Defending and Guarding the Christian Faith
by Michael L. Gonzalez
Defending and guarding the Christian faith has historically been directed to those outside of the Church, but now days, we must spend our time convincing people WITHIN the Church of the basic tenets of Christianity.
One of the tenets of Christianity is that Jesus Christ is the only hope of all people for eternal life, as he said himself in John Chapter 14: 6 I am the way, the truth, and the life! Jesus answered. Without me, no one can go to the Father." [The Contemporary English Version ©1995 by the American Bible Society.]
When you must defend the faith (like the above tenet) to a non-believer, it's best to point out that it's not true because YOU say it's true, rather, IT'S TRUE BECAUSE JESUS SAID IT'S TRUE.
Throughout the New Testament, this point is made clear: it is NOT a statement directed simply to people who "choose" that Jesus is "decisive" for them! The only argument against this basic tenet of Christianity is to DENY SCRIPTURE; as we know, there is a segment of people in "christian churches" who do exactly this. And also we know that if the Scriptures are deemed not valid, then of course, there is NO christianity, rather a new religion is created.
I must preface the following compilation of "Bible logic" by saying that this analysis is based on the premise that the Bible is God's inerrant Word, and thus by our faith we can trust what the Bible tells us. There is really no point in reading this analysis if the Bible isn't relevant to the reader's religion. Thus, this will be what Christians believe, rather than some secular opinion.
This compilation will not be pleasant for those who want Christianity to be all sweet-smelling roses; reciting God's Word is not an example of today's politically correct speech.
Let's start at "the beginning." Romans 1:18 through 2:16 is a good place to start. Here Paul writes that every human being on earth is aware of the existence of God because God has shown His work to them simply through the creation of the Earth. Paul is explaining that no person can logically deny the existence of God because how else could the Universe exist?
Point #1: All people of Earth know of God.
Romans Chapter 2 makes clear that rejection of God will result in eternal punishment.
Point #2: People who reject God are condemned.
But can a person worship the Father and not be a Christian? Jesus tells us in his own words that we cannot know the Father except through the Son (Matt. 11:27, Luke 10:22, John 14:6-14, John 1:18).
Point #3: We can only worship the Father through the Son
At John 3:16-18 Jesus Christ tells us that God, through the Son of Man, offers salvation to everyone and eternal life in God's presence. However, if a person is aware of the Gospel, yet rejects it, that person is condemned. See also John 3:36.
Point #4: Acceptance of Christ is salvation, and rejection of Christ is damnation
"No one goes to the Father except through the Son" as is made clear in these passages: John 14:6, Acts 4:12, Romans 3:22-23, and 2 Thess. 1:8.
Point #5: Christ is the only way!
Being a "good person" in and of itself will not be rewarded with eternal life with the Father. As we read in Romans 4:1-5, God accepts us only by our faith, not by what we do. In short, we are saved by His grace ALONE, through faith ALONE, because of Christ ALONE.
All this said, the Bible makes clear that God in His power can choose to redeem any person at any time, and God (not man) will judge the souls of people. However, for a Christian to sit and watch and do nothing would certainly be risking damnation, as we are commanded to make disciples of Christ throughout the world. We have only one Gospel to preach, and we are commanded to do so; to invent a religion of our own, or to accept another religion is against God's commands to us, thus it would be our own salvation that would be at risk in such a case.
Why is it popular today within mainline Protestant denominations to reject the notion that Christ is the only way? Why try to rationalize that the Bible isn't really saying that other religions of the world will not lead to eternal life with the Father? A common response is that Christians would appear arrogant or self-righteous or judgmental if we say something that would imply that Christianity is supreme among religions of the world.
Is it really our loving nature that refuses to allow us to believe that Jesus Christ and the Apostles are condemning those who are not followers of Christ? Or, is it our SELFISH, FEARFUL, and WEAK nature that causes us to rationalize away the Great Commission?
What if the Bible is truly the Word of God? What if Jesus Christ really meant what he said? Today, this is tough for us to accept, isn't it? This means that we can't sit by and watch the peoples of the entire world remain ignorant of Christianity! This means that Christians have an absolutely undaunting charge to go make disciples of all people of the entire world. This means that up to this point we, and collectively our Christian ancestors, have failed in God's purpose for our lives. We don't want to believe this, do we?
Our secular world today preaches not that Christianity is supreme, but that tolerance and inclusivity are supreme. Tolerance and inclusivity are only two attributes of Christianity; at least our secular society has got part of it right! Our mainline Protestant denominations preach that Jesus was totally tolerant and inclusive of all people; that Jesus Christ walked the Earth to save all peoples of all races, all stations of life, both male and female; there is no question that this preaching is certainly Biblical. So, we must ask: If Jesus Christ was inclusive in everything he said and did, how can we argue at the same time that when he said "No one goes to the Father except through the Son" that he was EXCLUDING most of the people on Earth; that he was EXCLUDING pagans and other religions. How can we argue that when Jesus Christ gave the Great Commission that he meant "Well, I didn't want you to go make disciples of THOSE people--no I am EXCLUDING those people." No, this is not logical at all! Jesus Christ was totally INCLUSIVE and he wants us all to work everywhere on Earth for His kingdom for salvation of ALL PEOPLES OF THE EARTH.
We have been charged with our task. Will we fulfill this charge?
A link to an excellent writing along these same lines:
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