians, we should be prepared to defend our faith and present a case for the Gospel. Join me along with Pastor Jack Hibbs, Det. J. Warner Wallace and Dr. Mike Adams, as we explain how to be a Christian “case-maker” for the existence of God.
[ Frank Turek; Jack Hibbs; J. Warner Wallace; and Dr. Mike Adams ]

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Zu9MP16TdY

*****************************
“Abdu Murray on Saving Truth”

Abdu Murray in this talk discusses not only the salvific nature of truth but also its importance for basic human flourishing.

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQQCoAxn0fY

*****************************
“Saving Truth w/ Abdu Murray | Cross Examined Official Podcast”

Increasingly, Western culture embraces confusion as a virtue and decries certainty as a sin. Those who are confused about sexuality and identity are viewed as heroes. Those who are confused about morality are progressive pioneers. Those who are confused about spirituality are praised as tolerant. Conversely, those who express certainty about any of these issues are seen as bigoted, oppressive, arrogant, or intolerant.

This cultural phenomenon led the compilers of the Oxford English Dictionary to name “post-truth” their word of the year in 2016. How can Christians offer truth and clarity to a world that shuns both?

Frank interviews author and speaker Abdu Murray about his brand new book “Saving Truth” where he answers this question and more.

[ Frank Turek interviews Abdu Murray ]

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vntfqzdl4i8

*****************************
“Does Truth Exist?”

Frank Turek – Session 1

[ Frank Turek ]

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMzHMcUdjgU

*****************************
“Is Truth True For You But Not For Me?”

True for you and not for me? Frank Turek answers…

[ Bobby Conway interviews Frank Turek ]

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpthujJFozc

*****************************
“The Critical Difference Between ‘Objective’ and ‘Subjective” Truth’”

For more information, read God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe

[ J. Warner Wallace ]

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezMQx8rYC4c

*****************************
“4 Reasons Why Christianity is True”

The reason we believe that Christianity is true, its because the answer to four questions is yes.

[ Frank Turek ]

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ata3XrCiGtY

*****************************
Are All Religions True?”

What if I tell you that the “SIX BLIND MEN AND THE ELEPHANT” parable actually shows the opposite of “Religious Pluralism.”

[ Frank Turek ]

Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmG8A-SaO_w

*****************************
“Rock Harbor Church Prophecy Update 3-20-20”

Never Let a Crisis Go To Waste (Coronavirus)

I am Pastor Brandon Holthaus, and I want to welcome you to our Rock Harbor Church’s YouTube Channel. We desire to reach people with the truth; believers and unbelievers alike. We connect dots of events that are happening in the world from a Biblical perspective and also a prophetic perspective. We offer prophecy updates, discipleship lessons, and sermons to help people grow in the Lord and come to the knowledge of the truth.

[ Brandon Holthaus ]

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PahVsAOPb6I

*****************************
“Who is Jesus to You?”

I pray that Jesus, Yeshua from Nazareth, is the light in your life, that He would be the hope of your life and that you will see Him everywhere throughout the scriptures, in both the old and the New Testament.

Sermon Snippet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PX25tAYNvV4

*****************************
“Who Is Jesus to You?”

[ John Piper ]

Teaching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlIfWE1lw7U

*****************************
“‘Christ is All’ is extremely derogatory to human pride!”

“In his pride, the wicked does not seek God; in all his thoughts, there is no room for God!” Psalm 10:4

Sin has entirely perverted the nature of man.

The carnal mind is opposed to God in its . . .
judgments,
tastes,
desires,
pursuits.

God demands that guilty man . . .
sacrifice his own imaginary independence,
renounce his own fancied excellence, and
acknowledge his personal unworthiness,
before he can be received into the family of God.

Such demands seem extremely derogatory to human pride. For this reason, multitudes reject all the offers of the Gospel, and treat with contempt those who yield to the invitations which they themselves despise, and submit to the motives which they renounce, as deluded and degraded people.

