Tom:Thanks, Gary. You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him. Our first question—Dave, I’m jumping right in this time. People say, “Well, no more chitchat.” Let’s get right to the heart of it.
Dave: First question? Where did it come from? [Laughing]
Tom:Okay, here we go…. That’s okay, that’s okay. Yeah, it’s true, I don’t think we did it last week
Dave: This is out of a book that I wrote long ago, In Defense of the Faith, and these are questions that I’ve accumulated over the years, from—not friendly people—from critics.
Tom: And if people would like a copy of the book, Gary can tell them later in the program how they can order it from us—terrific book, In Defense of the Faith. We try to encourage—not just our listeners, but Dave, I know when you speak and I speak, especially to young people, to know what they believe and why.
Tom: It’s one thing to present the gospel, but sometimes you get questions, and we need to explain what the gospel is. It’s not all that difficult. The Lord had made it in such a way that even babes could receive it and understand what they need to know with regard to what Jesus did and only He could do, and He did perfectly. And it’s necessary, critical, no other way except through Him and what He has done, what He has accomplished.
Well, the first question…really a sort of—I’ve heard this many times, Dave, and it’s almost as though people think this way, and they’ve sort of gathered this in by osmosis. Here’s the question: “I find it very naive and objectionable that Christians claim that Christianity is the only true religion. Aren’t we all taking different roads to get to the same place?”
Dave: Actually, we don’t call Christianity a religion. Religion is man’s way—his ideas on how he’s going to get to God, what he does. Christianity is all about what Christ has done, and so it’s not a religion. You don’t practice various rites, rituals, sacraments, and things like that—although there are two sacraments in Christianity.
Tom: Well, we refer to them as ordinances.
Dave: Right, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, but they have nothing to do with your salvation. But religions are practiced in order to make points with God, to appease God, somehow make yourself worthy to get to heaven. So this is not a religion, it’s a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Anyway, just to straighten this questioner out on that particular point. We don’t say it’s the only “right religion.”
Tom: Well, really—and you’re probably going to get into this big time—there are only two ways to God: man’s way, as you have been talking about, and although there’s a diversity of ideas, many of them contradictory to one another, really, we have, as we said, God’s way and man’s way, and you have that choice.
Dave: Either God does it, or we do it, it’s that simple. Now, there is much that we are to do. The Bible for example, Paul writes, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you” It doesn’t say, “Work for your salvation,” but having been saved, then, in gratitude that you were given salvation, forgiveness of sins, as a free gift, then you live this out in your lives in the power of God, who works in us. But you’re not working for salvation.
It’s the difference between—let’s say—I have knocked on thousands of doors. I know Jehovah’s Witnesses go door to door, Mormons go door to door. I may have knocked on more doors than most Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons, many years ago. I did it not in order to earn my salvation but out of gratitude to the One who saved me by His grace and freely gave me salvation, and out of love for Him and for others—wanting others to know how they can receive this free gift of God’s grace as well. You have to believe. You can’t believe what you don’t understand.
So, we are all taking different roads to get to the same place? Tom, that passes as broad-mindedness with most people, I mean, it sounds broad-minded; we’re all taking different roads…
Tom: Very tolerant.
Dave: But wait a minute! To get to the same place? Now, what do you mean, the same place? Oh, you can take any road you want, but we’re all going to end up in the same place? That’s pretty narrow-minded! That is claiming that there is only one destination, and Jesus wasn’t that narrow-minded and dogmatic. He said there are two—heaven or hell—you take your pick. You go where you want to go. Now, if you want to go to heaven, you’re going to have to go God’s way—He’s the one who will get you there. Otherwise, you just aren’t going to make it.
Tom: And the objective of heaven—sometimes we forget about this—is to be with Him. If you want to be with Him, He tells you how you can be with Him, and you do what He requires.
Dave: Right. So, it’s not a matter of ritual or formality, appeasing God—you don’t appease God. It’s a matter of justice, justice. You can’t look to some church, you can’t look to an organization, you can’t look to some person who, guru or prophet or whoever. Joseph Smith claimed that you don’t get to heaven without his approval. You’d never find that in the Bible, and furthermore, if you know anything about Joseph Smith, and I don’t want to get off on that, he was a pretty miserable character—a liar, a false prophet, a crook, actually, a con man.
No, it’s a matter of justice, we have violated God’s laws. And, in fact, Paul raises the question in Romans chapter 3: How can God be just and yet justify sinners? See, God has a problem. The problem began in the Garden of Eden. He laid out something very simple, the easiest command He could give. What did they have the most of? Fruit. Fruit trees. There must have been thousands of acres, maybe miles and miles. I don’t know how big the Garden of Eden was, but God said, “You can eat of any tree in the garden you want, except one. Just don’t eat of that tree!” And some people think, Well, maybe it was an apple tree—that’s where “Adam’s apple” comes from, and then they choked on it, or whatever.
Tom: My computer has an apple with a bite taken out of it. Yow!
Dave: Right. I do not believe there was anything special about the fruit on that tree. I think it was just like the fruit on a maybe a hundred other trees, or maybe a thousand other trees. I don’t know what kind of fruit it was—apricot, apple, orange. But the point was, this is the tree that God said you are not supposed to eat of. You’ve got all the other ones.
Tom: So it was a condition of obedience.
Dave: Absolutely. Are you going to let God be God? Is He going to run the show? This is His universe, He created it. He created Adam and Eve. Now,are you going to let Him tell you why He made you?
Tom: Do you love Him enough to do what He says—to please Him in all things?
Tom: This was the condition.
Dave: But isn’t He smarter than we are? Here they find themselves, created—we don’t have time to talk about that, but evolution? Forget it, it is a joke! It’s worse than a joke; it’s a delusion, it’s a nightmare, it isn’t possible, it never happened!
Anyway, they find themselves in this garden, created by God. Where did they come from? Well, they didn’t create themselves, they didn’t create the garden, they didn’t create the world, they didn’t create the stars. This is God’s universe! Now, doesn’t He have the right to tell people what to do? Can’t He make the rules? But that’s the idea behind this question: “We’re all taking different roads; can’t we make up our own rules? Can’t we decide what path we’re going to take?” You know, the Bible says, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man (Proverbs:14:12), but the end thereof are the ways of death.” And, Isaiah:53:6, says, “All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way.”
And it says, “But Yahweh, Jehovah, God, has laid on him [that is, on Christ] the iniquity—the sins—of us all.
So, once we have sinned—and Adam and Eve sinned; they got thrown out of the garden; God is letting them know, “Look, you can’t be in My universe.” Is God going to tolerate rebels? They can’t obey the simplest command not to eat of that one tree! Well, what else, then, are they going to think up? What else are they going to do? In fact, that was why God scattered mankind in Genesis chapter 11 at the Tower of Babel. He said, “Whatever they imagine, they will be able to perform, and their imagination is evil.” Evil, because they do not want to acknowledge God as the one who makes the rules, as the one whom they must love and worship and obey. They want to do their own thing! We had a whole generation: “Do your own thing. If it feels good, do it!” And it doesn’t work!
Tom: Well, look where we are today.
Dave: It gets worse and worse. So, God has a problem. Adam and Eve have rebelled. Now, He said, “The day you eat thereof, you’re going to die.” He doesn’t want them to die! Dying—well, not just physical death, because He removed His Spirit from man—they lost the life from God that they had, and their bodies began to die, and they have gotten worse and worse, you know, we’ve got down to where we are today. Adam lived over 900 years. It took that long for sin to ruin his body—degenerate and bring death to his body—because he lived in a different atmosphere, different conditions, there wasn’t the pollution, and so forth.
Tom: And as you follow the patriarchs progressively, their life span is shorter and shorter.
