A June 23, 2008, Associated Press story by Eric Gorski provides additional evidence that religious Americans do not know the Scriptures or have rejected the Scriptures or simply do not care about the issues.
America remains a deeply religious nation, but a new survey finds most Americans don’t believe their tradition is the only way to eternal life — even if the denomination’s teachings say otherwise. The findings, revealed Monday in a survey of 35,000 adults, can either be taken as a positive sign of growing religious tolerance, or disturbing evidence that Americans dismiss or don’t know fundamental teachings of their own faiths.
Among the more startling numbers in the survey, conducted last year by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life: 57 percent of evangelical church attenders said they believe many religions can lead to eternal life, in conflict with traditional evangelical teaching. In all, 70 percent of Americans with a religious affiliation shared that view, and 68 percent said there is more than one true way to interpret the teachings of their own religion.
While many welcome this as good news, for the follower of Christ who has a high view of Scripture, this news is evidence that American churches are sliding further into apostasy. The plain reading of the Bible leaves no room for assuming that there are ways to God outside of Jesus Christ. Jesus himself said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, ESV). The apostle Peter boldly instructed those who crucified Jesus, “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:11-12, ESV).
The plain teaching of the Scriptures on this matter finds little approval in 21st-century pluralistic America. Embracing the culture, most American church members have implicitly rejected the Scriptures, at least those Scriptures which run counter to the political correctness of our day.
Of course, nothing is really new. To a very religious first-century Judaism, Jesus taught, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14, ESV). Jesus pointed to two ways purportedly leading to God. The banner over each would have said, “This way to heaven.” Yet Jesus himself maintained that the broad gate though which multitudes go to fulfill their desire for eternal life leads to destruction, but the narrow gate and hard way alone leads to life, “and those who find it are few.” Too bad Jesus wasn’t as open-minded as most of his American “followers” today.