After making a stock donation worth nearly 37 billion dollars to the Gates Foundation in 2006, Warren Buffet declared: “There is more than one way to get to heaven, but this is a great way.”
Buffet’s voice is one of many cultural influencers espousing the idea there are many ways to get to heaven. And their voices have been getting through the church walls. According to a Time article citing a Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life survey of 35,000 Americans, they found:
70% of respondents agreed with the statement “Many religions can lead to eternal life.” Even more remarkable was the fact that 57% of Evangelical Christians were willing to accept that theirs might not be the only path to salvation, since most Christians historically have embraced the words of Jesus, in the Gospel of John, that “no one comes to the Father except through me.”
So what are some of these other ways to get to heaven?
The New Ways To Get To Heaven
Many people believe you can get to heaven if your good deeds simply outweigh your bad deeds. Pope Francis even made headlines in 2014 for saying atheists simply need to “do good” and they will be welcomed into heaven. However, this isn’t substantially different from believing, like Mr. Buffet apparently does, that one can buy their way in. It suggests people can be their own savior.
Others project themselves onto God and make their standards His standards. They effectively lower the entrance requirement of heaven by saying: “My God would never condemn a person for [insert favorite sin]!” This disallows the notion it’s supposed to work the other way around – God’s standards becoming ours. And it constructs a god of our own design. There’s an old-timey word for it: idolatry.Another approach to open heaven’s gates is to preach people in at their funeral. This happened to my uncle. Click To TweetAnother approach to open heaven’s gates is to preach people in at their funeral. This happened to my uncle. Although there was never a shred of evidence in his life that he believed in God (sadly, the evidence was all to the contrary), the minister officiating his funeral service assured our assembled family that Uncle was in heaven. It was baseless, wishful thinking. What he should have done as a responsible minister to the living is warn us against Uncle’s fate.
Of course, there are those who deal with the prospect of being denied heaven by denying its existence. They boldly claim there’s nothing beyond what they can see now and keep their secret, nighttime fears to themselves. So, no worries, man. Until they die and there are.
The Old Way To Get To Heaven
The writer of the previously referenced article was right to find it “remarkable” so many Christians are practically disavowing Jesus’ explicit claim that no one comes to the Father (gets into heaven) except through him. Because Jesus hasn’t issued a revision.
Sinful people – all of us – cannot ever work or earn our way to heaven. All the good we do is still polluted by our pride. And any insistance of our ability to save ourselves renders Jesus’ sacrificial death for us a ridiculous, unnecessary waste.
Furthermore, heaven is the kingdom of God. He sets the admission requirements, not us. He defines offensive sin, not us. And he is the arbiter of justice and reward, not us. Only perfectly righteous people can live in the presence of God. That excludes all of us but not for the righteousness of Christ that God imputes to all who repent of their sin and, by faith, acknowledge Jesus as their Savior. Repentance and faith in Christ is still the only way to get to heaven. No matter who says otherwise.
To read more about the good news of salvation, check out this article on The Gospel.