This was evident in a recent (May 11) "Orthodoxy" article in the B.C. Report, a conservative and certainly one of the better news magazines in Western Canada. The article by Ted and Virginia Byfield is about whether or not there is a literal fire-and-brimstone hell. Very correctly, the author(s) states that according to the Bible, (and to Jesus) such a place and such judgment for all the unsaved is reality. The author mentions rightly, that through Jesus Christ, Whom God sent to take the punishment of sin on sinners behalf (and to live the perfect life on our behalf), through faith and repentance in Him, we can escape the punishment for sin and be truly forgiven and be made heirs of eternal life in heaven. That is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Christian message, surely.
The alarming note is that after this was all made clear in the article, Ted and Virginia then leave open the door that perhaps Jesus Christ is not the only Saviour from sin and righteous, divine judgment against sin. They write: "If God has provided other means to do this, we don't know what they are-which is not to say they don't exist. Perhaps the God to whom the Jew prays, or the Allah of whom the Koran speaks, will turn out to have pierced hands and feet. We do not know."
These statements are alarming for they contradict (and confuse) the clear teaching of God's Word; they allow for there being more than one true religion; they misrepresent the heart of the Gospel; and they take away the urgent, absolute need for everyone to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Devout Jews and Muslims need to be lovingly and firmly told they are sincerely wrong about their religion. Their faith is man-made and not of the Lord. In the day of judgment it will avail them nothing. Acts 4:12 states with authority, clarity and charity for fallen mankind--speaking of Jesus Christ: "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other Name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Whoever else may be worshipped by whomever and however sincerely, Jesus alone, being very God and real righteous man in one person (by the power of God as evidenced by Jesus' miraculous conception) has the power to save. The Bible doesn't just say there is "a Way, a Trnth, and a Life that can get us to the former pleaven] and save us from the latter [hell], but John 14:6 reads, "Jesus says unto him [Thomas], I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man [no person, not anyone] comes to the Father [to heaven-in view of the context of John 14] but by Me." It couldn't be more clear.
It is alarming when we "soften" and/or compromise the Christian Gospel message, for it results in a distortion of the message so that it ends up making no sense at all I One of the reasons for the increase of false religions today and the decline of the Christian religion is because too many professing Christians (and churches) waffle and waver on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is so much emphasis today on sounding tolerant and being appreciative of others-and surely that we must be!--but not in a way that we renege on the only Gospel of our sovereign Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (The tolerant way is the broad way that leads to hell!)
We need to be "speaking the truth in love," as Paul says in Ephesians 4:15. Do we dare to be a Daniel in the Babylon of our day? Hell is a reality! But Christ suffered that hell on sinners behalf. (Only He COULD do so, and only because HE did so, is there hope for sinners like you and me today I) That is what the cross of Jesus is all about And the message of the Bible is: "There is no God else beside Me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside[s) Me. Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is [no other] none else" (Isaiah 45:21b,22).
We hope you enjoy reading this Mission insert. May it spur you on in being unashamedly a light and a salt in this corrupt world of darkness, holding forth-by the power of God-the only Gospel of salvation for condemned and lost mankind (Matthew 5:13-16).