Who Do the Crowds Say I Am

"Who Do the Crowds Say I Am?"- Luke 9:18 ISV

The Gospels record Jesus' declaration that He is "the way, the truth and the life" and "no one comes to the Father but by Him. This absolute statement shows that knowing Jesus is essential for finding God. Therefore, in seeking the Father, one should be sure to follow Jesus, and not a false Christ.But, is it possible to be deceived? Jesus warned His disciples that this is not only possible, but certain and asked them to watch because "many will come in [His] name. "Paul also warns about accepting "another Jesus"..." or another gospel". By cautioning about avoiding deception, both Jesus and Paul implied that there is a truth, which is absolute and can be known. This also implies that truth is out of the reach of those who would try to pervert it.

Thus, being deceived involves avoidance or lack of interest in the truth, which is a mark of our generation. The relativity of truth is not a new theory. But, like never before, it is widely preached and accepted that truth is subjective and depends on one's interpretation, and experience. In the absence of absolute, the Bible is paraphrased and reinterpreted, and its authority is obscured and replaced by "doctrines of men". Pastors preaching "the whole counsel of God" are in minority, and are by far outnumbered by those preaching a user- friendly Gospel. But, can they say like Paul that they have their hands clean from the blood of all men? The fear of God and His holiness are seldom mentioned in Churches, being replaced by preaching about God's love for the sinner, without mentioning the need for repentance and regeneration.

In today's theology, the way to heaven is ensured by "raising hands when no one is looking", or by repeating a prayer in haste with little, or no follow up. As a result, Jesus' cross loses its centrality and becomes unnecessary. Indeed, why would Jesus need to die, if sin does not matter to God anymore? Some Emergent Church leaders even consider that those insisting on Jesus' cross are missing the whole point, as this portrays "a vengeful father punishing his son for an offense he has not even committed"[1]

Hell is almost never mentioned being considered outdated theology, or is presented as “a state, rather than a place” Rob Bell says that talking about hell is “misguided and toxic and … subverts …Jesus’ message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear." This is completely contrary to Scriptures. Paul considered the cross as fundamental and defined the Gospel as Christ having to die on the cross for our sins, not only as the message of God's love. As for hell, Jesus said it is a place where both soul and body are destroyed and not just a "state of being"

However, if Jesus is the only way to the Father, and if one can be saved only by calling "upon the name of the Lord [Jesus]" and if they cannot "call on him in whom they have not believed...and believe in him of whom they have not heard", because the Gospel is not preached, and this new Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible, then, are the people raising their hand saved?

And, who is responsible for delivering a message that has nothing to do with the cross, and by which nobody can be saved? Of what are they saved if there is no sin, nor hell?

Is it possible that this "broad-minded and nonjudgmental" Jesus is the "false Christ" of whom both Jesus and Peter warned the disciples? Is the god to whom this Christ leads, God the Father, holy and separate from sinner by a gap which cannot be bridged but by the cross of Jesus? The answer is obviously, no. This broad-minded Christ looks more like the Christ of New Age, which is just "a 'Master' among 'Masters, [5] Using the name of Jesus, while presenting a completely different person than that presented by the Scriptures is misleading the uninformed and naive "Christians". No wonder Revelation 3 depicts Jesus at the door of His Church pleading for "someone" to open so He can enter in.

This is distressing, but God knew it will happen. Jesus said the way leading to life is narrow and only a few will find it. Nevertheless, as long as it is still "today", the Holy Spirit is available to give wisdom in finding the way to God, which is Jesus.
The challenge for the faithful is to keep informed and understand the Christ presented by other religions. This is crucial because Jesus is not the final destination, but the way to the Father. Unless we follow the real Jesus, we have no guarantee of finding The Truth leading to Life with the Father. The wonderful news is that God built the truth about Himself within Scriptures. Therefore, every person who is willing is also able to find the way to Him through Jesus.

The real Jesus can be found only within Scriptures.
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[1] "Emerging Church - Conversation Versus...: Doctrine." Apologetics Index. Apologetics Index, n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2014.
[2] "Heaven, Hell and Purgatory." Heaven, Hell and Purgatory. Eternal Word Television Network, n.d. Web. 1 Nov. 2014.
[3] Ibidem
[4] Rhodes, Ron. "Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries." The Christ of the New Age Movement—Part 1 in a Two-Part Series on New Age Christology. N.p., 2013. Web. 04 Oct. 2014.
[5] Ibidem "To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called 'hell'" (n. 1033).

Monica Lemons