01 September 2009

All religions really do lead to God

by Dan Phillips

Do all religions lead to God?

Up to a few weeks ago, I would have emphatically answered "No." But now I've changed my mind.

The light flicked on as I listened to a really fine sermon preached by theologian Robert Reymond, titled "God's Immeasurable Love." Reymond made the shocking statement that all religions really do lead to God.

In this sermon, Reymond revisited the verse that featured very conspicuously in how the Lord saved me: John 14:6.

Reymond stressed Jesus' exact words: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Other religions will bring you to God. Shintoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam — they'll all eventually bring you to God. Mormonism, Christian Science, paganism, animism, and Roman Catholicism will bring you to God. Every practitioner of every religion created by man and/or demon will, by that religion, be brought to God.

But none of those religions will bring us to God as "Father"!

They will bring us to God as Judge. They would bring you and me, clothed in the unspeakably filthy rags of our human works (Isaiah 64:6), without excuse, hopeless, guilty and doomed (Ecclesiastes 12:14; Matthew 12:36; Acts 17:31; Romans 1:20, 32; 2:16; Revelation 20:11-15), falling continually and infinitely short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

The only way to God as Father is through the Lord Jesus Christ. Born again by the sovereign grace of God (John 1:12-13), adopted as sons of God through Christ (Ephesians 1:7), blessed with the spirit of adoption whereby we can cry out "Abba! Father" (Romans 8:15), which is the Spirit of God's own Son sent into our hearts (Galatians 4:6).

All religions lead to God — for damning judgment.

Only through Jesus Christ can we approach God as Father.

Dan Phillips's signature

62 comments:

SandMan said...

I was preparing to tear my outer garments as I read the first paragraph. ;-) That all religions will lead us to God as Judge is a sharp warning to the lost, and fresh call to believers fulfill The Great Comission. I am so grateful I am His son and I can come to Him as Father (through Jesus, THE Way). Thank you for the post.

Gary said...

I was arguing with you right from the get-go, but kept reading to find out how what non-Biblical nonsense you were going to use to back up that statement. I'm glad I did, as I learned it was my interpretation of what you said that was wrong, not what you said. Thanks for the explanation and the post!

donsands said...

Nice post. Thanks.

The Jews said to Jesus, "We have one Father—even God.”" John 8:41

Jesus said, "Your father is the devil."

All religions do lead to a father as well; the devil.

Mark B. Hanson said...

Yeah, Don - nice bit of seeker-sensitive preaching on Jesus' part, eh?

Daryl said...

Gary & Sandman,

You guys...noobies I hope.

Dan's reputation is sufficiently solid to make that first statement interesting.

What a great way to use such a typical line a witnessing tool!

Not only that, but it's a pretty good option for "faith tradition", a phrase I despise.

lawrence said...

I like that. Very clever. And true.

olan strickland said...

That has a definite shock effect upfront! How true! In all the man-made religions of the world there is not a single scheme of atonement that will grant access to God and convert sinners into children of God.

stratagem said...

...or lead to a different god, and then to judgement by God.

This post reminds me of my standard answer to the question "do you believe in the power of prayer?"
"No. (long shocked pause) ...I believe in the power of God."

SandMan said...

Daryl,

I am a relative noobie... I've read the blog daily for about 6-8 months but rarely comment. I agree with you that Dan's reputation precedes him... and I mainly threw my comment in there for a chuckle. (I will admit that I was very curious about how he was going to get himself out of that statement before I reached the end of the post). Again, good stuff!

Daryl said...

SandMan,

I figured it was something like that...I just couldn't resist :)

Actually, your comment was pretty funny, it got me looking around for some sack-cloth and ashes...

James Kubecki said...

In "Share Jesus Without Fear", William Fay has a section dealing with common objections/arguments you'll encounter in evangelism. One is "There are many paths to God."

His response:

"You are correct, all roads lead to God. But here's the problem, what are you going to say when you get there? For God is either going to meet you as your Savior or as your judge."

Tim Bushong said...

Dan- as soon as I saw the post heading I guessed where you were going. First time for everything!

DJP said...

Oh noes... I've lost my Tim Bushong magic!

Must bring up game! Must bring up game!

(c;

Kubecki — I like it.

Frank Turk said...

Classic drunken master. Outstanding.

DJP said...

Thanks.

Mmm, could be a T-shirt in that....

Everyday Mommy© said...

People are fond of saying, "All paths lead to God." My response was always, "Yes, but where are you headed after that?"

Solameanie said...

Oh, I pretty much knew where Dan would go in the end. You see, I have a sharp eye when it comes to tent pegs and scantlings aimed at the head.

Well done, sir.

The Blainemonster said...

Boom! There it is! :)

JackW said...

