Over the last few months we’ve been looking at the differences between Christianity and other major religions – particularly their teaching about how to get to heaven. To finish the series I want to give a few tips on how to witness to people of other religions. Today I want to focus on being honest about where Christianity differs from false religions.
As we have seen, many religions have some compatibility with Christianity. They usually believe in supernatural beings, that man has a problem with evil and that they have a solution to the problem.
But while there are similarities, we have to be careful to emphasise that there are important differences. In our culture it often appears to be trendy and loving to emphasise where we agree and ignore where we disagree. This encourages people to say that because we have so many things in common, we must all be going to the same place – we are simply arriving by different paths. Your path might be Hinduism, mine is Christianity. It doesn’t really matter as we will all get to paradise in the end.
But such thinking is wrong. The Bible teaches us again and again that Jesus is the only way to have eternal life: ‘Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you’ (John 6:53). Jesus is saying that unless you trust in his death for you, you will not go to heaven. Full-stop.
Now this sounds harsh. But you have to remember that sometimes the loving thing to do is tell someone an objective truth even if they won’t like it. An ‘objective’ truth is a truth that is always true – it is not open to subjective change. A good example is the doctor honestly telling his patient the ‘objective’ truth that they have cancer. The truth is not open to debate. The presence of cancer is fact. Now it sounds harsh to tell the patient they have cancer, but it is with a view to curing the patient of the cancer. Similarly the work of a Christian is to lovingly tell others that they have a problem with sin that can only be cured by Jesus. The Christian does not back away from the truth by suggesting that all religions are ok. The Christian is honest that Christianity is the only way to heaven.
Do you tell people that Jesus is the only way to heaven? Or do you like to assure people that they don’t have a problem with sin when they actually do?