Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"What does GOD think about being 'inclusive'?"

If you believe that people from religions other than Christianity are going to spend eternity with God in heaven, then you don't know Jesus Christ yourself and you are being deceived.  If you believe people can be "saved" from God's wrath, have their sins forgiven and get to heaven by practicing ANY religion, including what many call Christianity, WITHOUT knowing Jesus, believing in Jesus and confessing Jesus, then you don't know Him either.  If you believe that people are entitled to believe whatever they want to believe and as long as they are sincere and live "good" lives that God must allow them safe passage into heaven or else He is being unfair, then you do not understand the truth about God, man, sin and grace, you have not yet grasped the truth of the Gospel and you are in danger of eternal judgment unless you repent and follow Christ.

Those statements undoubtedly sound narrow-minded and judgmental to some, yet Jesus said the following,

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only He who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you.  Away from me, you evildoers!'" (Matthew 7:21-23).

And what IS the will of the Father?  "The work of God is this:  to believe in the One He has sent" (John 6:29).  "Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart.  Anyone who does not believe God has made Him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about His Son.  And this is the testimony.  God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life" (I John 5:10-12).

Jesus said, "My sheep listen to My voice; I know them and they follow Me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.  My Father who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand" (John 10:25-29).  And John writes at the end of his gospel, "These things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His Name" (John 20:31).

Today some think it sounds loving and noble to be "inclusive," to allow for some vague belief in "God" to be sufficient for spiritual life in the present and in the future.  Living near Grand Rapids, Michigan, for the past seventeen years I can bear witness to the rapid change in the thinking of many regarding the exclusive nature of true biblical Christianity.  Few seem to believe that the Church - those who believe the Bible to be the very Word of God and who are willing to stand on what it teaches ... FEW seem to believe that the Church is an "exclusive" body, that following Christ, being a Christian, Christianity itself, is exclusive of any other religion and any other teaching not found in the Bible.  And even fewer, it seems, believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ must be proclaimed and defended against the attacks of those outside the church as well as those inside the church today.

Before a generation passed following the resurrection of Jesus and His ascension into heaven, Jude, the brother of James, wrote to "those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ" (Jude 1), "Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.  For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. ..."  (Jude 3-4).  False teachers had already infiltrated the church.  Peter warns of the same thing (II Peter 2), as does Paul (Acts 20:28-31).

What makes a false teacher?  Anyone who teaches contrary to the Word of God.  And the Word of God says, "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).  Yet more and more people who claim to be teachers and some who are well-known "Christian" preachers are not willing to say that those who do not know Jesus Christ will face God's judgment.  When asked that question, men like Joel Osteen and others will smile and say, "Well, I can't judge.  God is the only Judge.  I'll let Him figure that out."  That sounds so humble, but it's false teaching - it's heresy!  When asked if Jews who do not know Jesus, or Muslims or followers of other religions will go to hell if they don't believe in Jesus (a pretty clear question!!), the answer is the same:  "We aren't supposed to judge.  That's up to God!"

But wait, aren't we supposed to testify to Jesus Christ?!  Isn't that what followers of Jesus have been persecuted for throughout the generations?  Isn't that our calling, to offer God's love to all through faith in Jesus Christ?  Living near Grand Rapids, a part of the West Michigan area that used to be known for its biblical roots, there is still a small "Religion" section in the newspaper, "The Grand Rapids Press."  The main columnist for the "Religion" section is Charles Honey.  Based on his articles, Charles Honey believes in being inclusive when it comes to spiritual things.

Last week he wrote an article on a camp called "Circle Pines Center."  If you want to look it up it is Section B on August 8th.  You might be able to find it on mlive.com.  Mr. Honey describes the camp as "a place for kids from 7 to 17 to go and talk about issues of social justice, inequality, hunger, different religious beliefs and maybe even Marxism."  The Director of the camp says, "It's a place to get their spiritual rejuvenation, to come back to the woods and fields and get back in touch with what's important."  Mr. Honey goes on to write, "Of major importance at Circle Pines is the principle of inclusion.  Everyone is welcome, regardless of ethnic group, religion or sexual orientation.  It's always been kind of a sanctuary for people, a place of safety."  Campers includes people of many faiths and "hardcore atheists."  "There's no overt religious teaching.  We're just giving them morals for life."

Mr. Honey closes the article by quoting a young 17-year-old camper:  "I like the Zen of the camp.  We help out making it beautiful.  It's like a sort of dance."  Mr. Honey writes, "A dance of cooperation, with lots of singing... I like that, too."