“The day is coming when your pride will be brought low and the Lord alone will be exalted.” Isaiah 2:11

“The Lord Almighty has done it to destroy your pride and show His contempt for all human greatness.” Isaiah 23:9

“The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.” Proverbs 16:5

[ Stephen Tyng ]

*****************************
“Who is Jesus to You?”

[ I Am a Watchman ]

Video: https://vimeo.com/371739777

*****************************
“Who is Jesus To You?”

Throughout history, Jesus has been described as a troublemaker, role model, fraud, revolutionary, Messiah, and Son of God. YMI film crews from 6 countries around the world asked people a simple question: Who is Jesus to you?

Worldwide Interviews: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iU78yOO5nGs

*****************************
“Who Is Jesus?”

Who Is Jesus, Really?, number three in the TrueU video series, is a ten-lesson DVD for teens and college students that focuses on the evidence for Jesus himself.

Hosted and taught by Del Tackett, from Focus on the Family’s The Truth Project, this product can be used as a small group or individual study to give students the confidence to speak about their faith, and to defend the existence and identity of Christ. Also features other key experts like Lee Strobel, Michael Farris, Gary Habermas, Louis Lapides and Greg Koukl.

[ Focus on the Family ]

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bZFoD0cG88

*****************************
“The Way”

All creation cried out with longing
With groans only You could comprehend
And with wisdom, You always answer
And give the words of life so unfailing

And Your glory shines all around us
Your faithfulness shown for all to see
When we think of all of Your wonders
The beauty of Your plan that’s been revealed
We walk in Your light, we walk in it

Shine, bright
Let Your glory fill this land
Lift high, the King of Kings and great I am
Jesus, You are the way

We can see the works of Your loving hands
With a hope and peace not made by man
When You poured out Your grace and Your mercy
And You held out Your arms so we could see
You bled for all mankind and set the captives free

Shine, bright
Let Your glory fill this land
Lift high, the King of Kings and great I am
Jesus, You are the way

Na na na na na na, Jesus
Na na na na na na, Jesus
Na na na na na na, Jesus

[ Jeremy Camp – “We Cry Out: The Worship Project” album ]

*****************************
“One Way to Heaven”

[Verse 1]
Everybody’s searching for home
Staring at a hole in the sky
Poor man waiting on a break
Everybody’s searching for home
Staring at a hole in the sky
Poor man waiting on a break
Rich man looking for a ticket to buy
Something ties us together
All colors of the same race
Shadows of the same face
Looking up

[Chorus]
Ain’t no doorway
Or a stairway
Ain’t no your way
Ain’t no my way
Ain’t no shortcut
Or a highway to Heaven
Ain’t no jet plane
Ain’t no fast car
Only one thing, take you that far
Only one name
He’s the one way to Heaven
One way to Heaven
One way to Heaven

[Verse 2]
Straight and narrow is the road
That lays out before us
It’s easy to lose our direction
Let love be the compass
Temptations are many
And the pitfalls are countless
There’s only one way
He is the way

[Chorus]
Ain’t no doorway
Or a stairway
Ain’t no your way
Ain’t no my way
Ain’t no shortcut
Or a highway to Heaven
Ain’t no jet plane
Ain’t no fast car
Only one thing, take you that far
Only one name
He’s the one way to Heaven
One way to Heaven
One way to Heaven

[Bridge]
Only one way
Only one way
Only one way (To Heaven)
Only one way
Only one way
Only one way (To Heaven)

[Chorus]
Ain’t no doorway
Or a stairway
Ain’t no your way
Ain’t no my way
Ain’t no shortcut
Or a highway to Heaven
Ain’t no jet plane
Ain’t no fast car
Only one thing, take you that far
Only one name
He’s the one way to Heaven
One way to Heaven
One way to Heaven

[Outro]
Only one way
Only one way
Only one way
(Ain’t no doorway)
Only one way
Ain’t no your way
Only one way
One way to Heaven

[ Brandon Heath ]

