Skip to comments.All Roads Lead to Heaven? - Kathleen Parker Does Theology
Posted on 05/16/2010 12:40:30 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
What catches the attention of a columnist for The Washington Post? A recent column by Kathleen Parker indicates that theology has become a focus of national attention.
Kathleen Parker used her column in The Washington Post to take on Franklin Graham and his belief that belief in Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation.
Parker began her column with the fact that Franklin Graham prayed outside the Pentagon last week, rather than inside, having been disinvited by the Pentagon as the speaker for its scheduled National Day of Prayer service. Graham, you will remember, was disinvited because of statements he made about Islam - statements directly referenced by the Army spokesman as not appropriate.
Those statements made clear reference to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the only message of salvation, to Christ as the only Savior, and to Islam as an evil belief system that pulls millions away from faith in Christ and delivers no hope of salvation. In a later interview, Graham made his point about the uniqueness of the Christian Gospel, adding Hinduism as another example of a false religion.
All this was too much for Kathleen Parker, who asked: Oh well, it doesnt matter where one prays, right? All prayers lead to heaven. Or do they?
She took direct aim at Franklin Grahams theology, arguing that Grahams views didnt sit very well with secular Americans or even non-evangelical Christians. Well, probably not - and that serves to indicate what makes evangelical Christianity distinct from secular Americans and secularized Christianity.
But, Parker advised her readers, evangelicals are not likely to hold onto this belief for long. In her words:
Graham isnt alone in his views. A survey of 1,000 Protestant pastors, conducted by an evangelical polling firm, found that 47 percent agree that Islam is a very evil and a very wicked religion. But such opinions may be confined mostly to an older generation. Evangelicals under 30 believe that there are many ways to God, not just through Jesus.
In essence, Kathleen Parker was advising secular America that the distinctive evangelical belief in the necessity of belief in Christ for salvation has a generational expiration date stamped on it. She then cites research by David Campbell of Notre Dame and Robert Putman of Harvard indicating that nearly two-thirds of evangelicals under 35 believe non-Christians can go to heaven, vs. 39 percent of those over 65.
So, even as secular Americans are expected to recoil in horror at the idea that there are Christians who still believe that faith in Jesus is the only way of salvation, they are given the hope that the coming generation of younger evangelicals will abandon that conviction and follow the path set by liberal Protestantism. There are signs she may be right, but this would mean the surrender of the Gospel.
But Kathleen Parker is not finished with her argument. She then turns to Fingerprints of God, a recent book by Barbara Bradley Hagerty of National Public Radio. Hagerty cites neuroscience as giving evidence of a God spot in the brain that supposedly indicates that all religious beliefs are the same:
Her research led to some startling conclusions that have caused no small amount of Sturm und Drang among those who believe theirs is the one true way. She found that whether one is a Sikh, a Catholic nun, a Buddhist monk or a Sufi Muslim, the brain reacts to focused prayer and meditation much in the same way. The same parts light up and the same parts go dark during deep meditation.
Well, no Sturm und Drang here, Mrs. Parker. This neuroscience may tell us something about the operation of the brain, but it tells us nothing of theological importance. It might indicate that certain religious practices have similar effects in the brain, but it tells us nothing about which theological beliefs are true. The evidence from neuroscience is of interest in this respect only to those who believe that all religious experience is merely a reflection of biology - and if you believe this, you are not concerned about heaven or hell at all.
Kathleen Parkers column is indeed revealing. But the most revelatory aspect of her essay is its unmasked hostility toward any belief that there is only one way of salvation. This is the so-called scandal of particularity that causes so much secular offense. In recent years, the Roman Catholic Church has officially embraced forms of inclusivism in order to reduce this burden, and liberal Protestantism has embraced just about every relativistic alternative, from outright universalism to various forms of inclusivism, in which people are believed to be saved through Christ, but not through any conscious knowledge of Him. The universalists argue that all religions lead to the same truth. Inclusivists argue that all faiths eventually lead to Christ, even if He is not known. Both are repudiations of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The column by Kathleen Parker is yet another signpost of the current age and the worldview of the secularized classes. In their view, what evangelicals believe about the Gospel of Jesus Christ is just out of bounds and embarrassing.
But, she tells her readers, dont worry - younger evangelicals are going to put that belief far behind them.