Do you hear the lies?  Do you understand the danger involved in this camp, in articles like this, in attitudes of inclusion of every idea, every religion, everything under the sun under one large umbrella??  Or have you "drunk the Kool-aid?" ... as the saying goes?  Have you, too, been deceived.  The idea that "there's no overt religious teaching" is a lie from the pit of hell.  Telling people that it doesn't matter what you believe is itself overtly, clearly religious teaching at the highest level.  When people complain about religion they don't realize that you cannot escape religion.  Human beings were created by God in His image and we are therefore spiritual beings.  While some foolishly deny even that, most would agree that "spirits" are real, at least in some form.  And as spiritual beings, as soon as we talk about anything to do with life we are talking about spiritual things ... we are talking about "religion."  Atheism is a religion.  It claims there is NO God, therefore making MAN to be "god."  Some believe that nature is "god," while others substitute something else for God, something like SELF!

The idea that "all roads lead to the same place" is another lie of the master deceiver who wants people to believe in everything and anything BUT the real, one and only, true God, the Creator of all things.  Later in this same small section of The Grand Rapids Press there is a discussion of "the source of sacred texts," where several religious "experts" comment on the Bible and the Quran and other "religious writings."  Once again, putting the Bible in a group with any other book is like putting Jesus in a group with Mohammed, Buddha, the Dalai Lama or a long list of others.  Every religion EXCEPT Christianity, true, biblical Christianity, is false by its very nature, even if it says nice things about God and/or Jesus.  It is impossible to be a Christian and to include other religions as speaking truth about salvation and eternal life.  People who SAY they are being "inclusive" are willing to include everything BUT true Christianity, the belief that Jesus is the ONLY way.  How absurd is it to believe that you can include people who believe in the God who created the universe and those who don't believe there is a God at the same table.  These are two mutually EXclusive positions, beliefs, religions!

Another article, written by a Jewish rabbi, talks about a book written by a Muslim who is trying to identify the "historical Jesus."  The conclusion:  "The historical Jesus and the Jesus of the Gospels and Epistles (the New Testament) are different people."  Really?  Where else do you learn about Jesus but in the Bible?  From the Quran?  From the ideas of men?  Is that a more reliable source than the very Word of God?  Ah, but there is the problem ... in order to find the "REAL Jesus" you must first deny that the Bible IS the Word of God, in which case you have just taken a wrong turn that will lead you into Satan's trap of deception and ultimately to hell ... along with Satan and his fallen angels and those who worship another "god."

Either the Bible is true or it is not.  If it is not, then anything goes.  If it is, then everything else is excluded, for there is only one true God and He is the Creator, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  If any OTHER "god" is real, then THIS God is not.  You cannot include all of them together.  They are mutually EXclusive.  You cannot be a Christian, believing Jesus is who the Bible says He is, who HE says He is, and believe other religions are anything but horribly and terribly wrong and that those who follow them have been deceived.  You cannot be a Christian and not long for everyone to be one!  You cannot be a Christian and be "inclusive" of other beliefs that are contrary to what God teaches in His Word.

All of this talk about "love" is Satan's code word for "hate."  "I HATE you so much that I'm going to let you go to hell without ever hearing about Jesus and God's offer of love and forgiveness through faith in Him."  "I HATE you so much that I'm not going to say anything about your sin or your lifestyle and how disastrous it is for you, for your children and for others you may influence by the things you do or say."  "I HATE you so much that I'm going to lie to you and tell you that no one has the right to judge you (even God) and that God loves you no matter what, because God loves everybody."

Many will agree with Mr. Honey that a camp like Circle Pines Center is worthy of promoting.  What does GOD think?  God says, "I am the LORD; that is my name!  I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols" (Isaiah 42:8).  The Bible or the books of other "religions"?  You have to decide - you can't believe both.  Jesus, the eternal Son of God, born in the flesh, who died to pay the penalty for sin for all who believe, and who rose from the dead and ascended into heaven - or a good man, one of many "prophets" who taught some good things worth quoting?  You must choose, you can't have both.  Being "inclusive" sounds noble, but it's not.  Anyone can come ... but there's only ONE way!  

In the words of this one and only historical Jesus, "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except through ME!"  (John 14:6).  

1 comment:

  1. I saw the article on that camp too and found it very sad. Actually the whole "Religion" section is sad. I think every time I look at it, there's something else that's not Biblical in it.