These discussions are hard, not because they’re rational but because they’re emotional. It’s hard not to let hurt, disgust, anger, fear, and a number of other possible emotions get involved in the discussion. It injures me deep in my soul when people attack what I have found and believe to be true. They feel the same when I say Jesus is the only way.
Well, let’s go back in time 35 or 40 years. I grew up in central Indiana, in a conservative environment. A mostly working class community with about 60,000 people, several GM plants, a steel mill, a Dodge transmission factory and the like. Two large high schools with 1500-2000 students each and a hand full of county high schools of a few hundred each.
I was born into a family of believers. My parents were part of a church whose fellowship primarily was with Restoration Churches (http://www.therestorationmovement.com/ and http://www.gotquestions.org/Restoration-movement.html, should help explain the movement). We were taught the Bible, not a form of theology and doctrine, just what the Bible presents as a whole, you know, Biblio-theology.
I attended Ozark Bible College (now Ozark Christian College, http://www.occ.edu/) a conservative Bible-believing and teaching college and have read and studied over the years what I first believed beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Jesus is the only way to God, salvation, and heaven. I learned it from those I respected and they shared it with me from the Bible and through reason. People like Paul Jordan, PT Butler, Knofel Staten, Harvey Bacus, Don Dewelt, Seth Wilson, Wilbur Fields and more and they referred to many apologists such as CS Lewis in Mere Christianity, Josh McDowell with Evidence that Demands a Verdict, and others documenting facts and truth about Jesus.
So . . . for me, it’s pretty simple, Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, my Lord and God (I thank Peter, Mark 8:29 and Thomas, John 20:28 for faithfully confessing these truths for me to learn, believe and confess). Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me” John 14:6 & 9 (cf., Acts 4:12 & 1 Timothy 2:5). In doing so, I also believe that there is only one way to God and salvation and that is through Jesus.
The problem now lies not in whether I believe it or not, I do, the problem lies in that many don’t or they don’t like that God chose to be so exclusive about access to him. And when we begin discussing these things, though reason may be present, often emotions are stronger than reason and people go all bongo about what they feel.
Let us look at the identity of Jesus Christ, of who God is and what they have said taking into consideration the claims of many other religions because as one theologian I recently heard on the video The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel (bought it at Wal-Mart for $7.50 last week), all religions could be wrong, but not all of them can be right.
I had (maybe I still do) a lesson book for teens called Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door, let me borrow from and alter the title for use here. We will use our brains because Christianity is a thinking religion that is filled with faith, hope, and feeling, but as we find the way to salvation, let’s Check Our Emotions at the Door.
What is right and what is true? Let’s find that out and then put our heart and soul into it.
PS: Check Lee Strobel’s books The Case for Faith and the The Case for Christ for detailed information about this.