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The One True God versus everything else

May 4, 2011 3 Comments

by Peggy Pedersen

“These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own…There are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions.” – G.K. Chesterton


Recently I had a conversation with some members of a local Hindu organization. As I tried speaking of Christ as the One who gave His life to atone for our sins, they praised Him and said: “We love Jesus, but we are happy in our religion and our chosen path.” They just didn’t get it. One can’t “love” Jesus and reject His words at the same time. He refuses to be just another god on the altar.

Canada is officially multicultural. It means not only are all free to pursue their own religion and celebrate their diverse cultural identity, but all religions and cultural identities are considered equal and of equal value. Canada even had a federal Minister of Multiculturalism (superseded in 1996 by the Minister of Canadian Heritage). So, one would think: “This is good, isn’t it? Tolerance. Equality.”

That’s the thing about multiculturalism: all must be accepted as equally valid.

Ancient Rome and Greece were also multicultural and pluralistic. The Roman Pantheon, which housed idols of the major Roman gods, also held deities of many conquered peoples’ faiths. They were all too happy to add another, as long as one worshipped the Emperor as Supreme.

Paul was confronted in Greece by furor over his claim that Christ alone was to be worshipped (Acts 17:16-34). For that’s the thing about multiculturalism: all must be accepted as equally valid. If one claims their god alone is true and there is only one way to worship him, then that’s tantamount to saying all other gods are false and all other religions invalid, and that just can’t be tolerated in a multicultural society.

What is more common in multicultural, pluralistic societies is “cross-pollination” or syncretism. Ancient Israel, at various times, so adopted the customs of those living among and around them they forgot God’s law and joined in the worship of foreign gods.

There is an idea going around popular circles that what counts is “spirituality” and “faith,” not the object of the spirituality and faith. Whatever works for you…. Whatever name you want to call god…. It’s all the same anyway, isn’t it? There is only one god and many ways to worship him—all valid—right?


We can’t pussyfoot around the truth, trying not to offend anyone. The Gospel is offensive, controversial, and exclusive. After all, it says all have sinned and earned eternal death; no man can come to God except through Jesus, who is the only begotten Son of God; we killed God in a horrible and bloody manner, yet, through no merits of our own, He forgives us; Jesus was raised from the dead and gives eternal life to those who forsake faith in everything else and believe solely in Him. Jesus says we must eat His flesh and drink His blood to abide in Him and that He is one with God the Father. These assertive statements give no room for compromise or accommodation.

Jesus warned us that His teachings would offend, but if we denied Him before men, He would deny us before His Father, and if we were ashamed of the Gospel, He would be ashamed of us. For the Gospel is “the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes” (Rom. 1:16).

There are not many truths; there is one Truth

The Bahá’i, a syncretistic faith, teaches that all religions are one: Buddha, Christ, Mohammed are all great teachers, but Bahá’u’lláh has the last word. He supersedes them all.

Islam teaches respect for Jesus as a great prophet and Mary his virgin mother, but Mohammed is greater and conversion to Christianity makes one an infidel.

Mormonism teaches Jesus became a god just as you or I can become gods.

Hinduism sees Him as another guru, or at most, another avatar.

Judaism says the Messiah has not come and Jesus was either a good man but misguided rabbi, or a false prophet.

Various New Age faiths see god as an impersonal spirit in pantheistic union with nature.

All the talk of oneness of faith ends as soon as Jesus’ question is asked: “Who do you say that I am?” We cannot accept any other answer than He is the one and only incarnate God, and non-Christians can’t tolerate that answer. Some will even imprison or kill us for saying it.

When I went to college, the big teaching coming out of the social sciences was relativism: everything is subjective. Everything depends on the eye of the beholder. John Locke, however, talked about the Correspondence Theory of Truth: truth is that which corresponds to reality. To this most will respond: “Well, my reality is different from yours.” In fact, the only reality that matters is that which is God’s perception of reality. And has told us in His Word what is real and true. There is no salvation in any other (Acts. 4:12). There is no other rock (1 Samuel 2:2).

There are not many truths; there is one Truth. Pilate asked: “What is truth?” and standing in front of him was the One who was Truth Himself. Jesus has told us “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” He told us that He, alone, is the gate, all others who have come were thieves and liars and the way leading to death is broad and the way leading to life is narrow.

He has called us to proclaim His truth

Some will say there is only one god with many names. God, however, has told us there are not multiple names, but only one Name by which we may be saved. A name is not just a group of syllables. A name is character and attributes.

Even a cursory study reveals that the gods of various nations are quite different from our God in character and attributes. Only the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is holy and righteous—the Holy One of Israel.

