Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Rig Veda, the most ancient Hindu scripture, says this: “Truth is One, but the sages speak of it by many names.” A Hindu believes there are many paths to God. Jesus is one way, the Qur’an is another, yoga practice is a third. None is better than any other; all are equal. The most traditional, conservative Christians have not been taught to think like this. They learn in Sunday school that their religion is true, and others are false... But they are no longer buying it. According to a 2008 Pew Forum survey, 65 percent of us believe that “many religions can lead to eternal life” — including 37 percent of white evangelicals, the group most likely to believe that salvation is theirs alone.

This is from Newsweek magazine but sadly it is more and more true. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” That is one of the most basic statements of the Christian faith -- there is one exclusive path to God and that leads through Jesus Christ but that path is inclusive to all because He died for all. In an age of tolerance, diversity, and subjective truth, this most basic assertion of Christian faith has become a pariah and excess baggage that many so-called Christians are ready to jettison.

If we lose the centrality of Christ, if we give up Christ as the exclusive path to God, to forgiveness, to life, and to salvation, what are we left with? It all depends...

For some, we are left with a morality religion which holds up higher virtues such as selfless service, situation ethics, and noble life by example. In other words, a religion of my own personal goodness or at least my striving to be a better person.

For others we are left with a do-good religion which advocates for the poor and needy and embraces social justice in all its forms as the replacement for evangelism.

For still others we are left with a feel-good religion that justifies, excuses, and places in an understandable context all our foibles (can't call them sins anymore). In this realm the Christian faith becomes pop psychology, self-help group, and inspirational motivator all rolled into one.

For the rest Christianity becomes a diversion from real problems and worship the entertainment that puts pleasure ahead of all other religious principles. If a good time was had by all then it cannot be all bad.

The problem is that we need forgiveness big enough to cover our big sins. The problem is that we need someone strong enough to strong arm our load of guilt off our shoulders and release us from its chains. The problem is that we need a hope which does more than inspire but refocuses our vision to the redemption that One has accomplished for all. The problem is that we need a Word which is anchored in eternity and does not move around on a sea of change. The problem is that at the end of it all we still die; we can call it a natural part of life but we know better and we need the One who is stronger than death, whose life is eternal. The problem is that we need more than a band-aid, more that a distraction, more than entertainment. We need redemption. We need salvation. We need a Savior who has power over our enemies and power to grant us life without limits.

Lord, where else can we go? You have the words of eternal life. Either He is the only Way, the Truth, and the Life... or there is no way, no truth, and no life for any. See my sermon below...

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