*****************************
“Only Jesus”

Make it count, leave a mark, build a name for yourself
Dream your dreams, chase your heart, above all else
Make a name the world remembers
But all an empty world can sell is empty dreams
I got lost in the light when it was up to me
To make a name the world remembers
But Jesus is the only name to remember
And I, I don’t want to leave a legacy
I don’t care if they remember me
Only Jesus
And I, I’ve only got one life to live
I’ll let every second point to Him
Only Jesus
All the kingdoms built, all the trophies won
Will crumble into dust when it’s said and done
‘Cause all that really mattered
Did I live the truth to the ones I love?
Was my life the proof that there is only One
Whose name will last forever?
And I, I don’t want to leave a legacy
I don’t care if they remember me
Only Jesus
And I, I’ve only got one life to live
I’ll let every second point to Him
Only Jesus
Jesus is the only name
Jesus is the only name
Jesus is the only name to remember, oh
Jesus is the only name
Jesus is the only name
Jesus is the only name to remember
And I, I don’t want to leave a legacy
I don’t care if they remember me
Only Jesus
And I, I’ve only got one life to live
I’ll let every second point to Him
Only Jesus
I don’t want to leave a legacy
I don’t care if they remember me
Only Jesus

[ Casting Crowns ]

*****************************
“Only Way To God”

[ Kevin S. Wilson ]

*****************************
“Jesus Is The Way”

Jesus is the way, the truth and the light
Jesus is the way, the truth and the light
Jesus is the way, the truth and the light

I was on my way to a fiery hell
Had no life begging for a slice bread
Messing with my head, crying out for help
Surrounded by fear, and life’s dispares
But today no longer the same
Christ has made a difference in my life
Yes today he has changed my name and in him I’ll remain and bless his holy name

Jesus is the way, the truth and the light
Jesus is the way, the truth and the light
Jesus is the way, the truth and the light
Jesus is the way, the truth and the light

This songs for the broken
In christ we’re boasting
No frank ocean
We are spoken
I thought I was looking for him but he was looking for me
I searched high and low
I did not know where to go
So let the Hemisphere rejoice
And the Earth be glad
We want more, more than before
So let me hear you roar
Let me hear you roar
Let me hear you roar
Let me hear you roar
Let me roar

Jesus is the way, the truth and the light
Jesus is the way, the truth and the light
Jesus is the way, the truth and the light
Jesus is the way, the truth and the light

Oh he stays at the jaw of heart, looking that way
Just confess with you mouth and believe with your heart
That Jesus is the lord and he came back to me

[ Ntokozo Mbambo ]

*****************************
“Jesus Is the Way”

We must teach them while they’re young
(Jesus is the way)
To our daughters and our sons
(Jesus is the way)
In our words, in our song
(Jesus is the way)
Simple truth to make them strong
(Jesus is the way)

[Chorus:]
Jesus is the way
Him we glorify
Jesus is the way
The truth and the life
No one comes unto the Father
This or any day
Unless the birth comes through the Son
‘Cause Jesus is the way

Make it easy, make it plain
(Jesus is the way)
Simple yes to understand
(Jesus is the way)
Put the Word deep in their heart
(Jesus is the way)
When they grow they won’t depart
(Jesus is the way)

He’s the Alpha and Omega
Beginning and the end
The everlasting Father
He’s the Healer and Provider
Deliverer and Daystar
Savior and Messiah
He’s the Holy One of glory
The author of salvation
Creator, the Almighty
He’s the Teacher of the lesson
The answer to the question
He’s all you ever need

Now let me hear the children say
Jesus is the way
Praise the Lord now once today
Jesus is the way
He is the way, He is the way
Sing it softly, gently now
Jesus is the way
Sing it strong, sing it loud
Jesus is the way
He is the way, He is the way

Jesus is the way
Him we glorify
Jesus is the way
The truth and the life
No one comes unto the Father
This or any day
Unless the birth comes through the Son
‘Cause Jesus is the way

[ Carmen – “Addicted To Jesus” album ]

*****************************
“Jesus Christ Is The Way”

When I think about
The hour
Then I know
What I must do
When I think about
What God
Has done
For me
(Then I will)
I will open up
My heart
(To every)
To everyone I see
(And say)
Jesus Christ is the way.
No one knows the day
Nor the hour
May be morn
(May be morn)
Night or noon
(Night or noon)
But just rest assure
Time will be no more
He is coming
(I know He is coming)
Coming soon
(Coming soon)
(Then I will open)
I will open up
My heart
(To every)
To everyone I see
(See)
And say
Jesus Christ is the way
(Then I will open)
I will open up open up
My heart
(MY HEART)
(To every)
To everyone
(Everyone)
I see
(See)
(And say)
Jesus Christ is the way
(Jesus)
(Is the way)
And say
Jesus Christ is the way.

