I cannot imagine why someone would dedicate himself to a religion that provides just one of many equally valid paths to salvation. That’s why I was taken aback by my old friend Neal Boortz’ somewhat harsh treatment of a man who called his show some months ago and quoted John 14:6 as evidence that Christianity is the only path to heaven.
Of course, Neal isn’t a pastor and he tends to do things just to get a rise out of people. So his comments weren’t nearly as objectionable as Joel Osteen’s sidestepping of the “How many paths to heaven?” question on Larry King Live a few years ago.
For those who missed it, Joel was asked by Larry whether people had to know Jesus in order to get to heaven. But, for some reason, Joel couldn’t bring himself to provide the simple answer found in John 14:6. It reads as follows in the NASB translation: “Jesus said to him (Thomas), ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.’”
Just in case there are any millionaire pastors out there pretending not to get it (because it may hurt their book sales), the point is also made in John 10:7-9: “So Jesus said to them again, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.’”
Just in case anyone read the previous passage as saying, in effect, “I am one of many doors,” Matthew 7:13-14 is instructive: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
Joel Osteen’s reply to Larry King’s question about Jewish salvation should have been addressed with a reference to the Parable of the Great Supper found in Luke 14:15-24. After rejecting Christ, Israel was shut out of the banquet. Many of those invited were killed in A.D. 70, the year the Temple fell. Luke 14:24 sums it all up (prophetically) in a single sentence: “For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste of my dinner.”
And, finally, even the wealthiest of men aspiring to be a man of God (and multi-millionaire best-selling author) cannot possibly be confused after reading Acts 4:12: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”