White Horse Inn Blog

Know what you believe and why you believe it

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Team Blogs
    Team Blogs Find your favorite team blogs here.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Basic Apologetics: "I think all paths lead to God"

Posted by on in Modern Reformation
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Hits: 110
  • 6 Comments
  • Subscribe to this entry
  • Print
William Cwirla (LCMS): When people say things like that, I always like to ask, "On what basis do you think that? What evidence can you put forward that this statement is true?"

It is true that all religious paths, save one, lead to the same place, but that place isn't God. All religions, save one, hold that you must work your way to God, whether by your creeds, your conduct, or your worship. This is essentially the religion of the Law, something that all religions, save one, have in common.

The statement presupposes that we are on a search for God, much like a hiking trip through the mountains, and whether we take the high road or the low, we will all ultimately wind up in the same place. Buddhism essentially works this way, and even a surprising number of Christians have been caught up into believing this notion that all paths lead to God as long as you sincerely follow your chosen path.

The path is not ours to define but God's. Jesus pointed out that the way to destruction is broad, and no one has trouble finding that road, while the way to life is exceedingly narrow, and those who find it are few (Matt. 7:13-14). Christianity is the only religion that is really a non-religion, in the sense that we don't work to God but God comes all the way to us. "But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:4-6). God in Christ does it all.

The narrow door Jesus was speaking of is the narrow door of his own death. We would not seek this door on our own, much less find it. Who in their right minds would construct a religion out of an all-sufficient, all-atoning sacrificial death of the Son of God in which the sinner is justified before God? To the wisdom of the world, this is utter nonsense, not to mention bad for morality in general. That's why from start to finish, God must do the work of salvation for us. We would not have it this way on our own.

As with everything else in Christianity, it all hangs on the death and resurrection of Jesus. While it is theoretically possible that there are other ways for a sinner to stand justified before God, God has not revealed any. Instead, he sent his only begotten Son who claimed to be the only way to the Father (John 14:6). On its own, that might be an outrageous example of hubris on the part of Jesus. But then, he's the only One who died and rose bodily from the dead. We're going to have to take his word on that one.

Jason Stellman (PCA): Well, in a certain sense it is true that all paths lead to God. The Bible teaches that all people, great and small, rich and poor, will stand before their Maker. The problem isn't getting to God, it's being accepted by him.

Many today feel that God will happily receive all who stand before him with a smile and a warm hug (R. C. Sproul jokingly calls this view "Justification by Death"). But if we take a few moments to consider who this God is, it becomes necessary to reevaluate our position and question our confidence.

Let's use the realm of civic justice as an illustration. Suppose there were a judge in a certain town who was known for being an accepting, gregarious fellow in private, and his magnanimous personality spilled over into his work. So when thieves, murderers, and kidnappers stand before him, he just can't help but love them and let them off with a small slap on the wrist. If this were to happen over and over, the town would rise up and demand justice, wouldn't they? And rightly so. We all have an inherent sense of right and wrong (which really flares up when we're the ones wronged!) which tells us that criminals should be punished.

But whatever sense of justice and fairness we share as humans beings is there because we have been made in God's image. If we think evil should be punished, how much more true is this when we consider God and his standards, his holiness, and his judgment? God is infinitely more pure, just, and offended at sin than we, and therefore his very nature demands that sinners be punished for their actions.

The good news, of course, is that God is also infinitely more gracious and merciful than we, and for this reason he has sent his Son into the world to walk in our shoes, live the life we have failed to live, and die the death that our sins demand. So though it is true that "all paths lead to God," it is also true that only one of those paths leads to forgiveness and blessing. All others lead to eternal destruction.

From Modern Reformation (March/April 2006): Does God Believe in Atheists?
0

Overall Rating (0)

0 out of 5 stars

Leave your comments

Post comment as a guest

0
Your comments are subjected to administrator's moderation.
terms and condition.

People in this conversation

  • Guest - greg sureck

    "Let’s use the realm of civic justice as an illustration. Suppose there were a judge in a certain town who was known for being an accepting, gregarious fellow in private, and his magnanimous personality spilled over into his work. So when thieves, murderers, and kidnappers stand before him, he just can’t help but love them and let them off with a small slap on the wrist. If this were to happen over and over, the town would rise up and demand justice, wouldn’t they? And rightly so. We all have an inherent sense of right and wrong (which really flares up when we’re the ones wronged!) which tells us that criminals should be punished."

    Oh I see. We run the risk of having adulters and fornicators and thieves in heaven with the good Christians. Good thing God is in charge.

    Like 0 Short URL:
  • Guest - Joshua Rystedt

    Greg,
    I think that Jason Stellman's point was NOT that good people go to heaven and "adulters and fornicators and thieves" go to hell. His point was that sinners cannot live with a JUST God without being JUSTified. Stellman is here refuting the concept that "all paths lead to God". We do not reach heaven just because we live and die. We reach Heaven because we have been justified by the just God through the blood of Jesus Christ. Hope that clears things up for you.
    For His Kingdom,
    Joshua Rystedt

    Like 0 Short URL:
  • Former Christian here, disappointed. It's just not a very convincing, deep or thoughtful article. The logic isn't strong enough to hold up such a massive claim of superior exclusivity. It's like you basically said, "This is what we believe to be true: if you don't agree we think you're doomed." Something like that...

    Like 0 Short URL:
  • [...] recently read a bloggers article asserting that all paths lead to God, but only one path assures salvation. And in this [...]

    Like 0 Short URL:
  • Guest - Rachel

    The problem with this argument is a Realistic vs. Nonrealistic perspective. Pluralists who assert that all paths lead to enlightenment, like myself, prefer not to look at religious doctrines as literally true. I can't speak for everyone, but personally I think that each religion is a human interpretation of something divine - of questions that people have been battling for centuries.

    Your argument automatically assumes that everyone is looking at things from a literal, Realist perspective. That's not true. In fact, I would say that most people who aren't devoted to a specific religion approach things more metaphorically and figuratively. So your apologetics may comfort you, but they don't make a lot of impact otherwise. People who approach the Bible as a historical document written by different humans in different eras rather than the literal word of God won't see this article as very logical.

    Like 0 Short URL:
  • Guest - Barb

    Rachel...The view you are stating, that no religious doctrine is literally true, is in itself a religious doctrine. Therefore, by your definition, your own view is not literally true. There IS literal truth, and it manifests itself in the One Who claimed to be the Way, the Truth and the Life and then rose from the dead to prove it.

    Like 0 Short URL: