Monday, June 27, 2016

One Way, Or the Highway?

When I was a boy, my family occasionally ventured from suburban New Jersey to the “concrete jungle” of New York City. We had relatives living in Manhattan, and my dad was brave enough to drive into the city.

Once, without GPS to assist, Dad made a turn in Midtown only to discover he was going the wrong way on a one-way street. Realizing his error, he found a place to change direction before one of the NYPD’s finest could penalize him for his mistake. After correcting his course, my father quipped, “Well, I was only driving one way!”

In this instance it was no-harm, no-foul, but we’ve heard about drivers who, whether confused or impaired, have driven down the wrong side of a freeway with tragic results. As much as we’d like to think we’re free to choose any route we want, it’s obvious that in many cases the correct way to go isn’t multiple-choice.

If you’re hiking and find a chasm spanned by a rope bridge, you may feel wary about crossing on a contraption that swings under your feet. But to get across, it’s the one way. If you want to see your favorite team’s biggest game of the season in person, there’s only one way to get in. You’ll have to produce a ticket to gain entrance.

To become a medical doctor, it won’t suffice to enter a local pharmacy and buy a stethoscope, go to a uniform shop and purchase some scrubs, then declare yourself “Doctor.” There’s one way to become a certified physician: College, medical school, then extensive professional training.

If you need a blood transfusion, a pint of the purest tomato juice, or red Kool-Aid, or red grape juice will not do. Or blood from an animal. Only human blood will do the job, and even at that, it must be the right type. As your physician or attending nurse will affirm, there’s just one way.

And yet, people bristle when followers of Christ declare that Jesus is the one and only way to know God and spend eternity with Him. “How intolerant!” Others argue, “Who are you to judge?” Still others respond, “There are many ways to God. All that matters is that you’re sincere.”

I’m sure most drivers traveling the wrong direction on the interstate, crashing head-on with oncoming cars, were “sincere” in believing they were going the right way. They might not have seen the “One Way” or “Do Not Enter” signs on the roadway.

But saying Jesus is the one and only way isn’t my call. He’s the one that said it.Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6). Again, His words, not mine.

Talking to a crowd of people, Jesus informed them it’s His way or the highway. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

Some vehemently disagree, convinced all belief systems lead to the same destination. Or simply being “good enough” is sufficient. However, a thoughtful reading of the Scriptures doesn’t reveal such alternatives. However, this doesn’t mean those who affirm the biblical view are narrow-minded, “haters,” or lacking in tolerance.

My friend, Randy Nabors, explained this on his own blog as concisely and truthfully as anything I’ve ever heard. He wrote, “Truth is not hateful, but truth is intolerant of non-truth, and may feel hateful to those who don’t want to hear it or deny it.”

The good news is, as Jesus said, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). He’s saying there truly is only one way – but it’s available to all willing to take it.

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