One of Christianity’s most controversial teachings is that there are not many roads that lead to God. There is only one. In John 14, Jesus declares that he alone is the way. Not surprisingly, there are many who strongly disagree with Jesus’s claim. And not just atheists and skeptics. Many Christians are also uncomfortable with his declaration. We wonder about the fate of the millions who lived before Jesus and the millions today who have never heard his message. Are they to suffer eternal punishment for being born in the wrong time or place?
That is an important question, and one the Bible addresses. The Scriptures tell us that every tribe and nation from the beginning of time has heard all they need to hear to choose Jesus.
The Bible tells us that God accomplishes this in four ways:
Christianity is getting less and less popular in the United States. Why? We could look at several reasons, but I would like to zero in on one of the most offensive teachings in Christianity: the claim that there are not many roads that lead to God. There is only one–Jesus.
So why does orthodox Christianity cling to this narrow-minded belief? Who said that Jesus was the only way? Well, Jesus did. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to Father except through me” (John 14:6). Not a lot of ambiguity in that statement.
Whether you like it or not, you are a believer. You get to pick what you believe in, but you have no say over your need to believe. You may believe in science or Buddha or Jesus or Oprah or yourself, but you have faith in something.
And it doesn’t help that we have redefined what it means to believe. To most of us, the word “believe” basically means, “I agree with the data.” Believing is something we do with our mind. But when Jesus spoke of belief, he meant something very different. Jesus taught that to “believe” in God has to do with trusting.
Last week we considered how three interdependent factors (our life circumstances, God’s Word, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit) help us to identify God’s voice even when other voices are vying for our attention. Let’s go a little deeper. Let’s ask, “When I hear God’s voice, what will that sound like?”
The science of voice recognition now has the technology to analyze voices like fingerprints because every voice is unique. So what makes the voice of God unique? What characteristics are we to look for? Three come to mind, though there are many more.