By Larry Ray Hafley
“It is my belief that it is entirely unimportant what god one worships, monotheistic or polytheistic; what is important is that belief should produce the true spirit of devotion in the life of the worshiper” (The Wisdom of China And India, p. 13).
Probably very few of our readers would agree with the above quote. Members of denominational churches believe it is important “what god one worships.” In this they are correct. The Bible teaches that there is but “One God and Father of all” (Eph. 4:6). As ancient Israel was commanded, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:3), so are we instructed (1 Cor. 8:4-6; 10:14; 1 Jn. 5:21). Truly, as God has said of Himself, “I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God” (Isa. 44:6).
While it is true that faith or belief should produce “the true spirit of devotion in the life of the worshiper,” it is not true that “it is entirely unimportant what god one worships.”
Let us make a few statements Which are parallel to the opening quotation and see if you will agree or disagree with them.
(1) “It is my belief that it is unimportant what Savior saves you. What is important is that you are saved.”
Most who claim to be saved would surely resent anyone who would dare say that you can have the Savior of your choice. “It does not make any difference who saves you, just so you are saved.” Whether you are a Baptist, Pentecostal, Lutheran; or a Methodist, you surely do not believe that the Savior is unimportant. Jesus is the Savior, and “if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (Jn. 8:24). Buddha cannot save. No man can save, therefore, the Savior is important. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).
(2) “It is my belief that it is entirely unimportant what blood one depends upon for cleansing from sin, whether the blood of animals, the blood of Abraham Lincoln, or the blood of Jesus Christ, what is important is that one is cleansed from his sins by blood.”
What a blasphemous statement! Who is it that claims to be a follower of the Lord that can agree with such an utterance? Surely, none can! The blood of Jesus is the “blood of the New Testament which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28). “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Heb. 10:4). Christ made spiritual “peace through the blood of his cross” (Col. 1:20). We are “justified by his blood” (Rom. 5:9). Apart from the blood of Christ, there is no cleansing from sin. Lincoln was a great man, but all the blood his heart could pump in a thousand years could never atone for one sin of one man. Not a drop of all the blood of all the animals who ever lived can take away sins, for Jesus is the one “that loved us, and washed away our sins in his own blood” (Rev. 1:5).
Agreed So Far?
Thus far I suppose most all who profess to be children of God are agreed. That is as it should be. What we have agreed upon is:
A. Not prejudiced opinion.
B. Not what a church creed book says.
C. Not what any mere man has said.
But we have agreed upon what the word of God says. As long as we are willing to go by the Bible, we will be agreed.
(3) “It is my belief that it is entirely unimportant ;what church you are a member of, whether Catholic or Protestant, what is important is that you are a member of some church and that you are worshiping God in the church of your choice.”
Now, perhaps, we have our first open division and disagreement. However, a return to the same standard, the Bible, as we used to establish our earlier unity will promote and provide harmony on’ this point also. Some of our readers, may concur that the church is “entirely unimportant,” but the issue is not, “How many agree?” The issue is, “What does the Bible teach? Does the bible agree with that sentiment?”
We noted from Ephesians 4:6 that there is one God. We learned from Ephesians 4:5 that there is one Lord, one Savior, Jesus. To these points we agreed because that is what the Bible says. In Ephesians 4:4, the word of God says, “There is one body.” This body, the “one body,” is the church. Christ is the “head over all things to the church, which is his body” (Eph. 1:22, 23; Cola 1:18). There are many members of the body, the church, yet there is “but one body,” or church (1 Cor. 12:20).
In Ephesians 2:16 we find that one is reconciled “unto God in one body.” Remember, that “one body,” is “the church,” and there is “but one body,” or church (Eph. 4:4; 1:22, 23). If we are reconciled unto God, we are in that one body, for Paul says that it is the realm, the sphere of reconciliation. Furthermore, Christ. is “the Savior of the body” (Eph. 5:23). How, in light of this, can one say the church is “entirely unimportant?” Can that which Christ loved and purchased with his precious blood be “entirely unimportant?” See Acts 20:28 and Ephesians 5:25.
Do you agree or disagree? Again, as in each case before, we have cited-Scripture to sustain the truth and to deny the opening statement. If you now disagree with these Scriptures concerning the “one church,” what right do you have to demand that I agree that the blood of Jesus is superior to the blood of animals? Why insist that Christ, not Buddha, is the Savior? After all, if you can deny what the Bible teaches about the church, why cannot someone else deny what it teaches about Christ being the Savior? Surely, you see that the Bible is right. You see the truth about the church-“There is one body.” Now that you see the truth, accept it, believe it, obey it and be saved (1 Pet. 1:22; Heb. 5:8, 9).
Truth Magazine XIX: 31, p. 482
June 12, 1975