A Watered-Down Faith

I like cola. What I don’t like is when it is watered down. Go through the fast food drive-in and you can be blessed with a cup of ice flavored by a hint of soda. Unfortunately, the Church is suffering from the same malady when it comes to truth. A watered down faith is lukewarm and not worth the blood of Jesus poured out on Calvary’s cross.

This watered down Christianity has been illustrated in survey form from a couple of recent polls. One disturbing sampling has been collected about Christians and their views of who is going to heaven. In David Campbell’s, American Grace, How Religion Divides and Unites Us, he states that surveys taken of 3,000 Americans show that America’s people are very religious and “tolerant.” For instance, 83% of those who consider themselves evangelical Protestants agreed with the statement that good people of other religions can go to heaven. This increases to 90% when limited to black Protestants. When pushed further on the question, 54% agreed that those of other religions can go to heaven while 62% of black Protestants agreed. Obviously, the polling data fluctuation shows deep confusion among those who label themselves evangelical Protestants.

Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention has worked with those of other faiths on issues such as pornography, abortion, and religious persecution. Yet, he says that will not cause him to “abandon New Testament teaching.” The cause of this shocking poll, in Land’s view, is that universalism is taught in way too many pulpits and at too many seminaries. For those who don’t know, universalism is the tenet of faith that all people will be saved regardless of their relationship with Christ.

Another poll released by the Presbyterian Church (USA) demonstrates that only one in three Presbyterians surveyed believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation. 39% of members agree or strongly agree that “only followers of Jesus Christ can be saved.” Regrettably, only 35% of pastors agree or strongly agree. Elders seem to reflect a more traditional and biblical view than their pastors with 45% of them agreeing or strongly agreeing with Jesus being the only way to heaven.

The poll taken was not limited to the salvation question. It concluded, not surprisingly, that only one in 6 members and even fewer ministers believe the Bible is to be taken literally. Less than half of members stated that they had a conversion experience.

So what does the Bible say?

Jesus' statement, as recorded by the Apostle John in John 14:6, reads: “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father except by Me.”

Another passage states, “There isn’t salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).”

Still another states, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5 NKJV).”

While the evangelical community is divided on whether natural revelation is sufficient to save through Jesus’ shed blood and resurrection, the whole missionary enterprise is built on the premise as best stated in Romans 10:13-15:

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!’”

Therefore, let us continue to spread the Gospel message. We don’t need a watered down faith that drowns out the truth. It is by faith in Christ alone that we are saved. To water that down in any way is to put to risk millions of lives for whom Christ died and rose to save. To borrow from Martin Luther, “This is where I stand, I can do no other.”

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