If good intentions could pose no danger, most countries wouldn’t have banned leaded gasoline. Sure, engine knock was eliminated when lead was added to gas, but it was also a poisonous impurity that polluted the air. Fortunately, most vehicles are back to using unleaded gas. I wish the same could be said for unaltered doctrine in churches. Impurities are being introduced to solve what seems to be the problem of exclusiveness, but these doctrines are poisoning souls. In my last post about Deception I criticized Billy Graham for promoting the interfaith heresy. I didn’t mean that as a personal attack, lest anyone get the wrong idea. It’s just something that needed to be pointed out. Graham may have been well-intentioned, but his message deceived people nonetheless.
The manner in which I speak to adherents of false doctrine is determined by their intentions. If I had to speak to a member of ISIS, for example, I would likely have some harsh things to say. Members of this terrorist group may truly believe their version of God wants them to torture and kill people, but they’ve got hatred in their hearts and they enjoy causing misery. Most Muslims, however, are nothing like that and I’ve met some who are really nice. So they have my utmost respect. I have the same respect for atheists. Their denial of God doesn’t mean they go around doing bad things just because they don’t believe they’ll have to answer for it in the afterlife. To accuse them of that would be as ignorant as the argument some atheists use about Christians doing good only because they believe they’ll be rewarded for it in the afterlife.
Well-intentioned non-Christians deserve the same respect they show others, but their good intentions alone will not get them into Heaven. Billy Graham outright contradicted the Bible when saying Muslims, atheists and other non-Christians are members of the body of Christ. That’s not what a Christian says. When people are trying to do what’s right but aren’t completely there, Christians lead them in the right direction by telling them the truth. That’s what the early Christians did for Jews who didn’t yet know their God had come to the Earth as a Man and died to start the New Covenant. When Paul and Barnabas were rejected by a group of Jews (Acts 13:42-45), they told them, “It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing you put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” (Acts 13:46)
Whether they preached to Jews or Gentiles, the early Christians shared the Gospel with anyone who would listen. They even told Apollos, a Jew who was dedicated to living for God, about the Gospel instead of leaving him in the dark (Acts 18:24-28). The only thing he was missing out on was the complete revelation of the Gospel message, so two Christians “expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly” (v. 26). There would have been no point if any belief would do. To quote a portion of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” (I Cor. 15:1, 2) The preaching the apostles did in the first century would have been in vain if people could be saved by any message other than the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Copyright © 2018