In this week’s episode of the Ask Me Anything Podcast, Pastor J.D. answers a question from one of our listeners, Linda, about whether or not people of other faiths go to Heaven.
- For a while, the Hebrew “religion” was the only religion God had given—they were God’s chosen people in the Old Testament.
- The Apostles taught Jesus as the only way to salvation. Jesus’ interaction with Gentiles was very infrequent, and his statement about being “the way, the truth, and the life” was spoken to Jews, in a Jewish context.
- But that wasn’t a departure from the Jewish religion; instead, Jesus taught that it was a fulfillment of the Jewish religion. The Apostle Paul explains in Romans 4 that Jews in the Old Testament were saved in the same way we’re saved now—they just were saved by looking forward to the Messiah, and we’re saved by looking back at the Messiah.
- The bigger question asked is about sincere people in every religion. There are five general views on this:
- Universalism: Believing that God reveals himself to everyone, and so just by merely being human, all of us are saved.
- Pluralism: Everyone essentially believes in the same God, but has a different name.
- Inclusivism: Jesus is the only way, but faithful believers of any faith are saved
- Anonymous Christian Thesis: A person may not claim to be a Christian, but they might see the stars and the moon and all of creation and believe in a creator, and then God counts them as saved because they accept general revelation.
- Post-Mortem Evangelism: There is a chance to be saved after death… Jesus will witness to a person upon death to those who have not been evangelized.
- Exclusivism: You must have explicit faith in Christ and the gospel during your life to be saved.
- That last one is what I believe the Bible teaches.
- All of this is about bringing God glory (Romans 3: just and the justifier; Romans 9: wonder at his mercy; Isaiah: God would send salvation that his name would be great on the earth and all would know that salvation belongs only to God.)
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