[ Walter Hawkins – “Platinum Praises” album ]

*****************************
“Jesus Made a Way”

That day the Son
When He prayed in the garden
Accepted the will of the Father
He chose the cross that day

That day
The sins of the world unaccounted
The One Who the prophets had spoken
Chose the cross that day

Chorus
His body was broken
He died in my place
Hope for the hopeless
He conquered the grave
We sing hallelujah
We sing hallelujah
Jesus made a way

[ CCV Music ]

*****************************
“Jesus is the Answer”

[Chorus]
Jesus is the answer for the world today
Above Him there’s no other, Jesus is the way
Jesus is the answer for the world today
Above Him there’s no other, Jesus is the way
Jesus is the answer for the world today
Above Him there’s no other, Jesus is the way
Jesus is the answer for the world today
Above Him there’s no other, Jesus is the way

[Verse 1]
If you have some questions
In the corners of your mind
And traces of discouragement
And peace you can not find
Reflections of the old past
They seem to face you every day
There’s one thing I know for sure
That Jesus is the way

[Chorus]
Jesus is the answer for the world today
Above Him there’s no other, Jesus is the way
Jesus is the answer for the world today
Above Him there’s no other, Jesus is the way

[Verse 2]
I know you got mountains
That you think you can not climb
I know that your skies have been dark
You think the sun won’t shine
In case you don’t know
I’m here to tell you
That the World of God is true, yeah
And everything that He’s promised
I tell you He would do it for you

[Chorus]
Jesus is the answer for the world today
Above Him there’s no other, Jesus is the way
Jesus is the answer for the world today
Above Him there’s no other, Jesus is the way
Jesus, He is the answer for the world today
Above Him there’s no other
Oh, Jesus, He is the answer for the world today
Jesus is the way
Jesus is the answer for the world today
Above Him there’s no other, Jesus is the way
Jesus is the answer for the world today
Above Him there’s no other, Jesus is the way

[Outro]
There’s no one like (Jesus is the way)
He’s the only way (Jesus is the way)
My sweet Jesus (Jesus is the way)
‘Ay, ‘ay-‘ay-‘ay (Jesus is the way)
[4:14?] (Jesus is the way)
He’s the only way (Jesus is the way)

[ Michael W Smith ]

*****************************
“Jesus the One and Only”

Who was born Son of God yet Son of Man
Who laid down His life and rose to live again
Who rides the clouds of glory
Whose kingdom never ends
There is no other name

Chorus:
Jesus the one and only
Faithful, true and holy
He’s the Son of righteousness
Worthy of the glory
Jesus Christ, the one and only

Let every voice in earth and heaven offer praise
And every heart become His holy hiding place
Let every knee bow down
And every tongue confess the name
Of Jehovah’s only Son, the risen One

Bridge:
All hail the power of Jesus name
(Jesus the one and only)
Let angels prostrate fall
(Faithful, true and holy – He’s the Son
Bring forth the royal diadem
(Of righteousness, worthy of the glory)
And crown Him Lord of all.

Crown Him Jesus!
The one and only
Crown Him faithful, true and holy!
He’s the Son of righteousness,
Worth of glory
Jesus Christ,
the one and only!

Crown Him Jesus Christ,
the one and only.

The one and only!

[ Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir ]

*****************************
“Only Way”

[Verse 1]
As the daylight breaks
You’re lighting up my way
My soul awakes
To give You all the praise

[Pre-Chorus]
Oh, I will trust in You
I will keep praising You through the night
I put my hope in You
You are the One who gives me life

[Chorus]
You are the way
Jesus, You’re the only way
It doesn’t matter what they say to me
I believe in You
And so I praise
Jesus, I will give You praise
It doesn’t matter what may come at me
I believe in You

[Verse 2]
You’re taking all my fears
And filling me with hope
I know You’re near
Wherever I may go

[Pre-Chorus]
Oh, I will trust in You
I will keep praising You through the night
I put my hope in You
You are the One who gives me life

[Chorus]
You are the way
Jesus, You’re the only way
It doesn’t matter what they say to me
I believe in You
And so I praise
Jesus, I will give You praise
It doesn’t matter what may come at me
I believe in You

