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Is Jesus the only way to heaven? | POD 025

Is Jesus the only way to heaven? | POD 025

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HOSTS & GUESTS

Dr. Harold Netland – Guest

Bill Gorman – Host

 

Show Notes

Is Jesus the only way to heaven?
The exclusivity of Jesus

If Jesus is unequivocally the sole means to salvation and communion with God, how do we grapple with the predicament of individuals who have never encountered the message of Jesus, or those who consciously reject him despite being presented with his teachings? Is Jesus the only way to heaven? In this episode host Bill Gorman and our guest, Dr. Harold Netland, explore the complexities of the mission of the church, the exclusivity of Jesus, and concerns surrounding the fate of those who have not heard the gospel. The conversation covers key New Testament passages, personal experiences, and foundational principles in scripture, diving into the heart of theological and practical challenges faced by believers today. Tune in as they discuss the transformative power of the gospel, the nature of personal salvation, and the profound mission of making disciples.

 

THREE KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • The Exclusive Nature of Jesus: Dr. Netland and the host discuss the exclusivity of Jesus as the only way to salvation and the challenges this presents in different cultural contexts. The conversation highlights biblical passages and principles that support this belief that Jesus is the only way to heaven.
  • Mission and Discipleship: The importance of making disciples and participating in the work of the Spirit, regardless of cultural or geographical barriers, is emphasized. The episode calls attention to the diverse paths individuals may take in encountering faith and stresses the significance of disciple-making mission.
  • Scriptural Principles and Foundational Truths: The discussion navigates complex questions about heaven, salvation, justice, and fairness through the lens of scriptural principles. Dr. Netland emphasizes the need to focus on what is clearly and consistently taught through scripture, grounding the conversation in foundational biblical truths.

#ExclusiveJesus #DiscipleMakingMission #SalvationDebate #GlobalGospel #GodsLoveAndJudgment #EvangelicalTheology #TheologicalClarity #NewBirthTransformation #PersonalFaithJourneys #ClarityInScripture #theonlyway #Jesus #heavenisreal

 

RESOURCES:

Crucial Questions About Hell   |   JI Packer

Four Views on Salvation in a Pluralistic World  |   Various

Are All Religions True?   |   Dr. Harold A Netland

Faiths in Conflict? Christian Integrity in a Multicultural World  |   Vinoth Ramachandra

 

GUEST BIOS:

Dr. Harold A. Netland completed his undergraduate studies at Biola University and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University. Following nine years with the Evangelical Free Church of America in Japan, he returned to the United States in 1993 to become a Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Intercultural Studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he currently serves as the Director of the PhD/Intercultural Studies program. Netland’s expertise in religious pluralism has earned him recognition, with scholars frequently citing his views, such as his definition of propositional truth. Notably, in his 2001 book Encountering Religious Pluralism: The Challenge to Christian Faith & Mission, Netland offers a critical evaluation of John Hick’s pluralism hypothesis from an evangelical perspective.

 

QUOTES:

“Salvation is always based upon the person of Christ, Christ’s work on the cross from start to finish, it’s an act of God’s grace and God’s mercy. Nobody is ever saved by being good or sincere enough, and an act of faith and repentance is necessary for saving faith whenever or wherever it were to occur.”— Dr. Netland

 

 “And the parables that Jesus tells, the parable of the father, the prodigal son, the forgiving father, God eagerly welcomes a repentant sinner.”— Dr. Netland

 

“So when many people hear, Jesus is the only Lord and savior for all people in all cultures, that just sounds like 19th century colonialist ideology all over again. Yeah. Who gives you the right to say that?”— Dr. Netland

 

CHAPTERS:

00:00 Focus on exclusivity of Jesus as rescuer.
05:07 Concerns about cultural harm in religious evangelism.
08:56 New Testament emphasizes Jesus’s unique identity.
11:25 Questioning the relevance of the New Testament.
14:47 God is morally pure, beyond human understanding.
18:42 Salvation through God’s grace and faith.
20:53 Jesus says we need a new life.
23:25 Two views on salvation through hearing the gospel.
29:01 The church’s work is making disciples worldwide.
30:01 Questioning the exclusivity of Jesus and love.
34:43 Trust in God’s character to do good.
37:12 Becoming the right kind of person for Jesus.
41:41 Grateful for wisdom and service in ministry.

“I don’t want to go to heaven!”

“I don’t want to go to heaven!”

How could anyone not want to go to heaven? That was the question blaring in my mind as I sat across from a five year old girl that morning in Sunday school. When I was in middle school, I volunteered in the five year old Sunday school classroom. I don’t remember much about that class, but I do remember that day when the pastor’s daughter declared loudly and emphatically that she did not want to go to heaven. 

When I asked her why, she said something about being bored and not liking having to go to church all the time. I tried talking her into the idea of liking heaven. But I found myself at a little bit of a loss to say anything more substantive than heaven was better than the alternative and surely it would be better than she thought. I don’t think I convinced her.

I continued to think about that conversation for a long time. Of course wanting to go to heaven was “the right answer,” but if I was honest with myself I had the same thought as that five year old: What if heaven was boring? There is so much I want to do here and now. For many of us I suspect this Far Side cartoon captures our expectations about heaven pretty well:

But maybe we haven’t been willing to admit to ourselves that we just aren’t that excited about heaven. I guess kids—and Gary Larson—are just most honest about that sort of stuff than a lot of adults. 

It wasn’t until over a decade later that my imagination for “heaven” was rescued from the eneminc “…Wish I’d brought a magazine” caricature to the full-blood biblical vision of the New Heavens and New Earth. Two things happened. First, I was utterly captivated by N.T. Wright’s book Surprised by Hope. Wright helped me at last see what was in the Bible rather than just importing vague ideas I picked up from pop culture, classic art, and homespun theology. Second, I took a class on C.S. Lewis from professor Christopher Mitchell. I’d never met someone who had thought with such detail and clarity about the reality of the New Heavens and New Earth—or who lived with such contagious anticipation of them.

This Advent season,  we are going to take an imagination-baptising look at what the Bible promises about heaven. We’ll address questions like…

  • What will heaven be like?
  • Will I have a body? What will it be like?
  • Will I know people in heaven?
  • Where is heaven?
  • Why believe in heaven?
  • Is believing in heaven escapist? Does it distract us from the work of here and now?

…and many more. 

From the earliest days of the Christian church, Advent has been a season of waiting and preparation. It was a time to prepare for the celebration of Christmas, the celebration of Jesus’ first coming. Now kids make paper chains counting down the days until they can open the presents under the tree, and we mark the time with Advent calendars. 

It is also a time to remember and look forward to Jesus’ promise that He would come again and make all things new, to unite heaven and earth. But what is heaven? And when we wait for heaven, just what exactly are we waiting for? 

This Advent season let’s look together  at what the Bible says about heaven, about what we are waiting for.

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