By Tim Callahan
“Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
I had never met an Archbishop, much less heard him speak. At Grace Church Waccamaw (Pawleys Island, S.C.) in February, I had the privilege of both.
I attended Denver Seminary and graduated from Regent University so I was eagerly awaiting the deep theological depths only an archbishop could mine (i.e., dig deep).
“Jesus is the message,” Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini said.
Yeah, I thought, He is. Man, I can’t want until he blasts past this and gets to some spiritual meat.
“Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.”
Amen. Brother, preach it.
And, He did. A simpler message than Billy Graham used to preach.
What? Spiritual milk? Then it hit me. You know what? We really don’t preach this message often enough in America for fear of being called intolerant, judgmental or narrow minded.
Archbishop Kolini wasn’t afraid.
“Jesus is the way, the only way to heaven,” he said. “Jesus said, ‘No one comes to the Father except through me.’”
The “way” is a direction, the Archbishop said. Jesus is the way.
The “truth” is Jesus is the only way to heaven, he said, and Jesus changing hearts is the only way to really change things for good here on Earth - like preventing the genocide that went on in Rwanda in the 1990s. Changes in government or regimes do not change man’s sin nature, Kolini said.
The “life” is eternal, for those who repent and believe in Jesus Christ as God and man, dying for their sins and rising from the dead, awaiting His return to judge the living and the dead. The ultimate judgment is where we will spend eternity and, according to Ephesians 2:8, it is based on faith not works: “God saved you by his special favor when you believed. And you can’t take credit from this; it is a gift from God.”
That was essentially the Archbishop’s message. The same gospel Paul preached. The same gospel Christians should be preaching but often don’t because they fear rejection.
The “way” is the stumbling block that gets non-Christians in an uproar. The argument might go like this: “Who are you, Mr. Archbishop, to tell me there is only one way to heaven? Who made you God? How do you know it all? And, what makes you think you can judge me?”
The Archbishop didn’t say it, Jesus Christ did.
Jesus is thought of by some as a good moral teacher. But, what moral teacher in his right mind would say he is the way to heaven?
Readers of the Bible can’t separate all the good moral guidelines from the fact Jesus said other things, things that only a lunatic - or God - would say. Things like, “I am the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through me.” Or, the John 3:16 quote we are all so familiar with: “For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”
This is either straight talk from God, or rambling from a guy who needs a straight jacket. There are no other options.
So, if God said it, then is the Archbishop helping you or hurting you by passing that information along? Wouldn’t you want someone to tell you about Jesus, if your eternal destiny depended on it? What shows real love, agreeing with you on religion so you will like me, or disagreeing and sharing that the God of the universe can save you from hell and give you an abundant life.
No one says, even God doesn’t say, that you have to believe it. God gives everyone a choice; it’s called free will.
I have a suggestion. Read the gospel of John (at least read Chapters 1-3), ask God to reveal if what you are reading is true, and talk to a minister or a Christian friend.
It may be the best thing you have ever done in your life, and pave the way to the truth and the life.
(Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.)
Copyright © 2012 by Tim Callahan
Defenders of the Faith
By Tim Callahan