[Bridge]
I’m holding on, I keep believing
No matter what, I keep on singing
Whoa, whoa
‘Cause every chain, You are breaking
So my heart, will keep on praising
Whoa, whoa

[Chorus]
You are the way
Jesus, You’re the only way
It doesn’t matter what they say to me
I believe in You
And so I praise
Jesus, I will give You praise
It doesn’t matter what may come at me
I believe in You

[ Planetshakers ]

*****************************
“The Way”

I was nowhere, You came to my rescue
From the grave I’ve been raised
When I needed a savior to save me
Jesus, You made a way
I was blind, but these eyes have been opened
Now I walk in the light
Ev’ry step on this road I will follow
Jesus, You made a way

You are the way
You are the way
Lost and dead, but Your love came to find me
Jesus You are the way
Jesus, the only way
Jesus, the only way

All my days are secure in Your promise Never standing alone
You’re the truth, You’re the life, You’re my future
Jesus, You made a way
I’m alive in that love that You give me
Free to dance once again
You will lead me from glory to glory Jesus, You made a way

You are the way
You are the way
You’re the light shining bright in the darkness
Jesus You are the way

[ Worship Central ]

*****************************
“One Way”
(Parody of “One Week” by Barenaked Ladies)

It’s been one way, take a look and see
Up to Heaven, the Bible says it plainly
False faith and philosophy
Can’t get ya to Heaven – come back to Jesus He’s the way and the living truth
You realize that all those false gods couldn’t help you Yes indeed, He’s forgiven me
A He can still get you saved if you say you’re sorry Holy cow they got you hoodwinked
With the pagan god thing
I think you’re lookin’ at also rans
But some of this superstition
Though it might be called religion
Finds find you sizzlin’ with the devil in the fryin’ pan
It’s not like the Bible says it one time
More like 300 times it says there’s only one avenue First C’rinthians chapter 8:6, the Bible says this
You try to tell me that it’s not true
I think you’re makin’ a mistake
I’d like to take and wake and shake ya
Like to tell you how to find yourself the way there Cause Jesus showed us and we know
Where every soul is gonna ago
Unless n’ they confess Him as their Lord and Savior
I cannot help it if I think there’s one way and you’re mad Tryin’ hard not to sin but you’re still bad
There’s a time to die and after the funeral
Then you’ll understand what I mean when it’s too real
I have a tendency to stand behind John 14
John 14:6 could be my favorite Bible verse.
It’s been one way, take a look and see
Deuteronomy says it pretty plainly
5:7 the passage reads:
“You shall have no other gods before me”
(You can) read Exodus halfway through
You read that line in chapter 20 ‘cause it’s there, too Yes, indeed, chapter 20, verse 3
Now, it’s written in two places for you, and you saw it (Catch your breath here)
Check into China – the Chinese Christians
They haven’t done zip but they’re chained up in prison Cause they read their Bibles with the lights on
Or cause they prayed once
Or cause they spoke on their religion
In America it’s more like getting dandruff
They see you stand up
They snicker when they see you passin’ by
They’d cure us all of all our bad flaws
They wanna make laws
But if they did they’d have us sterilized
They get upset at anyone who tries definin’ God above They’re so alarmed they always try to start attacking Their attitude is that you’re rude
And that no truth is absolute anyway, babe
So let them think the wrong thing
I cannot help it if I think there’s one way into Heaven
Kinda hard to ignore Matthew chapter 7
I can find the line in Acts chapter 4:12
Cannot be saved by the name of someone else
I have First Timothy to verify my beliefs
There’s quite a bit to read but 2:5’s the verse
It’s been one way, take a look and see
Drop your guard and your pride and say I’m sorry
Bible says what you have to do
It says you just confess that Christ is Lord – He’ll come in you Believe that He’s risen, too
You’ll realize you’re born again, I wouldn’t tease you
Yes, indeed, we can all be saved
But there will still be too many who won’t say they’re sorry And still Jesus waits till we say we’re sorry
And still Jesus waits so please say you’re sorry
At least God don’t speak in code like Hammurabi …

[ ApologetiX – “Biblical Graffiti” album ]

*****************************
“Narrow Way to Heaven”
(Parody of “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin)

