The Pew Forum released their U.S. Religious Landscape survey this past week. ABC News gushed about the survey results on their nightly news cast. Who would have thought that 2/3 of the Protestants surveyed would have agreed that other religions can lead to eternal life? Anybody ever heard of John 14:6?
Planet 56 is our Sunday School class for fifth and sixth graders at Lufkin’s First Baptist Church. Our goal has been to teach the children about the providence of God and to develop a Christian world-and-life view. We are just finishing up our first year in Planet 56 using the Children Desiring God literature.
We took a few of the Pew Forum questions and devised our own survey. As luck would have it, we had an attendance of 20 today (our largest ever!) and 12 preteens took the survey (others were late and did not have time). We were surprised by some of the answers, and by the fact that the percentages were not that different from the Pew Forum’s nationwide results for Evangelicals. Now, please keep in mind that there could have been confusion in the questions (for both our survey and theirs!) and that our 12 is not a statistically valid sample. Nevertheless, here are their answers, but don’t take the results too seriously.
1. Do you agree that many religions (Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc) can lead to eternal life?
6 YES 6 NO
2. Do you agree there is only one true way to interpret the teachings of your religion?
6 YES 6 NO
3. Do you believe in God?
4. Do you believe God is a personal God or an impersonal force?
8 PERSONAL 0 IMPERSONAL 4 NOT SURE
5. Are you absolutely certain there is a God?
10 YES 2 NOT ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN
6. Do you believe in Heaven?
7. Do you believe in Hell?
11 YES 1 NO
8. Do you believe your religion conflicts with modern society?
5 YES 7 NO
9. Do you believe your religious values are threatened by Hollywood?
5 YES 7 NO
Does the 50/50 split on Question 1 mean we are not doing our jobs as Sunday School teachers? Parents? Also, I thought the brilliant young man sitting next to me had a great response to Question 9. He said that he voted “no” on that question because he wasn’t going to let Hollywood threaten his values.
I wish I could say the same.
Thanks to OldFart for letting me post the results on his blog.
From Matthew 7
13“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
15“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
What does this say to me? It basically and literally tells me that everyone who makes a profession of faith in Jesus Christ will not be going to Heaven. Why you may ask? Read what it plainly says in verse 14. “Only a few find it.” Then again in verse 21 it reads; “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Again, literally, I feel that this passage tells us that if we do not live each and every day according to the will of the Father, who is in heaven, then the likely-hood of verse 23 will easily come to fruition.
You may say something like, “But God is a forgiving God!” How can He forgive a continual carnal lifestyle? Is it judgmental of me to look at all the members of the church I attend and wonder how many will NOT enter the kingdom of heaven? The proof is in the pudding folks. Verses 15 through 20 explain very clearly those who will enter into the kingdom of heaven. I, sadly, am guilty also. “God help me!”
Is this passage controversial? NO!! Is my interpretation? Maybe.
What do you think?
Just this morning while cruising through all the internet news, I saw this regarding, well, uh, this:
How do you name someone “Most Powerful?” That is the first question I asked myself.
I am by no means any fan of Oprah. There are, I can imagine, many that are. Why? This is the same woman who told millions that Jesus Christ is not the only way to get to Heaven. See for yourself;
I cant help but cheer for the woman in the audience who “stuck to her guns” so to speak. I can imagine that she is no longer an Oprah fan.
I did not want to go off on an “Oprah” rant, but really just wanted to ask this question:
Who picks these people and determines their so called “power” and why? What is the point? I will be the first to admit, I once enjoyed seeing who was the “most popular”, or I guess the “most powerful.” I found it interesting to see the amount of money these folks made. Why? Did I want to pattern my life after their example? Did I hunger to make this type of living? the answer sadly is “Yes.” It was simple and easy to get “wrapped up” in this kind of lifestyle and want to pattern my life in a similar way. I had to learn a hard lesson. My final answer and the one I follow and try (failing mostly yet I am forgiven) to pattern my life after is now very simple.
Jesus Christ. Yep, the same Guy who said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6
Have you ever been trapped in this way? Are you guilty of following Oprah? Dr. Phil? Tom Cruise? Tiger Woods? The word “following” is easily defined in this case as “Worshipping.” That easily brings up another question:
Do you worship those who claim to worship God, yet take all the checks and cash to the bank the following day? Or do you worship God alone? This could get sticky…
It seems that there are many, many in the churches of our day who talk some of the Christian language but who know God only by hearsay.
Most of them have read some book about God. They have seen some reflection of the light of God. They may have heard some faint echo of the voice of God, but it seems their own personal knowledge of God is slight.
Many Christians are staking their reputations on church attendance, religious activity, social fellowship, sessions of singing-because in all of these things they are able to lean upon each other. They spend alot of time serving as religious “props” for one another in Christian circles!
Take a look at the example of Jesus. When He was here upon earth, the record shows that He had work to do and He also knew the necessity for activity as He preached and healed, taught and answered questions and blessed the people. He also knew the fellowship of His brethren, those who followed Him and loved Him.
Those were incidental things in Jesus’ life compared to His fellowship with and personal knowledge of the Father. When Jesus went into the mountain to pray and to wait on God all night, He was not alone, for He knew the conscious presence of the Father with Him!
Why is it that the professed Christian seems to have learned so little from our Lord’s plain teaching and example concerning human failure and success?
We are still seeing as men see and judging after the manner of man’s judgment. How much eager beaver religious work is done out of a carnal desire to make good? How many hours of prayer are wasted beseeching God to bless projects that are geared to the glorification of little men? How much sacred money is poured out upon men who, in spite of their tear-in-the-voice appeals, nevertheless seek only to make a fair show in the flesh?
The true Christian should turn away from all this. No man is worthy to succeed until he is willing to fail. No man is morally worthy of success in religious activities until he is willing that the honor of succeeding should go to another if God so wills.
God may allow His servant to succeed when He has disciplined him to a point where he does not need to succeed to be happy. The man who is elated by success and cast down by failure is still a carnal man.
God will allow His servant to succeed when he has learned that success does not make him dearer to God or more valuable in the total scheme of things.
Our great honor lies in being just what Jesus was and is. To be accepted by those who accept Him, rejected by all who reject Him, loved by those who love Him. What greater glory could come to any man?
Stay with this one. About eight minutes or so but well worth the time. Wow!!!