“We are not to judge other religions; we just know that Jesus Christ died for us. Besides, what about all those people who have never heard of Jesus?”
Response: Thank you for the stimulating conversation on our recent road trip. I wanted to pursue the issue we discussed about Christians judging other religions.
The Bible is clear that there were other religions in place at the time of the Old and New Testaments, and they were judged and condemned by prophets in the Old Testament and Christ and His apostles in the New Testament.
- Moses directly confronted the spiritual leaders of Egypt, who espoused another religion. He could have said: “Perhaps you worship God in other ways, so who am I to judge?” No, he rejected their religion and their gods, and each of the plagues brought upon the Egyptians demonstrated that their gods were impotent against the God of Israel.
- There are many other examples of Old Testament prophets rejecting pagan gods and their practices such as sacrificing their children by passing them through the fire. (In similar fashion, since 1973, our nation has sacrificed over 50 million unborn babies to the gods of convenience, lifestyle, and reputation.)
- The famous scene where Elijah challenged the priests of Baal to a contest to see whose god would prevail in burning the sacrifice of a bull is another example.
- The New Testament is also full of examples of Christ and His disciples rejecting other religions. Christ clearly taught that the (Talmudic) Judaism taught by the Pharisees and Sadducees was insufficient to go to heaven. He told Nicodemus, a Pharisee, that he must be born again to go to heaven.
- When Paul spoke to the Greek philosophers in Athens, he noted that they had statues to many gods, then expounded on their “unknown god”, making the case that their unknown god was really the God of the Bible.
There is no reason to believe that this rejection of other religions does not apply to today as well. Jesus stated: “I am the way, the truth, and the light; no one goes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6 This claim to exclusivity is either true or false; there is no middle ground. He was either who He said He was – the Son of the sovereign, living God and is the only way to heaven, or he was a false teacher and charlatan. His statement speaks directly to other religions today as well as then.
The Great Commission, the command of Christ to go therefore and make disciples of all nations is nonsensical if other religions are of equal value to Christianity. Furthermore, there is compelling evidence that we are approaching the end times – a time of a one-world economy, one-world government, and one-world religion. The notion that all religions are pathways to God provides a perfect rationale for the one-world religion, which is fundamentally anti-Christ.
“Besides, what about all those people who have never heard of Jesus?”
Response: Regarding the eternal destination of those who have never heard the Gospel of Christ, I see two possible explanations:
- General revelation, the notion that God reveals Himself and His nature through the created world, is taught in both the Old Testament and the New Testament:
“The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge.” Psalm 19:1-2
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1:20
This passage teaches that God’s eternal power and divine nature are “clearly seen” and “understood” from what has been made, and that there is no excuse for denying these facts. With these Scriptures in mind, perhaps a working definition of general revelation would be “the revelation of God to all people, at all times, and in all places that proves that God exists and that He is intelligent, powerful, and transcendent.” (quote from Wikipedia)
- The second response is that God is merciful, and ultimately we throw ourselves upon His mercy in this life and the next. This is certainly true for babies (born and unborn), and may apply in other cases as well.
Finally, looking at these issues from an overall perspective, what difference does it make? One’s eternal destiny is a very serious thing, because eternity is a long, long time and the consequences are beyond description. I have learned that the Lord also takes it very seriously. His Word not only articulates a coherent world view and theology that is exclusive, it provides a strong admonition against those who teach other views:
“I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:6-9
Life is short. God is great, and He invites us to walk with Him every day.