There’s a way Jesus showed all us sinners must go
And He called it the narrow way to Heaven
If to get there’s your goal — with a pure heart and soul
In His Word you can get what you came for
Ooooooh and he described it right there in Matthew 7
There’ve been signs all along but you want to be sure
Cause the road sometimes swerves as you’re reading
In the free Bible book, there in John 3:16, come find how all our faults are forgiven
Two ways to ponder — two ways to ponder
There’s a freeway of death and it hooks to the left
And the steering and driving is easy
It is not quite as seems — see that smoke, feel the heat
Hear the voice of the Lord who stands knockin’
Ooooooh … it takes you under. Ooooooh … it really takes you under
And it’s His Word that’s true — if we all follow through
Then the Bible will lead us to Jesus
And the true way will dawn — on those who’ve read John
Chapter 14 verse 6 and thereafter Ooooooh …
If there’s a possible dead end road — don’t be a lost man
It’s best to think before you take it
Yes, there are two paths you can go by — but there’s a wrong one
But there’s still time to change the road you’re on
Ooooooh … can it take you up there?
You’re headed somewhere but it won’t go the place you wanna go
If Christ has called and you avoid Him
The way to Heaven’s very narrow, and did you know
It’s very wide on the way to Hell? LEAD
Where will you wind up down the road — a shadow land or street of gold?
There is a Way that we all know — He shines bright light on words that show
How every man will turn to dust — but if you let Him in your heart
The Truth will come to you at last — and our Lord warned us where to go
And He was God — He ought to know
And He called it the narrow way to Heaven

[ ApologetiX – “Jesus Christ Morningstar” album ]

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“Aaronic”
(Parody of “Ironic” by Alanis Morissette)

And old man learned kinda late
He was about to be the high priest of the faith
He had sacrifices that were hard to make
And they kept old Aaron too busy to think
This song is Aaronic – don’t you think?

But Christ came with a better way
To redeem us — and He already paid
With a sacrifice that we just couldn’t make
And who else but God was big enough?

Mr. A. himself was a faithful guy
He acted to erase the sins of Israelites
He made it his goal in life to make them right
But as he soon found out
The cost of sin was too high
And this song is Aaronic – don’t you think?
CHORUS

Well, Christ had the final way
Of making atonement for the sins everyone had made
Whenever He was crucified
And Christ is the only way
Of helping you out ‘cause you see everyone’s done wrong
And everyone screws up every day

The perfect lamb and He’s already slain
A more holy priest to rise in Melchizedek’s place
The lives of 10,000 bulls and all the sheep ain’t enough
It’s Jesus, the man without sin
We needed His beautiful blood

Yes, our sin was chronic – don’t you think?
A little too Bubonic – oh yeah, I really do think
CHORUS

Christ is the only way – He’s speaking now to you
Christ is the only, only way
Of helping you out, helping you out

Hebrews 10:11-12
Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again
and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But
when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down
at the right hand of God.

[ ApologetiX – “Apoplectic” album ]

*****************************
“Every Step to Take”
(Parody of “Every Breath You Take” by The Police)

Every debt you face
Can be removed through grace
Every law you break
Can be fixed through faith if you want them to Every sinful way
Can be cured today
Every stain will fade
They’ll be wiped away if you want them to
Oh, can’t you see?
You’d be wrong to flee
While the good Lord waits
Till every soul is saved
If you move too late
There’s a price you pay
There’s no time to waste
Get a clean, new slate ‘cause He wants you to Sinned so long I’d be lost without His grace ‘Cause Jesus Christ is the only way that saves You’re lookin’ ‘round for a truth you can embrace He’ll fill your soul with a strong enduring faith At least try Him, baby, baby please.
Oh, can’t you see
Second Peter 3?
How the good Lord waits
Till every soul is saved
If you use true faith
If you bow to pray
Use your mouth to say
Jesus’ name today ‘cause that’s what to do He’ll remove your shame
Just confess His name
‘Cause that’s what to do
Cause He wants you to

[ ApologetiX – “Biblical Graffiti” album ]

*****************************
“Heaven Isn’t Like That”
(Parody of “Shine” by Collective Soul)

Do some good works and lead a good life
Always go to church and try to be really nice … really nice
Say a couple prayers and finally when you die
Go to Saint Peter, tell him, “Let me come inside
“At least I tried”
Yeah?
No! Heaven isn’t like that, child! (now) (pal) (now)

Learn to play the harp, you’ll need it while you’re there
Pick yourself some wings; I’m sure you’ll get a lovely pair
A lovely pair
Reach for a halo, keep it in your hair
Lead a wimpy life eternally with nothing there
But fluffy air

CHORUS
Get in God’s word; see what you find
Only place to look to tell you how to get inside
Let me tell you now; you gotta go through Christ
Open up your heart and tell Him He can come inside
Come inside
Yeah!

