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Tuesday, June 24, 2008 

Thoughts On The Many Paths Up The Mountain Story

I’m sure by now that most everybody that reads this blog has heard about the survey of 35,000 adults that came to conclusion that most Americans believe that there are many different paths to heaven. 70 percent of Americans, including 57 percent of evangelical church attendees said they believe other religions can lead to eternal life.

57 percent of evangelicals think that there is a way to heaven other than Jesus? Wow. I’ll have to be honest and say that number surprised even me! What had me rolling my eyes last night while watching the news was the little old lady leading her small group Bible study who said “well, I just don’t think that my Jesus is the only way.”

So when Christ says in John 14:6I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” is our Lord speaking in hyperbole? According to the survey, it seems that the majority of Christians in this country say “yes, he is.”

Christ’s words aside, (oh, that ought to be a heresy all by itself) why would anyone bother to lead a small group Bible study, assuming that they are actually studying a Bible not some purpose driven drivel, if there are many paths to heaven? Wouldn’t a better use of time be to watch Oprah and her message of a Christless non-sanctified changed life that focuses on the good works that we do for our neighbor?

Americanized Christianity is reaping what was sown many years ago when proper catechesis was thrown out the window so that we all could decide for ourselves what we thought Scripture meant instead of what the Church catholic has always taught. Good catechesis has always been lacking in our country and the situation has only gotten worse as the postmodern culture was ushered in full force by the baby boomers.

The good news, although not reported in the linked story, is that even the pioneers of the church growth movement and the mega church model are admitting that they lose members after only a few years due to vapid preaching that would make Oprah proud. What these same people still fail to realize is that they teach only the changed life of sanctification and leave out the fact that we first become justified, that is to say, we are declared righteous by grace through Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross. One of the largest mega churches; Willow Creek, had been conducting “exit interviews” for years and recently admitted that nearly all the people that left the congregation left because the felt spiritually starved. In other words, they wanted to be fed real spiritual meat and not the same hogwash that they could see on Dr. Phil. They wanted more Jesus! Imagine that!

So many churches, and I’ll lump Lutherans into this category as well as we are certainly not immune, are so afraid to address the fact that we are sinful and we don’t just need help. We need an atoning sacrifice that must be made for our transgressions of God’s holy law that we fail to keep every second of every day. We need a substitutionary atonement. What we need to make ourselves right with God is Christ. If Christ crucified is not preached and taught what then is the outcome? I’d say 70 percent of American already know the answer to the question.

Once you take away the unpleasantness that is Christ’s cross, is it any wonder why so many people think there can be so many paths up the mountain? Not really, not when you stop and think about it.

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Well said, Uncle Frank!!

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  • I'm Frank Gillespie
  • From The Haut South
  • Confessional Lutheran
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