Jesus, the only way, in 2 Timothy 2

As I pointed out the other day in A simple way to out theologically Liberal Christians for the tares and wolves that they are, it is a plain and repeated teaching in the Bible that Jesus is the only way to salvation.  The world hates that message, as do theologically Liberal/Progressive people who call themselves Christians.  They rarely have any idea how repeated and clear that teaching is.

Stand to Reason offers a great booklet listing 100 passages teaching that Jesus is the only way to salvation.  Just flip open the New Testament and start reading.  You’ll find that little makes sense outside that truth.  If you claim to be a Christian this a view you must hold.

But when I read the Bible I often come across more and more passages that affirm that truth that aren’t in the list of 100.  I was listening to 2 Timothy 2 the other day and noticed all these truths, none of which make sense if other religions are equally valid paths to God. Here are the verses (in italics) along with my reasoning.

2 Timothy 2 (ESV)

1 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus – it isn’t in someone else.

3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. – He is the leader.

8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel – Paul’s Gospel is all Jesus, all the time.

10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. – Salvation is in Jesus.

11 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; 13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself. – Multiple notations there – by implication, if we die without him we will live without him. You deny him, He denies you.

15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. – This doesn’t apply to the theme of this, but I love that verse! It should be one of the first verses people learn.  We won’t be perfect, but we should do our best to read the Bible properly.  There are right and wrong ways to do it, and it is shameful to do it improperly.

19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” – Some are his, and some are not. Believers name the name of the Lord.

24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. – You are his servant or you are not his servant. Those who don’t follow him are opponents.

God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. – They are with him or they are in the snare of the devil, captured by him to do his will.

Keep in mind that none of that chapter was in the Stand to Reason booklet.  There are well over 100 passages teaching this vital truth.  Christians should never deny it.  The early Christians called themselves the Way for a reason.  It isn’t bad news that there is “only” one way, it is Good News that there is a way at all!  Do not sit in judgment of God and demand an additional way out of your problem of sin.  Just fall on your knees and accept his grace.

Paul vs. Jesus? Not exactly.

A thread over at the false gospel-preaching Sojourners Blog had multiple accusations against a commenter about whether Jesus and Paul taught the same Gospel, saying things like:

. . . the question of whether the Gospel according to Paul agrees with the Gospel according to Jesus seem largely ignored.

A commenter there referred to someone quoting Paul as a “Paulian” instead of a “Christian” and a commenter here literally said that “Jesus trumps Paul.”  Another one kept saying that “Paul didn’t know about committed same-sex relationships,” as if the Holy Spirit didn’t know either or wasn’t involved in the writings.  And there have been whole TV shows and analyses about the alleged differences between Jesus and Paul.  But is this really the case?

The “Jesus vs. Paul” debate is what is known as a false dichotomy, or a false dilemma.  It implies that you have to choose one side or the other, when there are actually other options.  Please consider this:

1. Jesus is God.  The Bible is the word of God.  Therefore, it is all the word of Jesus.  The original writings turned out just like He wanted them to, including Paul’s letters.

2. The “red letters” (direct quotes of Jesus sometimes printed in red ink) carry no more authority than any of the other verses, let alone the ~3,000 verses saying, “God said,” “The word of the Lord came to me,” etc.

3. Roughly 10% of the “red letters” quoted the “black letters.”  Jesus unapologetically and frequently quoted from the Old Testament, including the most controversial parts such as Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah and Sodom and Gomorrah.  And the red letters said to believe black letters: Matthew 4:4 But he answered, “It is written, “ ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

4. Peter referred to Paul’s writings as scripture.  This verse not only demonstrates that but exposes why the “Christian” Left dislikes Paul and misinterprets him!

2 Peter 3:16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

5. None of the people making this argument seem to question what Luke wrote in his Gospel, so why do they question what Luke documented about Paul in the book of Acts, including his encounters with Jesus and his acceptance by the other Apostles?

6. Unless you think Paul made up his whole story — which would raise a whole new set of issues — then his claims are just as authoritative as the Gospel writers.

For example, Luke was not a direct follower of Jesus but was a careful historian and under the tutelage of Paul.  Mark leveraged Peter for his Gospel.  But Paul heard directly from Jesus.

7. Think about how much you know about the concept of grace and love and where that came from.  Do you really want to toss that out?  Why don’t these “Christian” Leftists object when someone quotes 1 Corinthians 13?

8. Jesus and Paul don’t disagree.  The clear trumps the unclear, but a Gospel writer’s presentation of Jesus’ teachings doesn’t trump Paul’s presentation of Jesus’ teachings.

9.  Much of Paul’s writings pre-date the Gospels.

So I don’t think Paul disagrees with what others documented directly and indirectly about Jesus, and even if they did you wouldn’t necessarily go with the Gospels.