Dave: Right. So, what’s God going to do? I guess I’ve said it often—you know, I’ve stayed in homes sometimes, and I’ve seen two-year-olds that ought to have an emperor’s crown. They run the show. You know what I’m talking about, Tom. Everybody is afraid of them. If you cross them, they’ll throw a tantrum. I’ve seen—the mother says to the little girl, the little boy, “You do that again, you’re going to get it!” They do it again—they don’t get anything! And, I’m sorry, we have raised a generation—well, we excuse them and we give them drugs—give them a little Ritalin, that’s their problem. They are hyperactive or whatever.
Tom: …which is speed.
Dave: Right. But we have raised a generation that thinks they are more important than anyone else. They don’t have to follow any rules; they can make them up as they go along; and we are reaping it in our universities, in our grammar schools, many people have said it. I remember when I was in school, the worst thing that might happen was somebody might shoot a spit wad, or they might crowd into line, or they might talk in line, chew gum, or run in the hall—oh, my goodness!
Tom: Now they have metal detectors, Dave. You can’t get in school without being strip searched…
Dave: Okay, so now God’s got a problem. What’s He going to do? He’s just going to say to Adam and Eve, “Well, that’s okay. I mean, that’s all right. There aren’t really any consequences. I mean, I was just bluffing when I said, ‘The day you eat thereof, you’re going to die. I don’t really mean that!”
So, there would be no rules. Man runs the show. He’s taken the universe away from God! And God doesn’t have any…Tom, I see it all the time. I was in the hospital, and, I probably mentioned this, but this nurse says, “Well, I can believe whatever I want.” Let me out of here! Give me back my clothes! Take that IV out of here! I mean, you can believe anything you want—you don’t have any rules here?
“Oh, well, of course, I mean, we have medical procedures.”
Oh, you’ve got medical procedures for taking care of the body, but when it comes to the soul and the spirit, and man’s eternal destiny, you think you can make it up as you go along? God doesn’t have any rules? Tom, it is so logical what I am saying and so irrational—we’re all taking different roads to get to the same place. We can just do whatever we want. Okay, so God’s got a problem. I’m sorry, jump in here, Tom, I’m talking too much.
Tom: No, Dave, I’ll turn the pages for you on this—keep going.
Dave: What’s God going to do? He’s not going to back off; then you couldn’t believe anything else He says. And we finally come to the point where, in the garden of Gethsemane, the Son of God is on His knees, weeping and asking the Father, “If there is any other way that man can be saved, don’t make me go through with this.” He was going to have to pay the penalty for our sins. There is no other way! Once you have broken the law, you can’t make up for it by keeping the law. That’s simple; anybody knows that, and yet, Tom, we’ve talked a bit about Islam on the program—it’s a big subject today. Muhammad said “The last day will not come until the Muslims confront the Jews and the Muslims destroy them. Even the rocks and the trees will cry out: Muslim, there’s a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him!”
But, “By the last day”—what do they mean? This is one of the 5 pillars of Islam—one of the things you must believe in the last day. It’s the Day of Judgment. It’s the day when the good deeds are weighed in the balance against the bad deeds, and if the good deeds outweigh the bad—we’ve talked about this many times, but it bears repeating because this is what people think—If the good deeds outweigh the bad deeds, you make it. There’s not a court of law in the world that would go by that rule. It isn’t rational, and it is not just. “I killed one guy last month, but I did save the lives of two people who were drowning yesterday. Surely, two lives saved would outweigh one person murdered.”
No, it doesn’t work like that. You get a parking ticket, even a parking ticket: “Oh, but wait a minute! I have put money in that meter more times than I have not doing it. Wouldn’t my good deeds outweigh my bad? It won’t work, okay? We know that!
So, the penalty must be paid. Paul raises the argument: “How can God be just, and yet justify sinners?” God’s got a problem. He’s got sinners on His hand. He loves them, He doesn’t want to punish us, He doesn’t want us to be banished from His universe forever, but what’s He going to do? He’s going to have to, somehow, provide a way of salvation. The penalty that He has pronounced has to be paid, and we can’t pay it, and God himself, the Son of God, one with the Father, came to this earth, became a man, laid aside His glory—didn’t cease to be God, will never cease to be man, the one and only God man—and because of who He is, what He did—He didn’t just die on the Cross, they didn’t just drive nails in His hands and feet, that’s not going to save anybody. As He hung on the Cross, He took the penalty that His own infinite justice required for our sins. And, if He didn’t do that, there is no salvation.