Yo! Let Him in your life right now (Repeat 3X)
You know what Heaven’s like?
It hasn’t entered your mind
Heaven is the best place that’s ever been
You wanna get in? Let Him
Let Him in your life; that’s the only way
C’mon … Nowwwwwww … come on in, in
C’mon Nowwwwwww C’mon inside!

[ ApologetiX – “Ticked” album ]

*****************************
“You Gotta Go”
(Parody of “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette)

I want you to know that I have prayed for you
I wish nothing but the best for your soul
I know you’re worried prob’ly — you’ll get converted like me
When it comes down to it there’s a fear there
Cause you say, “Hell — it can’t be”
You should play poker, baby
You sure do make a really excellent bluffer

Those who call on His name will be saved by His grace
Cause He paid quite enough for you when, you know, He died
And every time you speak His name it’s in vain, what a shame
Cause His arms are still open wide — open wide — while you’re still alive

But I’m here — to remind you of the mess you’re in if you turn away
It’s not fair — to deny Him
And the cross and just think you’ll get away
You, you, you — gotta go

You say there’s no Hell — you’re not evil
I’m not nice to tell you that you could go
If you forget about me — you can do as you please
I ain’t above you — I’m a miserable sinner
But there’s a path we must take
Now if we wanna be saved
And if you think it’s a joke — then you’ll suffer

Those who call on His name will be saved by His grace
Cause He paid quite enough for you when, you know, He died
And every time you speak His name it’s in vain, what a shame
Cause His arms are still open wide — open wide — while you’re still alive

But I’m here — to remind you of the mess you’re in if you turn away
It’s not fair — to deny Him
And the cross and just think you’ll get away
You, you, you — gotta go

There’s no one who can say that He sent them away
Cause an offer was made to you and you closed your eyes — and you knew it
And everyone says that’s not fair, that’s someone else’s fault
That’s not appealing — I hurt your feelings

But I’m here — to remind you of the mess you’re in if you turn away
It’s not fair — to deny Him
And the cross and just think you’ll get away
You, you, you — gotta go

I-I’m here — to remind you of the mess you’re in if you turn away
It’s not fair — to deny Him
And the cross and just think you’ll get away
You, you, you — gotta go

[ ApologetiX – “I Know You Are But What Am I?” album ]

*****************************
“One Thing Leads to the Father”
(Parody of “One Thing Leads to Another” by The Fixx)

The deception’s worldwide
To what are you trying to pray
You’ve got a bland faith – your guru says
Communicate with any god you please
You see I mentioned this to
Make a case for black and white
But then one little cross leaves you shocked – it’s unique You won’t discover though you seek
I know the … Truth, Life, and Way
Read John 14:6, baby, one thing leads to the Father
You tell me that I’m wrong
I’ve been a Christian too long, my friend
One way leads to the Father

[ ApologetiX – “80’s Medley: Octagon but Not Forgotten” medley (at 5:17) ]

*****************************

*****************************
*****************************

DEEP THOUGHTS:

“The problem with Christianity is not that it has been tried and found wanting, but that it has been found difficult and left untried.”
[ G.K. Chesterton ]

“Nothing gives rest but the sincere search for truth.”
[ Blaise Pascal ]

“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.
[ C. S. Lewis ]

“The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”
[ Winston Churchill ]

“The object of the superior man is truth.”
[ Confucius ]

“Plato is dear to me, but dearer still is truth.”
[ Aristotle ]

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.” [ Martin Luther King, Jr. ]

“Whatever satisfies the soul is truth.”
[ Walt Whitman ]

“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.”
[ Blaise Pascal ]

“Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold.”
[ Leo Tolstoy ]

“We are either in the process of resisting God’s truth or in the process of being shaped and molded by his truth.”
[ Charles Stanley ]

