Part 1: Combating Universalism and Relativistic Thinking
There are two belief systems on the up rise today that often go hand in hand, called Universalism and Relativism. A Universalist typically believes that each person can find their own way to God that is right for them. They would say that most religions are based on similar truths and values, and therefore each path leads a person to God. It might be a different rendition of God, but as long as the religion assents to a “higher power” of some kind, it is all the same thing to the Universalist. Exclusivists who would say that their religion is the “only way,” would likely be frowned upon by the Universalist who seeks to include everyone in their view of heaven.
Yet many who think this way are also Relativists, so it is not fitting that they should get very worked up about the exclusivist, since after all everyone’s truth is true for them. But regardless, I have come across these people and have found they can be quite distraught by the Absolutist. He is content with every kind of truth except for that which says that there is definite absolute truth, and that kind of discussion makes him feel unnerved. So to be clear: Relativists absolutely believe that whatever you believe to be true is good and true for you and that there is absolutely no absolute truth. What you believe is right for you, and what I believe is right for me.
Do you find yourself confused? I sure do. I cannot reason how to intelligibly write about a subject that defies basic logic. I suppose I could argue against this from a philosophical perspective, and that would be good. But instead, I am going to address this from scripture to explain to the reader why Christianity is indeed exclusive and to what extent.
Why use scripture to prove your point?
Some might groan and want to disregard what I say because I am using the book to prove the truth of the book. Yet this book is the very Word of God and if they will not consider it than it is to their own folly and on account of their pride. The scriptures testify about their origin, power, and purpose.
Hebrews 4:13 “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
2 Timothy 3:16, 4:2-4 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
That time has come. The word of God is not in season here. The culture pushes it out of our schools, our streets, and our government and the people are indoctrinated with ten thousand lies they whole heartedly embrace. Even so many of our so called churches pervert the word of God to fit their own purposes and lusts. The people love darkness and do not want to come to the light lest their deeds should be exposed (John 3:20). You might dismay that I turn to the Word of God to tell you why to reject Universalism and Relativism, and yet I have no other hope for your soul and nothing else to offer you. My prayer, is that the living and active word of God would so pierce your own heart that you would see the truth that is in Jesus Christ.
Why should I believe Jesus Christ’s Teachings above That of Other Religious Teachers?
There are so many reasons but let me narrow it down to one: Jesus Christ claimed to be God in the flesh. All other reasons- that He was born of a virgin, verified his word with miraculous signs, that his life and death fulfilled numerous Old Testament prophecies, that He lived a sinless life and that He alone was raised from the grave, are only possible for a man who is God.
Despite many cults’ false teachings, the clear teaching of scripture is that He is God. As following:
John 1:1-3, 10,14, 18 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made…He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the Son from the Father, full of grace and truth…No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is a the Father’s side, he has made him known.”
Jesus Christ proclaimed Himself to be one with God, equal with God, and worthy of receiving honour and worship as God.
John 5:23 “…that all may honour the Son, just as they honour the Father. Whoever does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent him.”
John 8:28 “So Jesus said to them, ‘When you have lifted up (that is crucified) the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He; and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.”
John 14:7 “If you had known me, you would have know the Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
His opponents recognized that He claimed Himself to Be God, and hated Him for it.
In John 8:56-59 Jesus was speaking with the Jews and said “’Your Father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.’ So the Jews said to him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.’ So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.”
Mark 2:5-8 “And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘My son, your sins are forgiven.’ Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, ‘Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, ‘Why do you question these things in your hearts?’”
John 10:30-33 Jesus said “’I and the Father are one.’ The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?’ The Jews answered him, ‘It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.’”
If Jesus Christ is God as He claimed to be, then you or I cannot pick and choose which of His words to accept and which to reject. If He is God, then everything He said is true. He is not just a good man, a prophet, or a set of ideals to follow, but the person of God who must be loved and honoured as a whole. You either believe in Him as a whole, believing everything He said about Himself and entrance into Heaven, or you reject Him as a whole. There is no in between.
Matthew 8:36-38 “For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
I would submit to you that there are many running around today who claim to love and follow Jesus, and yet His hard and offensive words they keep silent about, neglect, and are ashamed of. Lord, spare us from such a way of “believing” in You.
What did Jesus say about entrance in to Heaven, and is He indeed exclusive?
The profound emphasis of scripture is that only through Jesus Christ can a person enter Heaven. Acts 4:12 says “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Jesus Christ said this incredibly exclusive statement about Himself: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” He did not say “I am a way” or even “I am the best way.” He claimed “I am the only way.”
Hear these sobering and controversial words spoken by Jesus Christ about entrance into Heaven: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few (Matthew 7:13-14).”
This statement flies in the face of Universalism and even modern day western “Christianity.” Did you hear what Jesus said!? He said those who find heaven are few and those who walk the broad path to Hell are many. Here, Jesus Christ is blasting an alarm to awake your soul and open your blind eyes. He urges us with a sense of immediacy to question what path we are on, where is its’ destined end, and what god we are following. This passage gives us reason to examine ourselves and our beliefs in the fear of the Lord our Righteous Judge.
He said it’s easy to walk a broad path to Hell, just as many today try to preach an easy Christianity that requires no discipline, no radical sacrifice, no necessary obedience to Jesus Christ and His Word. And the Universalist cries out, “All ways lead to God!” But they are detrimentally wrong, and speak contrary to the words of Jesus Christ. One day the judgement will come like a storm and their foundation will crumble and their house shall fall and great will be the fall of it (Matthew 7:27). How I know this offends you that Jesus is the only way, but it is better you be offended now than on your judgement day to find out I held back the truth and despise me for it! These are the words of Christ, what else can be said?
He said “I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me (that is the false religious teachers) are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief (once again the false teacher) comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep (John 10:7-11).”
I know at this point your natural reaction may be to despise this Jesus Christ. How dare He deny people entrance in to Heaven! How dare He make Himself out to be the only way! You think, this cannot be a God of love and mercy, but I am not through with explaining Him to you yet. He is richer in mercy than you could ever fathom. Please stick with me to see how this is so. He is beautiful, He is beautiful! Please see the glory of Christ.
Oh dear friend, He is so glorious. He is so infinitely beyond us, so immeasurably greater than us. And yet “it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens (Hebrews 7:26)” and I want to explain to you how.
*I will be posting this entire article in sections, one each day. Please return to read the remaining sections so that you can have the full picture of what I want to say. Otherwise, I think it likely that you could make inferances about what I believe that are not true.