All others teach a path to their god by works, self-improvement and self-purification. Jesus Christ alone reveals a God who comes to us and makes us holy by His own grace—a God who does not seek to be served but to serve and freely gives His love to the unlovable. He bestows blessings on His enemies and shares the suffering of His children. He is a God who, beyond human reason, turns everything upside down, the pure One who becomes sin so the guilty may be counted innocent.

He has called us to proclaim His truth, and it can’t be done by offering Him as just one of many choices on a spiritual smörgåsbord where one may take a little from each tray and mix them to individual taste. For years I tried to combine religions. It’s impossible to know Christ until He stands alone. The version of Jesus adopted by other faiths, as one of their prophets, is not the true Jesus. Their “Jesus” asks nothing; their “Jesus” gives nothing. There is no light, no salt, no cross. There is no salvation, no resurrection of the dead.

We need to present the true Jesus, the One from whom, for whom and to whom are all things. The One who alone lived a perfect life, was crucified, died and rose again, who sits at the right hand of God the Father, who will come again as judge of all mankind—the only truth, the only way, the only light.

Christianity has taken root in many countries throughout the ages. A person can be a Christian and speak German, Arabic, Icelandic, Cree—any language. They can wear a sari, a sarong, mukluks, or lederhosen. They can sing hymns with drums, pipe organs or bagpipes. These things are cultural, but there is only one Gospel, only one Christ, only one Baptism.

To praise all religions is to deny the supremacy of one

In supporting the human rights of freedom of religion, freedom of speech for all, and respecting other cultures, we should not forfeit our position that we hold the truth. In speaking with those of other faiths, we can and should speak with patience, gentleness and Christian love. As Lutherans we know only God can change hearts. We can present the Gospel, but we can’t force it on others. And in presenting, we may be rejected, despised and accused of being intolerant. Only those will receive the Truth whom He has called and drawn, yet He has charged us with speaking it.

When others say, “All religions teach the same thing; it’s just many names for the same god; it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you have faith; practice what you will, but keep it to yourself….” then we need to declare the Truth, for we know a judgment is coming. In times past, God overlooked ignorance, but now He commands all to repent and turn to Him (Act. 17:30). He wants all to be saved. He died for all, and wants His salvation proclaimed to all. If we do not do so, then we confirm others in their belief that they can be saved in their own way.

As Chesterton writes, pluralism is anti-Christian. To praise all religions is to deny the supremacy of one. The pantheist is happy to include you in the pantheon as long as you play by the rules, and the rules are that you can’t deny the validity of their particular deity and philosophy. You must acknowledge it as equal to yours, but to do so is to deny Christ.

All should have the right to follow their beliefs or even non-beliefs in peace. Everyone should be treated with respect and have the right to express their opinions. While a pluralistic, multicultural society reduces the risk of blatant religious persecution, we must guard against any tendency to see Christianity as just our own particular personal preference among many ways to worship God.

There are many ways to convey the Gospel. We proclaim it to others through loving them, praying for them, living our faith, by showing kindness and giving of ourselves. We convey it by being faithful in our vocations and following Christ’s teachings—by being walking Gospels. But, as we read in Romans 10:17, “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ,” and Romans 10:14 asks: “How are they to hear without someone preaching.” This does not mean you have to stand on a soapbox. It can just be to “declare how much God has done for you” (Luke 8:39). Be ready, as Scripture says, to “make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…” (1 Peter 3:15).

God calls us to show the love of Christ to the world. He calls us to be holy and separate, to be the salt and light of the world. In a multicultural, pluralistic society, we can only do this by speaking the Truth, “for though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or on earth; as there are gods many, and lords many; yet to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we through Him” (I Cor. 8: 5-6). Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Peggy Pedersen is a freelance writer in Victoria, B.C. where she is a member of Redeemer Lutheran Church.


  • Canadian Lutheran Online » Blog Archive » The One True God versus … - Christian IBD said:

    […] being intolerant. Only those will receive the Truth whom He has … View full post on lutheran – Google Blog Search Tagged with: Archive • Blog • Canadian • Lutheran • Online • True • […]

  • Jwhittar said:

    This was a thoughtful article and a difficult subject….just some thoughts in response…Clearly we have paid a price for past wrongs, acting as Christians…. in the name of Christ terrible things have been done to others (both individuals and cultures). I for one think we can ‘turn the other cheek’ to those who are ‘enemies’ in ignorance. We can’t undo the past, but we can remember and rejoice in the wonderful things done even today in His name…and show Christ’s love in how we respond to the anger, hurt and ignorance we see in the world.

  • domain name registration said:

    The image shows unity. “Unity is strength”, Unity will do anything. Now a days, Most of the friends are showing unity in friendship. It is very nice.

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