“A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.”
[ John Calvin ]

“Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it.”
[ Blaise Pascal ]

“Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance, the only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”
[ C.S. Lewis ]

“Wisdom is found only in truth.”
[ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ]

“We know the truth, not only by the reason, but also by the heart.”
[ Blaise Pascal ]

“The first step toward finding God, Who is Truth, is to discover the truth about myself: and if I have been in error, this first step to truth is the discovery of my error.”
[ Thomas Merton ]

“We love the truth when it enlightens us, but we hate it when it convicts us.”
[ St. Augustine ]

“People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive.”
[ Blaise Pascal ]

 

RELATED SCRIPTURE VERSES:

John 14:6
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Acts 4:12
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

John 3:16
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

1 Timothy 2:5
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

John 10:9
I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.

Romans 10:9
Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

John 3:36
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

John 1:14
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 3:18
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 8:24
I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”

John 5:23
That all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Isaiah 44:6
Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.

John 17:3
And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

John 3:3
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

1 John 5:11-12
And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

John 10:30-33
I and the Father are one.” The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”

John 20:28
Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

Matthew 25:41
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Ephesians 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

John 8:58
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”

Hebrews 4:15
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

1 John 5:20
And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

John 6:35
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

John 3:16-18
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

John 10:30
I and the Father are one.”

1 John 2:23
No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.

Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Hebrews 7:25
Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

Romans 10:9-11
Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,

John 14:9
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

Colossians 2:9
For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,

1 Corinthians 8:6
Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

John 5:18
This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

Romans 5:1-21
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. …

John 1:3
All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Isaiah 53:4
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.

1 Timothy 2:3-6
This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

John 6:50-51
This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

Revelation 1:17-18
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.

Revelation 1:5-6
And from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 3:15
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

Ephesians 2:1-22
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— …

Romans 3:10
As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;

Acts 16:30-31
Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

John 11:25-26
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

John 8:51
Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.”

2 John 1:9
Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.

1 John 1:7
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

2 Corinthians 5:21
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Acts 16:31
And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Matthew 7:13-14
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

1 Timothy 2:5-6
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

Romans 8:2
For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

Romans 5:21
So that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 3:20
For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

Matthew 11:27
All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

Revelation 14:12
Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.

Revelation 1:18
And the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

1 Peter 2:4
As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious,

Hebrews 2:14
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,

Ephesians 4:4
There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—

John 3:13
No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.

Isaiah 7:14
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

1 John 5:10-12
Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

1 John 2:1-2
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

2 Peter 1:1
Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

Hebrews 5:8-
Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,

1 John 2:2
He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

Romans 10:13
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Matthew 28:18
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Hebrews 9:14-15
How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.

1 Timothy 2:1
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,

John 1:18
No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

Hebrews 9:24-28
For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

2 Thessalonians 1:7-10
And to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.

Acts 13:38-39
Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.

Matthew 10:32-33
So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

Revelation 5:8-9
And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,

Hebrews 9:11-12
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.

Philippians 2:5
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

John 1:29
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Matthew 7:23
And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

1 Peter 2:24
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

Hebrews 12:2
Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Ephesians 2:18
For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

Romans 4:25
Who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

John 3:16-17
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Luke 10:25-37
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” …

Revelation 1:8
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

1 Timothy 6:14-16
To keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

1 Timothy 3:16
Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.

Matthew 7:15
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

John 8:12
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Hebrews 10:20
By the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh,

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“A quick summary of the Christian “Gospel”:
JESUS’ PROPITIATION made our SINS FORGIVEN and IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS to us so that we have GOD’S ACCEPTANCE into His Heaven and ETERNAL LIFE.”
[ Mark Besh ]

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ’pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

FOCUS VERSES:

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
[ John 14:6 ]

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
[ Acts 4:12 ]

“Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
[ Romans 10:9 ]

“In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
[ 2 Corinthians 4:4 ]

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
[ John 3:36 ]

“To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
[ Acts 10:43 ]

“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”
[ 1 Timothy 2:5 ]

“The righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction”
[ Romans 3:22 ]

“And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
[ John 17:3 ]

“I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” [ Matthew 22:32 ]

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this” [ John 11:25-26 ]

“Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” 62 And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
[ Mark 14:61c-62 ]

Mark

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If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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