Pastor Robert Jeffress, author of "Not All Roads Lead to Heaven" and host of the radio program "Pathway to Victory," recently shared his thoughts on the exclusivity of Christ, why today's definition of "tolerance" is killing religious freedom, and why the First Amendment is a key issue in the upcoming presidential election.
During a sit-down interview with The Gospel Herald in Nashville Tennessee, Jeffress revealed he wrote his latest book after a Pew Research Center study found that 58% of Evangelical Christians no longer believe that Jesus Christ is the only path to Heaven. The percentage of professing Christians who reject the exclusivity of Christ is surprising, as John 14:6 clearly quotes Jesus as stating, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
"I wrote this book to help Christians reclaim the foundational truth of our faith and know how to share this truth in a compassionate but compelling way," Jeffress said. "If Jesus was wrong, and Islam, Buddhism and other religions lead a person to God, then Jesus Christ could not have been the son of God...That means when he died on the cross, he didn't die for our sins -- he died for his sins. That means you and I are still in our sins. All of Christianity unravels like a cheap sweater if Jesus was wrong about this claim, that he is the only way to heaven."
Former Wheaton professor Larycia Hawkins made headlines after proclaiming that Muslims and Christians served the same God, a claim that resulted in the professor and institution parting ways. However, the incident sparked outrage across the United States from those who accused the Christian institution of being "intolerant."
Speaking to The Gospel Herald, Jeffress lamented that in today's cultural of political correctness, the exclusivity of Jesus Christ for salvation is Christianity's "most offensive belief."
"Today it is thought to be intolerant and hateful to tell Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists that their religions will lead them to hell and only Christ will lead them to heaven," he said. "But this is not a message of hate, it's a message of hope...We think we're being gracious and kind when we're opening it up to people that there may be another way to Heaven than through Jesus Christ. But in reality, if every other way is a dead-end road that leads to hell, it is very selfish for us not to share the only way to heaven. If we really hated Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus, we'd keep our mouths shut and never talk to them about Jesus. It's a sign of love to share with them the only way to safety."
1st Peter 3:15 reads, "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." Sadly, most Christians in today's world are unsure of how to respond when confronted with questions regarding the exclusivity of Christ.
To help believers understand how to respond when faced with difficult questions, "Not All Roads Lead to Heaven" succinctly answers three specific questions: "Can people be saved who have never heard of Christ? What about those who worship God by another name? Do children automatically go to Heaven when they die?"
"We need to be ready," Jeffress emphasized. "God left us here to share with other people the only way to Heaven, and we are on a search and rescue mission as Christians -- I think a lot of Christians have forgotten that. I believe Scripture is important, but you can't just quote Bible verses at people. You need a reasonable arguments like Paul used, you need vivid illustrations...You need to be able to package this message in an appealing way to people."
The pastor urged pastors to be bold in sharing Christianity's truth, and stressed the importance of religious freedom in the upcoming presidential election.
"As Republicans, we believe in the First Amendment, and that's the freedom of every American to practice his faith, or no faith at all," he said. "Tolerance is important. The problem is, we've changed the definition of tolerance. It used to mean 'I respect your right to be wrong.' In our country, people are free to be wrong about the way to God. But we've changed the idea of tolerance to mean 'All religions are equally valid, all truths are equally valid.' That's not true. There's only way to approach God. I believe in religious freedom, I believe we need to preserve religious freedom for everyone including Christians. Quite frankly, I'm looking for a presidential candidate who will commit himself to preserving religious freedom of Christians and all Americans."
You can buy "Not All Roads Lead to Heaven" here.