And we know that nobody else did it. We know Buddha didn’t claim to do that; Muhammad didn’t claim to do that. Muhammad was a sinner. A number of times in the Qur’an, Muhammad is commanded to confess his sins. Now, how is Allah going to forgive Muslims? He can’t, because nobody paid the penalty. So he’s going to weigh the good deeds against the bad deeds, and it won’t work! But the Bible teaches us that God himself paid the penalty. In fact, all through the Old Testament, Yahweh, Jehovah, says, “I am the only savior.” If man is going to be saved, God has to do it.
And Isaiah:9:6,7: “For unto us a child is born”— that’s the babe born in Bethlehem—“unto us a son is given”—that’s the eternal Son of God—“the government will be upon his shoulders,” so he must be the Messiah. “His name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father.” So when Jesus said, “I and my Father are One,” it’s exactly what the Bible teaches. And if Jesus is not God, He can’t be our savior. So, why can’t we just take different roads to get to the same place? It’s not going to work, folks!
Tom: But Dave, there’s a mentality out there, and whether you would call them liberals or whatever, these people are saying— or thinking, at least—that either all religions are just a bad joke, or religions—yeah, there’s truth in this, and truth in that, and they sort of have a mixing pot of all different perspectives. Not being thoughtful, not being discerning with regard to each one, but just sort of lumping them all together. And, I want to pick up on another point, and that is if they are thinking that these religions—they’re just a joke; nobody is going to buy it, nobody really believes it, nobody really lives up to what their religion teaches—that’s why we have a problem with Islam. The mentality out there—for our listeners, we are offering a book called, The Sword of the Prophet, written by Serge Trifkovic. Now one of the things he points out in the book is that---
Dave: By the way, Tom, his subtitle is: A Politically Incorrect Guide To Islam.
Tom: But what he is saying is that if we don’t understand it or people who take their religious perspective, their religious teachings seriously, and they are different, and they are clearly different, and in terms of reconciling them, we are all taking different roads to get to the same place? No way! They have specific objectives and they are exclusive. Dave, my point is that if we have this concept that all religions are the same, and they are basically taking different ways, they are utilizing different means or ideas or teachings, but they are going to get to the same place, then we are not going to take religion seriously. Because what is the difference—Que sera, sera— whatever will be will be, and in particular, Islam offers some very dangerous things that we are not going to take seriously.
Dave: Well, Tom, it’s very simple. We have very little time left, but go back to what we said: God created the universe. This is His show. Are we going to follow Him? So, as you said, we are trivializing truth when you say, well, you can take any road you want. Does God have anything to say about it? We had better find out what He has to say about it. It’s not up to men. You can sit around and argue theological ideas. Where does theology come from? Well, unless it comes from the Bible, it’s human ideas. Where does religion come from? They made it up. They’ve got this church, that church, this cult, that one. Well, I don’t want to follow some man. We had better find out, before we take this step into eternity, what God has to say.
Now, the Muslim, he’s going to convince you by threatening to kill you. You either confess there is no God but Allah, Muhammad is his prophet or off with your head! They are doing this today in Indonesia, Nigeria, and so forth. Well, wait a minute! Just because somebody has a sword at my throat doesn’t mean that he is right. So, we’ve got to get back to what God has said. We’re going to face Him in judgment one day. Never mind what the pope says or Billy Graham or anyone else. If they are not saying what God says, they are not passing on what God says, then you had better not follow them. Let’s get back to the Bible. Search the Scriptures daily—find out what the Bible has said, and it is logical. Truth is logical! There is nothing else that makes sense. We’re going to have to trust Him. He offers salvation—Christ paid for it at an infinite cost. He offers it to us as a free gift. You either take that, or you take your own way and you know the difference.