Sunday, September 25, 2005

Religious Intolerance — A Never-Ending Series

From the Miami Herald:

VIEW FROM THE PULPIT

Staircase to heaven is one-way

By PASTOR BOB COY

Calvary Chapel of Fort Lauderdale

“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

A recent survey revealed some startling statistics on the subject of salvation:

• 53 percent of those polled believe that you will go to heaven if you’re a good person.

• 45 percent believe that you will go to heaven regardless of your religious beliefs.

• 93 percent believe in heaven while only 39 percent believe in hell.

• 30 percent have no idea what “the gospel” is.

My heart broke as I read these numbers because God has entrusted us, His Church, with the responsibility of informing and educating the world about His message of salvation. It’s not a popular message, it’s not a politically correct message, but it’s a message that must be shared in this day and age: If you don’t have Jesus, you aren’t going to heaven. The Bible tells us in many places that there is one and only one way to heaven — through faith in Christ. There are no other avenues or options open to humanity. A person is either 100 percent saved by Jesus or not saved at all.

Jesus said to him, `I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’ (John 14:6 New King James Version)

I know this is bound to rub a lot of people the wrong way because so many think they can have heaven without having Jesus. They want the good promises of glory, but they don’t want to be bothered by the cross, much less the One who died there. They don’t want to accept Jesus as the only way and are determined to find another path to paradise. But Christ warns us that no such path exists and the consequences for not trusting in Him are eternal:

“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36 NKJV)

Some will argue that it’s extremely narrow-minded of God to provide only one way to heaven. But I believe that in light of mankind’s rebellious rejection of God, it’s extremely broad-minded for Him to provide us with any way to heaven. We deserved judgment and instead He gave us a way of escape by sending His only begotten Son to die for our sins. Whether someone sees this as narrow or broad, it’s true, and we need to maintain the message that the way to heaven is Jesus.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 NKJV)
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Bob Coy is senior pastor at Calvary Chapel of Fort Lauderdale, 2401 W. Cypress Creek Rd.; www.calvaryftl.org

Actually, “Pastor Bob,” the name of the song is Stairway to Heaven, and there are several versions of it: the 45 for radio play, the LP version, and now it’s out on CD. Led Zeppelin rules.

It’s pompous, arrogant, ignorant, and narrow-minded people like this who have taken something as personal and intensely private as spirituality and perverted into a control mechanism for the foolish and the weak. It’s been going on for thousands of years, but if there was ever an argument against the idea that evolution somehow makes a species smarter and wiser, this tormented soul is Exhibit A.