Picture two kids sitting in a sandbox:
Emma: My grandma’s name is Anna
Molly: My grandma’s name is Anna, too.
Emma: My grandma lives on High Street.
Molly: My grandma lives on High Street, too.
Emma: My grandma likes to bake pies.
Molly: My grandma bakes amazing pies!
You’d pretty much expect that these two girls are sisters or cousins…that they have the same grandmother, right? But it goes on.
Molly: My grandma is a widow.
Emma: My grandma lives with my grandpa.
Molly: My grandma has a two story house
Emma: My grandma has a one story house.
These aren’t the same women, are they? This may not matter to you. It would certainly matter to them, and it would certainly matter if you were the one at the school who was responsible for handing over these girls to the right grandmas who were picking them up after school.
Today was Trinity Sunday. It’s a special day in the liturgical year. It is a day where we say the Athanasian Creed. It is usually too long to say every week, but it is a clear, repetitive proclamation of who
Christians believe God is, the doctrines taken from the Bible. It starts out and ends with a clear
proclamation that whoever does not believe this, is not saved. While many denominations claim to have no use for creeds — that is fine. They don’t have to say it. They do have to believe it to be truly Christian, because the Athanasian Creed was created in order to clarify what is orthodox Christianity, and what is heresy.
We live in a world where there are many religions that claim to know God, and even claim to know Christ. The Muslims hold Christ up as a good prophet. Even the Jews sometimes will state that. The Hindus even claim that He was possibly an incarnation of Brahma. The Mormons claim that He was the eldest spirit brother of all of us – who are all spirit children of the Father God of this planet. The Jehovah’s Witnesses confess that He is the Archangel Michael.
In this world, many want to state that there are a multitude of ways to be saved, and that believing in Jesus is only one of them. Even the Pope John Paul II stated that Muslims and Jews who were obedient and good would enter into heaven.
The fact of the matter is this is all false. And the reason that this is false is that if there were ANY other way to be saved, why would God have sacrificed His only Begotten Son? Why would He have put Him through being conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, CRUCIFIED, DIED, and BURIED? He LOVES His son. He also loved us and knew that there was only one way that we sinful, rebellious people could be made at peace with Him. Not anything we could do — like good works or nice thoughts. But ONLY the blood of one truly innocent…truly God…truly man could pay for our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
And if this is the case, and it is, to proclaim that there are other ways, that other faiths who say that Jesus was a wise man, a good prophet, an incarnation of their high God — is to spit in the face of the real God who loved us so much that He did send Christ to die for us. To say Jesus is a good prophet, when Christ confessed Himself that He is God, is saying that Christ is not who He says He is. That He is a liar (John 8). That what He did for us isn’t important.
We may think that we are being loving and open-minded when we are open to “other ways of salvation.” When we claim that all roads lead to God. But if God could not let it be so — if He crucified His Son for us, when there were other “equally valid” religions claiming different ways to salvation, we are not being loving. We are being liars. We are not helping those who do not yet recognize the truth. We are not helping them get to the right God. The one who loves them so much that He sent His ONLY Son from eternity to take on flesh to die for them and rise for them. Who has the power to take them to the home they belong in.