Shannon Johnson Kershner, a Waco, Texas native, and leader of the Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago, Illinois, has declared that Christianity is not the only way to heaven.
In a recent podcast with the Chicago Sun-Times, Kershner was specifically asked, “Is Christianity the only way to heaven?”
“No,” Kershner replied bluntly.
“God’s not a Christian,” she elaborated. “ I mean, we are … For me, the Christian tradition is the way to understand God and my relationship with the world and other humans and it’s the way for me to move into that relationship but I’m not about to say what God can and cannot do in other ways and with other spiritual experiences.”
This article caught my attention since I just preached on the issue this past Sunday. It was the final sermon of a series entitled “Lies the Devil Tells Us.” One of his big lies is “there are many ways to God.”
Shmuel “Shmuley” Boteac, an American Orthodox Jewish rabbi and author, once expressed it this way. “I am absolutely against any religion that says one faith is superior to another. I don’t see how that is anything different than spiritual racism. It’s a way of saying we are closer to God than you, and that’s what leads to hatred.”
Several years ago following 9/11 a large evangelical church invited a Muslim leader to speak. He stood in the pulpit and declared, “All of us believe in Jesus. I believe in Mohammad and all the prophets. So our mission here is to introduce people to God.” Then he added, “We believe in Jesus more than you do.”
Charles Colson, in his book, Lies That Go Unchallenged in Popular Culture correctly called the incoheent religious voices of our day a “mushy ecumenism.” It is the spirit of our age that seeks to embrace every religious thought as right regardless of its Biblical accuracy. It is tolerance gone to seed that sees few, if any, absolutes.
In a Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, more than 75% agreed with this statement: “Many religions that lead to eternal life.” Incredibility more than 50% of those who identified as “highly committed” evangelicals also agreed.
Jesus plainly said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn. 14:60). Not Buddha. Not Brahma. Not Mohammad. Only Jesus. He is the way. Not only one of the many ways. But the only way.
The apostle Peter proclaimed this truth when he said concerning Jesus, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Ax 4:12).
Paul, the apostle converted from Judaism, affirmed that there is just “one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph. 4:4-6).
In similar fashion, the apostle John wrote, “ Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God… And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1Jn. 5:1,11-12).
Our culture and our churches need a return to Jesus as the only way to God and to the Bible as the absolute source of authority on all spiritual matters.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman