Joseph Herrin (11-04-08)
Yahshua said to him, “I am THE way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
So Yahshua said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am THE door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am THE door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved.”
In part 1 of this writing I shared a great concern that is upon my heart concerning the present trend among believers in Christ to depart from sound doctrine and the study of Scriptures. This trend is leading many believers, and people of influence among the body of Christ, to embrace grievous error. I can see where much of this error is heading. It will lead to an eventual denial of Yahshua the Messiah as the ONLY way to restored relationship to God. Already, this trend is far advanced, and many believers are embracing doctrines that declare that God may be found through other ways.
I suspect that most who read this blog would read the opening Scriptures and agree that there is no other way to the Father other than through Christ. Some would be surprised, however, to find how far such an understanding has already suffered the effects of erosion as a stream of falsehood has been unleashed like a flood, and many Christians are beginning to depart from sound doctrine. I will cite a few prominent examples.
Some months ago I was made aware of an interview that Billy Graham had with Robert Schueller of the Crystal Cathedral in California. In this interview Billy Graham states that there may be other ways to God other than through Christianity. Robert Schueller was excited to hear Billy Graham declare this, for it fits in well with his own thinking and false doctrines. You can find this interview on YouTube.
Billy Graham made a similar statement in an interview with Larry King.
Please understand what is being said. It is being taught that “there is a wideness in God’s mercy.” A person can be a Hindu, or a Muslim, or a Buddhist, and if they are seeking light in the religion they are familiar with, then they belong to Christ. They need not know Christ, or even be familiar with God’s plan of redemption. All they need is to be good people who are seeking light.
There are many fallacies being swallowed to arrive at such a conclusion. One fallacy is that good men and women will seek after God of their own initiative.
Both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, there is not even one. “
Man is never the initiator of a restored relationship with God. God is always the initiator of reconciliation.
John 6:37, 44
“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out… No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.”
The idea that there are good people in this world seeking for God is a fallacy. There are no “good” people.
As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Yahshua said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.”
In asking this question, Yahshua was not denying that He was good. He was seeking to expose a fallacy of the man asking the question, and to get him to truly discern what he was saying. There are no “good” men. There are only fallen men who are sold as slaves to sin. Only God is good, so if this man called Christ “good,” he was in effect acknowledging that Christ was God. Yahshua knew the man did not intend to declare this, so He asked him why he made such a statement.
It came as a great shock to me when God first revealed to me the myth of the good man who seeks for God. I was raised in Baptist churches that taught this myth. I was told that God must give every man and woman a chance to receive or reject Christ, for to fail to do so would not be fair. What this “fairness doctrine” fails to understand is that all men ALREADY REJECTED God. They did so “in Adam.”
Romans 5:12, 18-19
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned…Through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men… through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners…
We all sinned in Adam. When Adam rejected God and chose sin we all did the same, for we were in Adam as his seed. There is no doctrine of fairness that requires God to give all men an opportunity to receive or reject Him a second time. No! The Scriptures reveal that all now depends upon God Who chooses to have mercy on some, leading them to salvation through Christ, and Who also hardens some in their sin that they might remain vessels of wrath.
And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; for though the twins were not yet born, and had not done anything good or bad, in order that God’s purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works, but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.” So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.
A church that does not STUDY the Scriptures today has departed from such basic truths. What happens time and again is that when man’s sense of fairness, of good and evil derived from eating of the forbidden fruit, clashes with the revelation of the character and ways of God, those who are not firmly anchored in the truths of Scriptures form new doctrines according to their own understanding. Through such means an image of God is fashioned that is pleasing to the fallen mind of man, though it be as foreign to the truth as Aaron’s golden calf was foreign to the true image of Yahweh.
In adopting a “fairness doctrine” that says God must give all men and women an opportunity to accept or reject Christ, the next false doctrine is then embraced of necessity. This is the doctrine that teaches that good men and women will choose Christ, while wicked men and women will reject Him. As we have seen, this is great error. “There is none righteous. No, not one.” There are no “good” men or women. Only God is good.
Apart from a sovereign work of grace in the lives of those whom God chooses to have mercy on, none would ever come to Christ. Many look at Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus as exceptional. In truth, it is typical of all who come to Christ. Paul was going forth as an enemy of Christ. He was breathing out threats and murder against all who loved Christ. He was not “seeking” God. He was hardened in deception and sin. Yet, Paul was a vessel upon whom God chose to manifest His mercy.
As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.”
Many years ago the Lord revealed to me that I would never have chosen Him if left to myself. My coming to Christ for salvation was totally an act of His choosing to have mercy on me. I remember when this understanding dawned upon me. I was reading Romans chapter 9 and as the truth entered my being I began trembling. I was shaken by the knowledge that I was under wrath, and would have remained there, had not God chosen to have mercy on me. The Baptist doctrines I had been taught fell to the ground when the light of truth broke through to my soul.
Billy Graham and Robert Schueller teach that there are good men and women who are seeking light throughout the world. This is not so. All are children of wrath. None seeks after God. No not one. None would come to Christ unless the Spirit draws them. Salvation belongs to the Lord and He will dispense it as He pleases.
What then of the thought that there may be people in other religions who are seeking God according to what light is available to them? Billy Graham stated that people were doing so. Did he cite any Scriptures as the basis for this concept? No! It is a concept totally born of man’s sense of right and wrong obtained by eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The carnal mind of man declares that such a conclusion is not only logical, but desirable. Certainly God must honor all those who are seeking light, even if the only light they have is Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, or some other false religion of demonic origin.
Can you see the error in such a conclusion? First, how can one embrace the thought that these false religions have any light?
II Corinthians 6:14-16
Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols?
The Scriptures declare that these false religions are:
If the Scriptures declare false religions and their adherents to be darkness, then how does Billy Graham conclude that there is some light there? He does not do so by the Scriptures, but by Adamic reasoning.
Can God call people out of these religions into a knowledge of His Son to receive mercy and be reconciled to Himself. Absolutely. He has done so millions of times. However, it is erroneous to conclude that these people can be reconciled to God apart from entering in through Christ Yahshua, the Son of God. He alone is THE WAY.
I have mentioned in a couple of previous blog postings the wildly popular book The Shack. This book is wildly popular not only in the sense of it being a best seller, but in the effusive praise a great many Christians are heaping upon it. I have heard a number profess that it is the best book they have ever read. The more I come to discern about the book, the more appalled I am at the acceptance it is getting among Christians. Truly, many have departed from sound doctrine and no longer study the Scriptures to recognize truth and error.
USA Today had a review of this book in which the following was stated:
Now, his first novel, The Shack— centered on dialogues between a miserable main character, Mack, and three unorthodox characterizations of the Holy Trinity — telescopes Young’s transformation to a man spiritually reborn and aware every moment of God’s love. It slams “legalistic” religions, denominations and doctrines. It barely even mentions the Bible.
Much is revealed in this paragraph. The book barely mentions the Bible. It presents an unorthodox view of God, and it defames those who take a stand upon doctrines of the Christ that are not flexible and inclusive as “legalistic.” What are some of the author’s beliefs? They are found in the following excerpts from the book taken from an online review.
On page 182, the character meant to represent Jesus says “Those who love me come from every stream that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims, Democrats, Republicans and many who don’t vote or are not part of any Sunday morning or religious institutions”. Mack (the main character) asks for clarification. “Does that mean…that all roads will lead to you?” “’Not at all,’ smiled Jesus…’Most roads don’t lead anywhere. What it does mean is that I will travel any road to find you’”. Jesus then goes on to say “I am the best way any human can relate to Papa or Sarayu (the character who plays the Holy Spirit).”
There is much that is poisonous here. The author presents an image of Christ that is false. This Christ does not say, “I am THE WAY.” Instead, he says, “I am the BEST WAY.” What a wide gulf separates these two statements. The author is espousing the false doctrine that there are other ways to relationship with God apart from Christ. God has made no other provision for restored relationship to Himself. All must enter in through the gate, which is Christ Yahshua.
This is the same error espoused by Billy Graham and Robert Schueller, that there is a “wideness” to God’s mercy. There are other paths to God aside from Christ. Today there are those who are saying Christ is the best way to the Father. Next they will be denying even this. They will say all ways are equally as good. Once truth is compromised and the Scriptures are departed from as the source to establish sound doctrine, the people of God become like a ship without anchor or rudder. They are blown about by every wind of false doctrine.
We are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming…
The Shack is filled with Satanic deceit and false doctrine introduced subtly. It is no challenge at all for one who is grounded upon the word of God to discern the deception and falsehood present. Yet hordes of professing Christians are reading the book and heaping effusive praise upon it. Why? Because they have lost all discernment. They have fallen away from truth. They have become untethered from the Scriptures, and have failed to study them to know truth and avoid error.
This book contains other grievous errors such as portraying God the Father and the Holy Spirit as women. God the Father is depicted as saying, “I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring from the inside.”
This is truly a case of fashioning a golden calf. What a wonderful god this is for those whose lives are filled with sin. This god does not punish sin. No wonder that the USA Today article stated that the Bible is hardly ever mentioned. You will not find support for such a concept of God in the Bible.
It is obvious that the author has been influenced by the study of false religions. The name given to the Asian woman who represents the Holy Spirit is Sarayu. Once more a subtlety of deception is employed. The name Sarayu is a feminine derivative of a Sanskrit word meaning “to flow.” As a masculine stem, Sarayu means “air, wind,” i.e. “that which is streaming.”
The Holy Spirit is also described with words that bear the meaning of air and wind in the Bible. Why use the name Sarayu, a name that is not found in the Bible, nor is it a common English name? Where is this name found?
The name Sarayu is mentioned repeatedly in the Rigveda. “The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns dedicated to the gods (devas). It is counted among the four canonical sacred texts of Hinduism known as the Vedas.”
Sarayu is the name of a river in India, and this stream which “flows” is associated with the teachings of Hinduism. It is little surprise to find that the author says that Jesus is not the only way to relationship with God. He also has the character depicting Jesus declaring that He did not come to make Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and others into Christians, declaring that He is not a Christian Himself.
“Those who love me come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims…. I have no desire to make them Christian, but I do want to join them in their transformation into sons and daughters of my Papa, into my brothers and sisters.”
[The Shack’s “Jesus.” [p.182]]
How is it that so many are embracing this book, and praising it so highly? They are only able to do so because this generation has fallen away from the study of Scriptures and an emphasis upon sound doctrine. Even as the author of this book describes those who would divide over doctrine as “legalistic,” so too am I finding an increased tendency among Christians to accuse those who seek to emphasize sound doctrine as legalistic and manifesting a religious spirit. I have received this charge on several occasions in the past few weeks, often from believers who should know better.
Satan is shaping opinion by means of a flood of words. This shaping is subtly influencing even those saints who have been grounded in Scriptures and have been instructed by the Spirit. They are beginning to form an image of doctrine as divisive, and reproving, rebuking and exhorting as a manifestation of an argumentative and prideful spirit. There are fewer and fewer voices of truth, as the weight of opinion is driving many into silence. May God raise up men and women who love truth with steel in their backbone. Such are badly needed to lead the body of Christ back to a true image of Christ, and a correct understanding of the ways of God.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.
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