Quoting Paul doesn’t make one a “Paulian” instead of a Christian, it just means you are quoting the word of God.  Don’t let anyone dismiss your claims because you quote Paul.  And be wary of those arguing against Paul — because they are also arguing against the Holy Spirit.

Just quote scripture, in context.  It’s all good.

A simple way to out theologically Liberal Christians for the tares and wolves that they are

One of the easiest ways I’ve found to “out” false teachers is to ask if they believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation.  They very rarely do.  They’ll defend their false view with some tidbit they’ve heard then try to change the subject.  Some, like false teacher Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie, come up with entire sermons designed to rationalize away plain texts like John 14:6 (Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.).

Theologically Progressive/Liberals who claim the name of Christ mock the cross and the blood of the martyrs.  They refer to a few Bible verses, though almost always out of context, but if you keep them talking long enough they deny nearly all the essentials of the faith.

What they don’t know is that there are more than 100 passages supporting the truth that Jesus is indeed the only way to salvation.  When you point that out they work overtime to ignore you or change the subject.  Don’t let them do that.  And keep in mind that many of them have Masters or Doctorates in theology yet they have read the Bible so little that they don’t even know that truth!  

Just ask them this: Do you believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation, or do you rationalize away the 100+ passages affirming that truth? Follow-up question: If you deny those passages, then you are denying that the Holy Spirit inspired the original writings, so what is your evidence that the original writings were wrong but that the Holy Spirit is now accurately revealing truths to you?

Here’s what one theological Liberal said on the Sojourners’ blog:

I consider myself Christian although I do not believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation. I consider myself Christian because I seek to obey and to imitate Christ.

My response:

How do you know anything about Christ? Presumably it is from the Bible. But if you dismiss over 100 passages affirming the truth that He is the only way to salvation, why do you find the other passages to be trustworthy, such as the one you quoted (assuming you understood that in context)? If people just hold to the passages they like, then they aren’t following Christ, they are following themselves — that is, the god they have made in their own images by judging the real God and choosing which of his revelations are “real.”

I encourage you to scan the NT and reconsider your views. Jesus prayed in the garden and asked for another way. There wasn’t one. To teach otherwise mocks his work on the cross by implying that it was just one option of many, but not a requirement to save sinners. It also mocks the blood of the martyrs and those being persecuted today. For if Jesus isn’t the only way to salvation, why are these people suffering needlessly for their faith? If those on the theological Left really believed what they said and really loved these people they’d send Reverse Missionaries to de-convert those Christians and encourage them to adopt their local religions. After all, why suffer if Jesus isn’t the only way?

Here’s another typical theologically Liberal comment:

I don’t think it’s possible to bring ‘evidence’, in the sense of rational proof, of the revelations of the Holy Spirit, whether these come through Scripture or through direct experience.

My response:

We agree that the Holy Spirit has a large and unique role. Spiritually dead people will not understand the word. But I encourage you to scan the book of Acts and others to see the Gospel presentations there, and how the Christians referred to facts and logic (OK, and a few miracles) to present their case.

2 Corinthians 4:1 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

BTW that isn’t even on my list of 100+ passages, but it implicitly shows that you are a follower of the true Christ or you are perishing. You are an unbeliever blinded by the god of this age or you see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, the image of God.

Just keep pointing the Progressives back to the Bible — all of it — and not just their misinterpretations of their favorite verses.  Plant a seed of truth so that whenever they claim to be Christians they’ll know that they are disagreeing with a truth taught more than 100 times in the Bible.

And when they tell you not to judge, point out that they are reading Matthew 7:1 out of context (just read the next 4 verses to see that Jesus is teaching not to judge hypocritically) and show them that they are judging the word of God, which means they are judging God.

Stand to Reason offers a booklet listing 100 passages teaching that Jesus is the only way to salvation, though I have found many more.  Just flip open the New Testament and start reading.  You’ll find that little makes sense outside that truth.

More on welfare than working: A design feature of Obama’s America, not a bug

Via More Americans collecting welfare than working full-time — you’d think this would be front page news and a cry for change, but Obama & Co. are getting exactly what they want.  If you aren’t familiar with the term Cloward-Piven Strategy or the philosophy of Saul Alinsky, then you really, really need to expand your media horizons.

When people see things that are obviously bad, like more people on welfare than working, they tend to think that the Leftist Obama/Democrat policies aren’t working.  But if you know how Obama, Hillary Clinton and others follow the philosophies of Cloward, Piven and Alinsky then you know that our Leftist leaders are getting exactly what they want: More dependence on government.  More crises designed to let them take more power.

If you think they are troubled by millions of people losing jobs, insurance, etc. and becoming more reliant on government then you are mistaken.  They are executing their agenda as planned.

“What ‘gay marriage’ did to Massachusetts” should be required viewing . . .

