Give Me an AnswerGive Me an Answer
Cliffe Knechtle
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Tough questions are on the minds of Christians and non-Christians. Does God really send people to hell? Doesn't science disprove Christianity? Why are there so many hypocrites in the church? Isn't the Bible full of errors? Cliff Knechtle handles these and other tough questions everywhere he goes. He has a calling - as an open-air evangelist for Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship. In this book Knechtle answers forty of the questions he most often faces. He deals directly with the hurts, doubts, struggles and conflicts of those who are searching. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Cliffe Knechtle gives clear, reasoned answers that satisfy both your heart and your mind.
     

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ONE
Aren't There Many Ways to God?

Whenever I do open-air preaching, I follow a similar format. First, I take about seven to ten minutes to make my opening remarks. I state who I am, why I have come to speak and explain the basics of my own walk with Jesus Christ. I tell why I believe Jesus is not only the way to personal salvation, but also why he gives us abundant life now.

Obviously, in the few minutes I have, I cannot go into great detail. In fact, it is better for me to be brief so too many people don't wander away because they are bored or too busy to hang around. So after a short talk on an issue from a biblical perspective, I encourage people to ask questions or make comments whether they agree or disagree with what I've said.

One of the topics that often strikes my listeners is the exclusive claims of Christianity. In an age of relativism, people are quite uncomfortable when you say you have the absolute truth. In an era when people want to think that their view of what is right and what is wrong is as good as anyone else's, you will get a lot of disagreement if you say Jesus' view is ultimately true.

Question 1. Why do you say that Jesus Christ is the only way to God?

One person in Massachusetts objected, "It is narrow-minded to say that Jesus is the only way to God. Jesus, Muhammad, Krishna are all symbols of God. God isn't limited to Jesus Christ. All the major world religions point to the same God."

If all religions point to the same God, one would imagine that they would say basically the same things about him, at least in their essential teachings. But if we examine these religions, we find that they in fact disagree over fundamental points. The Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads and other holy books of Eastern mysticism teach that God is one. Everything is God. You are god. I am god. The tree is god. The dirt is god. The insect is god. Good is god. Evil is god. They also teach that God is impersonal, that God is an it.

Judaism, Christianity and Islam on the other hand teach that God is the Creator and that we are not part of him. Rather we were made by him. They also teach that God is holy and just. He has defined the difference between good and evil. God is seen as a personal being who has a special relationship to humanity.

But there is a sense in which Christianity is different from every other religion. All the other major world religions teach that you must get yourself together. You must pray five times a day, give alms, fast, take a pilgrimage, use a Tibetan prayer wheel, not eat certain foods, observe the sabbath, go to church or live a decent life or one of innumerable other possibilities. If you do these things, then maybe you will work your way to Nirvana of heaven or God.

Christianity is different. God tells us we will never earn heaven or deserve a right relationship with him. We simply cannot live up to God's standards. Instead, God has taken the initiative. Because of his great love for us, he came to earth as a man to rescue us from the penalty of death that our wrongdoing deserves. Jesus Christ, Son of God, died on the cross to take the punishment you and I have earned.

He did something for us that we could not do for ourselves. He lived a perfect life. He did not deserve to die. He died as a sacrifice for you and me. He rose from the dead, is alive today and is offering us a gift forgiveness and eternal life. No other religion can point to a moment in history and say, this is what God has done for you. No other religion tells how God has taken the initiative to save us. Religion is our attempt at finding God. Christianity is God's attempt at finding us.