As I enter into my final week here in Olongapo City, I am pondering the many, many ways people come to Christ. It has awed me, encouraged me, and humbled me. Sometimes I think my personal theology and knowledge of the Bible says to the other: "You can't have come to Christ THAT way. It's not Scriptural."
John 14:6 is clear when Jesus says: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
So let me explain: I do believe that Jesus the Christ, Yeshua of Nazareth, this Jew of old, is the One and Only way to a saving relationship with God the Father — redeemed and reconciled and beloved. However, Jesus being the infinite God that He is as well as man, I also believe He has created innumberable ways for humanity to come to Him first.
Take for example my story: born and raised in a Christian home, but quite literally scared into salvation at Bible camp where the counselors and teachers spoke of nothing but repentance from sin, hell, Judgment Day, and the Great White Throne all week. They put up overheads of what the devil looked like, what the flames of hell looked like, and told us how hot hell was. I never once raced to the front at any of the altar calls. I was too frightened. All I remember was each night lying in my bunk was begging a 'loving' God to not send me to hell. Please, Jesus, no! Don't ever let me go! It was a week where I firmly believe spirits of fear, deception and bondage began. For all you camp counselors out there, a week of this type of evangelism for anyone, let alone 8-10 year olds, is something I highly recommend you stay away from.
I don't agree with "The Sinner's Prayer" — poof! You're saved! That's it! Fire insurance… easy faith sometimes it seems. Yet who am I to question God and how he saves? Dare I forget the thief on the cross?
I am unsure of the upsurge in a return to joyless legalism where repentance from sin and the destruction of pride are so over-emphasized that people run away in fear. Not just fear of God, but total fear of being unloved. Yet perhaps there are those prideful people who need to understand a bit more the situation they really are in.This kind of "splitting" the Gospel to force people to see only but a few aspects of what the Gospel really is or who God really is sticks my gut like rot, but I need to be the one to stand back and try to understand.
Unbelievers speaking prophetic words (hey… remember Balaam's Ass)
Some would say "Phfffft" to these things as they "don't happen anymore", or "remove responsibility from th Christian who ought to be evangelizing".
No they don't.
Limit God, we say?
Who are we to dare suggest such things?
I've met people who have had visions of Jesus while on meth highs and their lives have been turned around; others were in the middle of trying to commit suicide and suddenly, there He was; still others have been in the middle of practicing other religions or spiritualities and events, dreams, prophetic words suddenly intervene and all point to Jesus — the Jesus who points to Yaweh. The Jesus who points to Himself.
So yeah… there is One Way to God.
But before sneering at another's testimony, take a good long think at the lengths to which God went for us to have a relationship with Him. It's His world after all.
… maybe my view of how people should come to Christ is what's stopping bursting the kingdom wide open.