In an April 18, 2011 article titled “What Americans Believe About Universalism and Pluralism,” the Barna Group released the results of a recent survey about this subject. Universalism is the belief that everyone will eventually be saved and go to heaven after they die. Pluralism is the belief that all religions are equally acceptable and valid before God. The article contains a lot of interesting information but one sentence stands out in particular and is an indicator of the type of culture we are becoming: “One-quarter of born again Christians said that all people are eventually saved or accepted by God (25%) and that it doesn’t matter what religious faith you follow because they all teach the same lessons (26%).”
If these statistics are even remotely close, then roughly 25% of all the people you see in church this Easter Sunday don’t really believe that Jesus Christ is the exclusive path to eternal life. If universalism is true, then it doesn’t really matter what we believe in this life, does it? Everything will work out in the end. If pluralism is true, then what was the point of the cross? Both of these viewpoints make Jesus Christ out to be one of the most foolish men who ever walked the earth. Why die a horrific, torturous death nailed to a piece of wood, suffering in agony if the sacrifice wasn’t really necessary?
Universalism and pluralism stand in stark contrast to the Biblical claim that the cross was both eternally necessary and the exclusive provision of God’s salvation. The death of Jesus Christ was either the complete payment for the sins of all mankind or it wasn’t. If there are other valid means to eternal life, then the Bible is full of untruths or at best is a story about misguided individuals who trusted in Someone enough to unnecessarily lay down their lives for what they believed was the truth.
(Act 4:12) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
(1Corinthians 1:18) “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”
I don’t know about you, but I’ll side with the claims of the Bible on this one. This Sunday when I sit in church focusing on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I’ll know why I am there. There is no ambiguity in truly worshipping a Savior who claimed to be God and claimed that “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) There is no other way to appreciate the abounding grace of God. This is what gives purpose to this Sunday and every other Sunday. Better yet, this is what gives purpose to life itself.