Dan, when you get around to writing your "NEXT!" book, you might want to edit this post and include it!



... not that it isn't great the way it is.

Kaffinator said...

I love this!! Dan you are like a master plumber in the leaky hallways of my mind.

I respectfully submit an entry for consideration in the Philips Book of Proverbs:

All other world-view, faith, and fad
Will lead to God as Judge, not Dad.

Craig and Heather said...

HA!

I've been contemplating the truth of the "All roads leading to God" concept for several months but hesitate to say it aloud because of the potential for misunderstanding.

I'm glad to see there are others who are willing to consider their answer before just blurting out something about "the narrow path".

We all will stand before God. Understanding the distinction between "Loving Father" and "Righteous Judge" is essential.

Heather

DJP said...

Kaff — I like it.

1Cor1031 said...

WOW . . . great post! You constantly hear it preached that all religions do NOT lead to God, but the TRUTH in this post is overwhelming and obvious!

Whether you associate yourself with a religion or not, you are on the road to God . . . but I am so thankful that I am on the road to God the Father.

gringa said...

Excellent. Thank you for sharing.

Sir Aaron said...

Sandman: It's good that you read the entire post before deciding to rend your garments. We'd hate for a relative newcomer to go the day without clothes. You'll see that Phil is usually straightforward, Dan is the witty comic relief, and well, we usually save the rending of garments and ashes on our heads for Frank's posts. (J/K, Frank) ;)

In all seriousness, clever post, Dan.

Frank Turk said...

Wow --

Now Dan is the comic relief and I'm the serious and convicting one?

It must be 13 O'Clock on Swithensday.

profweather said...

Thank you. You just gave me my open air sermon for this Saturday night.

I will begin by apologizing for telling people that all roads do not lead to God. I repent in sackcloth and ashes for telling them wrongly.

I'll correct myself this weekend.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Oh, Dan,

That was stellar.

And, BTW, love Kaffinator's ultra-concise summary.

Julie

DJP said...

Profweather — that delights me to hear. I will pray. Please report back.

beachbirdie said...

Great post.

How rare; as I read the post title my first thought was exactly your point! I'm not usually that perceptive, LOL.

DJP said...

It's... er... Martinelli Time!

(c;

Rachael Starke said...

Well, I wasn't, beachbirdie. I nearly spat out my coffee and wondered if Dan was popping too many Sudafed for his allergies. :)

That made the impact all the more better. What a conversation- shifter to have with my multitude of "little bit of everything" lost friends!

This is particularly helpful with Mormons, too. They're the ones who are so pointed in their calling God "Heavenly Father", without any possessives, because of their bizarre belief in our literal conception by him (lowercase intentional) and an unidentified divine mother.

stratagem said...

I wonder if those "all paths lead to God (as Father)" people would agree that the path Hitler and Stalin were on, would also have led to God?

Stefan said...

Well, for a minute, I really did think you'd gone completely around the bend, Dan.

That was absolutely brilliant... and absolutely true.

Off topic, but "the Way" in John 14:6 is, of course, not a contentless term, but one rich in meaning: Dt 5:33, 13:4; Ps 25:4; Prov 8:20; Is 30:21; Jer 6:16, 18:15; and of course, Mt 7:13-14.

hayruw said...

Yes, true worshipers can only worship the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

SandMan said...

Sir Aaron,

Thanks for giving me the run-down. All I know is that the depth of thought that goes on around here is staggering...I enjoy the daily encouragement and admonishment. Beyond that, the comic relief seems to come from the trolls from what I've read... sad that they aren't kidding.

Sir Aaron said...

sandman, I too shamefully admit to enjoying the troll posts too.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Ironic.

humanitasremedium said...

I am in full agreement. Thank you for pointing out that God as judge is all you get outside of Jesus.

CR said...

In today's vernacular, we would say about DJP's post: "that was deep."

Beyond Zaphon said...

Well....we are all eternal beings after created by God. After birth humans have eternal existence. Seeing how the Bible teaches the ubiquity of God's presence, I simply will state I agree and thanks for the succinct communication of truth.

Solameanie said...

I heard that the Emergent folks were going to begin using Little River Band's "So Many Paths" as a worship tune. "There are so many paths up the mountain, but the view from the top is still the same."

Okay, I didn't really hear that. But it wouldn't surprise me any.

C.B. Shearer said...

I preach a similar sermon in the open-air, it really gets people thinking and has piqued a lot of interest among Christians and non.

I conclude the "invitation" sometimes with, "On that final day, will you stand in Heaven as a citizen or a defendent? Will you face God as a friend or an enemy? Will you kneal before King Jesus willfully or because an angel has laid you on your face forcefully? Will your hope be consummated or will your terror be just begun? Oh beloved, I implore you, in the name of the Resurrected Christ, be reconciled ot God!"

