Skip to main content

American Christianity vs. God’s Christianity?

Such is the undercurrent of a very telling article written on the USA Today website in which the specter of the exclusivist “evangelical” Christianity movement is suspiciously evaluated within the context of big time American sports. To be sure, the author is clearly not being objective in his representation. Despite his “credentials” as a presumably objective journalist, the fact of the matter is that Jesus’ claim that "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NIV) leaves no room for objectivity. Either you believe what Jesus says or you don’t. Of course you could try to avoid having to choose by “believing” that Jesus never uttered this declaration. However, at least for the USA Today writer, he decides not to try to be evasive or "clever" on the issue. He clearly feels that if Jesus made the statement, then He must have been wrong. The author writes:

These sports stars, like all Americans, have a right to express their faith. Evangelical players and ministry representatives in sports aren't out to harm anyone, of course. On the contrary, they see themselves as fulfilling the Bible's Great Commission ("Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," Matthew 28:19). In this sense, their mission is pure altruism: They seek to share the gift of eternal life…But there's a shadow side to this. If their take on God and truth and life is the only right one — which their creed boldly states — everyone else is wrong...It's not just non-Christians who might have a thing or two to say about this exclusive theology. According to a December 2008 survey by the Pew Forum on Religion in Public Life, 65% of American Christians believe that many religions can lead to eternal life. Our pluralism is a defining and positive reality of American life — but not one that is much valued by those who define the faith coursing through the veins of sports culture.

Look, as I stated in my opening paragraph, we all have a choice on Jesus’ declaration in John 14:6; the reasonable options are:

a) Jesus was lying in John 14:6

b) Jesus never said what was claimed that He said in John 14:6

c) Jesus said what He said in John14:6 but He was ultimately wrong

d) Jesus made the statement in John 14:6 and it is the Truth

If you select option (a), you have no other credible person or source in human history who would agree with you that Jesus Christ ever lied. If you select option (b) you have no other credible person or source in human history that claims that Jesus never made the statement. If you select option (c) you’ll likely find no other credible person or source in human history who will agree with you that Jesus ever said or did anything wrong.

Many sports athletes believe option (d); I happen to also believe option (d). However, among the many great things about God is that He gave us all free will. We are free to choose whether we believe John 14: 6 or not. We can even choose to believe that we do not want to “come to the Father” as Jesus puts it. For those who die and end up anywhere else but heaven, Jesus made it certain that they would have chosen to go there. Christians are also choosing to be theoretically wrong on our choice. Exclusive claims go either way. Either you are right or you are wrong. I have yet to hear a non believer of Christ's claim in John 14:6 say they are ready to be wrong on this issue the moment after dying when that choice is irreversible.

To be clear, believing that Jesus is the only way to the Father does not make a person perfect. Christians are certainly far from perfect. It is a stick via which many non-believers beat Christianity over the head by pointing to our sometimes lousy example of Christ. This is a problem not because it legitimizes the argument made by those in opposition to Christ’s message, but because it hinders many others from being open to receiving Jesus’ free gift of salvation (free to us but certainly not to Him). Jesus said to Christians: You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16 NIV) I’ll say this to every reader who may not yet be a follower of Jesus the Christ. Don’t let the poor example of some Christians stop you from choosing Jesus for your life. Choose Jesus because He alone is worthy. He alone is perfection, and it is His perfection that substitutes for your sins and allows you access back to God in Heaven. That is why Jesus said: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NIV). You will be granted access back to God through Christ alone. Not through the many theories of fallible, weak human beings.


LisaShaw said…
You forgot (e) which is those who believe that Jesus said it, don't dispute that it may be truth BUT feel that it doesn't apply to them as they believe that whomever you want to call "God" is your access to heaven or what some call paradise.

It's all a part of the deception of satan.

I pray that as the Holy Spirit removed the scales from our eyes that we could see our sinfulness and our need for JESUS Christ, so do I pray that for all.

Your last statement says it all for me, "You will be granted access back to God through Christ alone. Not through the many theories of fallible, weak human beings."

Thank you for your passion for Christ and others in HIS Name.
Michelle said…
Hi Peter,

May God bless you for boldly and plainly stating the truth in these days of compromise. I recently was "defriended" on facebook by an old highschool friend as soon as she found out I was a conservative Christian. I also have been snubbed(I think)by a fellow blogger friend who is a liberal Christian. It is very difficult to speak exactly what you believe in this world because so many people get offended. I try to say things in a polite, loving way, but I think they are offended more by what I say than how I say it. The more narrow the road you walk on is...the less company you will have I guess.

I am encouraged by your blog posts and look forward to reading them!
Merry Christmas and God bless!

Popular posts from this blog

Funerals for the Unsaved or Unbelievers

I am not a leader of a church, but I oftentimes wonder how does one lead a funeral service for someone who dies without knowing Jesus Christ as Lord? Admittedly I have not been to many funerals in my lifetime, though they are appearing to come more frequently lately, but the fact is that funerals are held daily throughout the world and as such this is a pertinent question to someone just about every day.

I’ve been to the funeral where the person lived a fairly routine life, taking care of their families and other responsibilities as best they could, paying taxes and doing the average things that we as human beings do on a consistent basis. They however had no visible relationship with God through His son Jesus Christ. When this person dies, the surviving family members are oftentimes left scrambling trying to find a person and a place to officiate the funeral services – generally because the deceased did not have a regular church that they attended. Funeral homes sometimes serve this f…

Scripture: Are You a Wheat or Weed?

(Matthew 23: 24-30 NIV): Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ ‘‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

(Matthew 23: 36-43 NIV): Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” He answered, “The…

Hal Lindsay off TBN

Christian author and broadcaster Hal Lindsay removed his weekly Christian television news broadcast "The International Intelligence Briefing" from the programming lineup on The Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) after network officials notified him that his shows would now be subject to pre-screening for censorship prior to broadcast approval. This unusual step was the result of TBN’s disapproval of a Lindsay broadcast in December 2005, which the network said was too inflammatory towards Muslims.

I have reviewed the transcript of Mr. Lindsay's broadcast and I find nothing in it’s content that is not backed up by God’s scripture, nor did I find anything that would be considered overly zealous or purposefully sensational with respect to potential attacks on Muslims. To the extent that TBN, one of the most widely available Christian TV networks would take this position is quite incredulous. One of the reasons for the need for ‘Christian’ TV networks is to enable the presenta…