. . . for all those who have been saturated by the Leftist education, media and entertainment industries and who have been repeating the falsehood that it won’t impact other people.  Seriously, this is less than 30 minutes.  That seems like a small investment to counter the hundreds of hours of propaganda that you’ve been subjected to.

People who say that “same-sex marriage” won’t harm you or others are deceived or deceivers.

People who claim the name of Christ and support “same-sex marriage” or say that homosexual behavior isn’t a sin violate the two greatest commandments.

  • By disagreeing with the clear word of God they show that they aren’t loving him.
  • By putting their popularity over the welfare of their neighbors with LGBTQ temptations they don’t love their neighbors.

Bible-believing Christians and even two out of the three types of pro-gay people* (religious or not) can see these truths:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior describe it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).planned
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions of any kind.

Here’s a direct link to the video — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZX55HUPFSU .  Please bookmark it and share it with those who say this won’t harm others.

* The three general types of pro-gay theology people: 1. “The Bible says homosexuality is wrong but it isn’t the word of God” (obviously non-Christians) 2. “The Bible says it is wrong but God changed his mind and is only telling theological Liberals” (only about 10 things wrong with that) 3. “The Bible is the word of God but you are just misunderstanding it” (Uh, no, not really.)

And then Solomon asked God to leave him little hints about what he should do . . .

No, wait, that isn’t how it went.  It was more like this:

1 Kings 3:5–12 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you.

Far too many Christians turn to un-biblical thinking when it comes to Decision making and the will of God (click the link to a set of PowerPoint slides on the topic).  They think they have to look for little clues that God leaves them, as if that is a biblical style of communication from the Lord.  It isn’t.

Consider what Solomon asked for: Wisdom and discernment to make good decisions.  He didn’t ask God to come make every decision and tell him what to do.

When God spoke in the Bible He was very clear.  People didn’t wonder if the message was from him or not.  So ask God for wisdom and discernment.  Read Proverbs — and the rest of the Bible — a lot.  Seek wise counsel.  Choose what is moral and wise, then feel free to apply your personal preferences.  Enjoy the freedom you have in Christ!

If God wants to give you a sign it will be unmistakable, but He isn’t obligated to do so and the occurrences are rare.  Oh, and the burden of proof is on those claiming revelation from God.

From Stand to Reason:

decision-making-and-the-will-of-god.jpg

From elsewhere on the Interwebs (sources unknown — these were Facebook memes).

hear from God

Parts of the Pachyderm

A favorite updated for your reading pleasure.  If you haven’t encountered the “parts of the elephant” argument yet, you probably will.  Even some people who claim the name of Christ use it to bolster their “all paths lead to God” mistake.

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Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason has an excellent piece called the Trouble with the Elephant.

The ancient fable of the blind men and the elephant is often used to illustrate the fact that every faith represents just one part of the larger truth about God. However, the attempt is doomed before it gets started.

In the story, multiple blind men feel different parts of an elephant and describe it in different ways.  Someone who is not blind then points out the truth to them.

The typical application of the story is that religious pluralism is true – i.e., we’re worshiping the same God in different ways.

A good question to ask anyone who repeats this parable is, “Where do you fit into the story?”  If he is one of the blind men, then why would he have anything to offer you?  If he claims to be the person with sight, then what are his qualifications that he understands this world and you don’t?

Note that the blind men are describing different parts of the elephant, but it is still an elephant.  But if one religion says God is personal and another says He is impersonal, then they can’t both be right.  You can’t be an elephant and not an elephant.  I wrote more on the irreconcilable differences in the essential truth claims of religions in Religious Pluralism is Intellectually Bankrupt.

In a sense, the whole story is self refuting.  While the principle message is that we can only know a certain piece about God, the message itself claims to have the big picture.

It also has a rather odd premise: The “real” religion would be to follow every religion.  That way you’d have the whole elephant.

The only way the parable would work is if the elephant described itself to the blind people – sort of the way the God reveals himself to us in the Bible.  As Koukl says:

If everyone truly is blind, then no one can know if he or anyone else is mistaken.  Only someone who knows the whole truth can identify another on the fringes of it.  In this story, only the king can do that–no one else.

The most ironic turn of all is that the parable of the six blind men and the elephant, to a great degree, is an accurate picture of reality.  It’s just been misapplied.

We are like blind men, fumbling around in the world searching for answers to life’s deepest questions.  From time to time, we seem to stumble upon some things that are true, but we’re often confused and mistaken, just as the blind men were.

How do I know this?  Because the King has spoken.  He is above, instructing us, advising us of our mistakes, and correcting our error.  The real question is:  Will we listen?

Remember that if the elephant illustration is true, then Christianity is false.  The Bible teaches 100+ times that Jesus is the only way to salvation.  This is an argument that no Christian should use.