I feel it presents Christianity as less of a magical formula having picked the right God, and more of a justice/mercy/grace presentation of justification and condemnation.

R. D. Bailey said...

cent.

does that mean you thought you were funny?

one busy mom said...

So Good!

I will definately be using this. This will be great for witnessing to a muslim friend - who already views God as an angry judge.

Frank Turk said...

Rob:

Funny Lookin'.

Frank Turk said...

See: here's an example. I'm sitting in our properly-reformed church full of homeschool families, and we're singing properly-reformed hymns and spiritual songs.

And the homeschool teens in front of me start holding up holy hands, so I lean over to my wife and I say, "apparently, the charismatics have infiltrated."

Dan won't have said anything. He would have had his eyes properly affixed upon him hymnal actually reading the music. In Hebrew.

Susan said...

Bravo!! I knew there would be a catch somewhere!! :)

Amy Wheeler said...

When I received this link from my boyfriend, I had a little bit of an inkling that there would be a "but".

I was thinking more along the lines of "all religions lead to God, but not all people will be happy to meet him"

DJP said...

Naw, Turk.

I'd be looking around for the hold-up guy with the pistol.

Paula said...

This one even garnered a shout-out by Todd Friel on Way-of-the-Wretched...whatever- Radio today!

@ Kaff....can you do it in Haiku? It would help to be able to contextualize this as much as possible.

Jacob said...

This almost qualifies as a NEXT series installment. Very good.

DJP said...

Jacob: Rats. It could have been a contender. /c:

Paula — that's really nice to hear. Friel's used past posts for show-fodder, I've been told. Never heard from him directly myself, snif, but it's great to hear when something's impact is multiplied.

Pastor Jeremy said...

as I've spoken with a Nepali man in Manchester, NH on a recent mission trip, and even with those of the Hmong community who accompanied me on the trip, I've learned that your point is indeed correct, and the honest ones, such as those I've mentioned, realize that, outside of Christ, their religions (Hinduism and ancestor worship, respectively) don't lead them far enough. They are sorely lacking. My Nepali friend found the cow an insufficient source of reverence, since it's a created being, and the Hmong also recognized the incongruity of their misplaced faith. Both of their testimonies related that it was only when someone shared Christ, however, that they could find the "better way." May we be faithful, then, to go, and share, and make Christ known, that He might have His glory in drawing His elect from the four corners of the earth

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

I am going to send the following to my Catholic relatives and say, "Dan said it so it must be true!" They won't listen to me! UGH!!!

"Other religions will bring you to God. Shintoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam — they'll all eventually bring you to God. Mormonism, Christian Science, paganism, animism, and Roman Catholicism will bring you to God."

Expect a response from my old Uncle Ralph, an ex priest, who loves to do exorcisms. :)

Mary

Jim in Fountain Hills said...

Really enjoyed your post. Hope I can remember next time when I'm confronted with the "All Roads" comment. Thanks.

Dr. Mark Byron said...

Other than shoving the Catholics under the eternal bus, well done. Methinks quite a few might be there with us.

As the old saw goes, "the Lamb's Book of Life will be interesting reading." However, practitioners of all those non-Christian religious are up that well known creek without a paddle.

DJP said...

Did I say "all Roman Catholics"?

Craig and Heather said...

Other than shoving the Catholics under the eternal bus, well done. Methinks quite a few might be there with us.

When I said that the RC religion is messed up, I've gotten a similar response from a former Catholic family member . She agrees with that point but is always quick to state that Jesus can save in spite of religious confusion. What she "hears" me saying is that "Catholics cannot really be Christians because their church teaches serious error".

I don't understand why a true Christian would cling to Catholic tradition, but don't deny that there are Catholics who have trusted in Christ alone.

A while back, someone on this site suggested I read James White's Roman Catholic Controversy and I just got hold of a copy. The Amazon reviews are very mixed so I am even more interested in reading what he says about the subject.



H

James the disciple said...

Hogwash. Just playing with words which can be very misleading. Other religions lead to other god or gods, small 'G'. Only Jesus can lead you to God, big 'G', convicted by the Holy Spirit, saved by grace.
Everyone will stand before God on judgement day, in that sense everything and nothing leads you to God!
After the judgement, you'll find that all religions do not lead to God (in heaven), but to hell

trogdor said...

Interesting use of "hogwash" to mean "I agree completely with this article". I'd never heard the word used like that, thanks for expanding my vocabulary. Although really, that could get a little confusing. Generally when people call something "hogwash", they then proceed to contradict it or explain where it's wrong.

DJP said...

Plus it's always good to be reminded that there are alternatives to thoughtfully reading an article all the way through before commenting.