I was fielding some good questions from co-workers today like — “If
all roads don’t lead to God, then how do you know which one is right? I
know many people from different religions that seem very happy and
fulfilled from their faith. It’s not fair that God will send people to
hell if they’re wrong on this piece of doctrine, but very sincere about
Second, if a co-worker who believes in Judaism blatantly asked you if I
thought he would go to hell right know if he died, how would you respond?
I tried telling him that God will make that judgment, he wouldn’t let me
off the hook cause he wanted “my” opinion…
Also, another co-worker believes in God, but not in heaven or hell. Is
attempting to show the Bible as the inspired word of God the best way to
approach this belief.
It sounds like you are out there doing what you should be
doing–sharing your faith and getting people to think about God. It is
just a matter of time before your efforts will produce fruit. I guarantee
it! (Galatians 6:9).
I would challenge people with what may seem obvious to us, but
not to much of the world. Two diametrically opposed claims cannot both be
simultaneously true. If Venezuelais in South America, then it cannot also
be in Asia. One person may claim that Venezuelais in SA, another may
claim that it is in Asia. Either one or both of them absolutely must be
wrong. If one looks at the theology of Hinduism, Buddhism Islam or etc.,
if any of these are true, then Jesus is a liar and a hoax. If Jesus was
who he said he was, then these religious movements absolutely cannot be of
God. You cannot have it both ways. In general it is extremely difficult
to convince those who are of the “all roads lead to heaven” philosophy of
this clear truth, but I believe with patience and careful instruction, at
the right moment, you may be able to help your friends see this point. I
would say the key is to simply point them toward Jesus. Simply ask them
to read the gospel of John on their own and to get together with you to
consider what it says. I believe that the first chapter in my book
“Reasons for Belief: A Handbook of Christian Evidences” may be very
helpful in this study with your friend. If you do not have a copy, you
can get it at www.greatcommission.com.
I have been in the exact situation you describe a couple of
times (although the religion of the person confronting me and demanding an
opinion was different). I agree with your strategy of attempting not to
personally judge people. However, if someone confronts you face to face,
I believe you are required to be honest and let God do the work. When in
this situation, I have simply said that, “based on my understanding of
what the Bible says, I would be forced to conclude that you are lost.
However, I urge you to check it out for yourself in the Bible so that you
can reach your own conclusion.” What else can you do?
You hit the nail on the head. The key to belief in heaven or
hell is not grandma’s opinion. It is not some preacher or anyone else.
The only legitimate reason I know of to believe in heaven or hell is
because they are promised in the Bible. Your job is to encouragingly
challenge your friends to be open minded enough to read the Bible. I
would also consider giving him or her a Christian evidences book if they
are particularly intellectually oriented. The one I mentioned above is my
recommendation, but then again, I wrote it, so I may be biased.
John Oakes, PhD