Is she right?
-- R. Albert Mohler, Jr. is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.
Liberals believe in diversity as long as you believe just like them. The world only curses in the name of Jesus Christ. Think about it.
Liberals aren’t that big a puzzle. They just want power. And that’s why God’s such a problem for them. He’s the Power and they know it. And Jesus really hacks them off, because He took their form, and He’s so much better than them that they can’t even conceive it.
The old adage: if it gets in your way, kill it.
Dreadful stats, indeed.
From the parents I have talk to...it does seem to be financial reasons.
Negative. You talk to it, relate to it, hug it, pet it, and when it is most inattentive, then you kill it.
Heck, anyone can go to Heaven, even non-Christians - long as they believe in Jesus.
“God Spot”??????? From an NPR twit no less. Clearly these people are either completely whacked and scientifically illiterate, or they’ve been hitting the crack pipe big time. Aw... it’s probably both.
Aren’t these the same people that believe near death experiences are due to hypoxia or CO2 buildup.
REACTIVE ATTACHMENT DISORDER destroys individuals and the church.
IMHO, EVERY Christian parent should read:
ATTACHMENTS: WHY YOU LOVE, FEEL AND ACT THE WAY YOU DO
by Dr.s Tim Clinton and Gary Sibcy.
imho, there’s two basic reasons Christian parents lose their children to satan . . .
1. They do NOT live the Biblical Christian life about relationships before and with their children.
2. They provoke them to wrath contrary to Scripture and usually unnecessarily—usually over pride issues related to the parents’ own ATTACHMENT DISORDER junk.
3. They discipline—usually too harshly, rigidly, sternly WITHOUT SUFFICIENT RELATIONSHIP to support it. That WILL result in rebellion.
God have mercy.
Then when congregations are made up of parents who are dropping so many Biblical balls on relationship and Christian walk stuff in the normal life of the church—kids will normally say to themselves—if THAT’S what Christianity is—no thanks, that stinks.
And it too often does stink, horribly.
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
Case closed. If you believe that there are other ways to heaven than Jesus, then Jesus died in vain.
Several of the parents I have talked to as a youth leader fail to see what scripture teaches about the role they are to have as a parent. Most are more concerned with what kind of career their child will have instead of if the child loves God... they figure that will come later. They normally respond in horror when I make the statement “I don't care if my sons dig ditches the rest of their lives as long as they love God”.
As a culture we need to return to “BEING the church” instead of “DOING church”. As Americans we tend to separate out different parts of our lives from the other parts...but all parts of our lives add up to our lives and impact all parts of our lives.
Live for God
The odd thing is, I came to this thread today not using my usual browser.
As a result I didn’t know the bookmark labeled “Free Republic” would take me to this old post of mine ( http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1964353/posts?page=72#72 ) in a thread titled: “Jesus was an Iconoclast”.
Where that post dovetailed with your OP rather nicely was early on when I wrote: “But this isn’t an age of zealousness in the world. Rather it is an age of apostasy. Can one be too narrow? Certainly! But narrowness isn’t the big issue of the day: it is broadness. We live in a culture here in America, and even more so in other parts of the West, where simply be doctrinally straight is considered being narrow and dogmatic.”
There is a problem for that statement if taken at face value for it says that even the demons believe, and tremble even as they do so.
INDEED. VERY WELL PUT.
Demons aren’t people, they don’t have access to saving grace. They made their choice long ago and are stuck with it. However even the vilest human can receive forgiveness and eternal life just by asking for it (and really meaning it, of course). Osama bin Laden can be saved if he wants it, but Satan and his demons can’t.
I’m glad that your earlier post wasn’t “at face value” (because it did not make any point about what is required to receive redemption clear but seemed as if it could indicate that mere intellectual belief was sufficient ... thus my comment).
Aw come on! Katy saw All Dogs Go to Heaven. Twice!
All DOGS go to heaven because dog backwards spells God and there’s a little bit of God’s unconditional love in every dog.
[Even Pit Bulls, Chet99!]
Dog Whisperer? Is that you? I kinda like your show although I do think it gets a little sloppy sentimental over an animal.
I am no Dog Whisperer. I just know dogs and haven’t met one I didn’t like.
I’ve never even watched the show.
If I ever won the lottery I’d set up an animal rescue.