“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:6-10)
I watched with interest the interview between Mel Gibson and Diane Sawyer which occurred on ABC not that long ago. I thought Mel Gibson did very well, in many ways. For example, when questioned about his father, he said that he didn’t want to let anything come between him and his father and that he loved his father. He “encouraged” the interviewer not to pursue her line of questioning on this issue because he simply wouldn’t allow anything to come between him and his father. His father had been accused of anti-Semitism. I thought Mel Gibson handled that very well. In fact, I think that he handled the entire interview very well (perhaps to be expected of a man who has years of acting experience). Except in one spot. That was the spot that I think he did very poorly in.
For this is what Mel Gibson said, when questioned as to whether or not only Christians, or Roman Catholics, could go to heaven. No, Gibson said. Anyone from any faith could go to heaven. There was not one way to heaven. There were many ways to get to heaven. Buddhism. Islam. Roman Catholicism. You name it. There were indeed many ways to get to heaven (see quote at bottom). Thank God Gibson didn’t offend the interviewer, or the audience of millions, before whom he spoke, with the truth. Thank God he didn’t tell them how to be saved. Here’s a man who just spent months creating a story based on the biblical account but doesn’t have the ability or willingness (I’m not sure which), when questioned before millions of viewers, to tell them that the death of Jesus on the cross was God’s SOLE PROVISION for our sins! There was NO OTHER WAY, as Jesus made clear when he said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father BUT BY ME.” (John 14:6)
What is even more mind-boggling is that these words are in stark contradiction to words that he spoke earlier in another interview in which, according to the Herald Sun in Australia, he emphatically stated, “There is no salvation for those outside the Church. I believe it.” And then added, “Put it this way. My wife is a saint. She’s a much better person than I am. Honestly. She’s, like, Episcopalian, Church of England. She prays, she believes in God, she knows Jesus, she believes in that stuff. And it’s just not fair if she doesn’t make it, she’s better than I am. But that is a pronouncement from the chair [i.e. from the pope]. I go with it.” So my question is, what does he believe in? At first he states that only those inside the Roman Catholic church can be saved. Then he proclaims that people can go to heaven through other religions, as well, and that it is not at all limited to the Roman Catholic church. The truth, of course, is that neither the Roman Catholic church saves, nor do other religions save. Jesus saves. And only Jesus saves.
Here’s what Jesus said, and they are very sobering words. “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” (Mark 10:32-33) What Gibson did was to deny Christ before millions of people. I don’t think that anyone had a gun to his head, did they? This is something which he appears to have freely done, in order to “please” his listening audience. Of course, it may be his genuine belief that anyone at all can get to heaven through their religion – Buddhists, Muslims, you name it. But if that is his belief, it doesn’t make him a very good Roman Catholic. For that is not the teaching of Roman Catholicism, but, of course, more and more it is, as the Roman Catholic church embraces what is known as the “ecumenical movement” – that embracing of all religions for the betterment of mankind.
Teachings like that may be popular – that we can all get to heaven through our own religion whatever that religion happens to be – but the question is, are they the truth? It is not popularity that will get us to heaven in the end. It is not being “one” with the European Economic Community, or being accepted by the United Nations – composed primarily of Muslim nations who deny that Jesus was, and is, God in the flesh, and who continually persecute Christians to their death (such as the case of Saudi Arabia, which has made proselytizing punishable by death). No, it is not being popular with any country, or any organization that will get us to heaven in the end. Hear the words of Jesus: “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father BUT BY ME.” (John 14:6) I know I’ve repeated that. But it seems like it bears repeating – many times, in fact – so that we’ll finally get the point! Do you get the point? Do you embrace the teaching of Jesus?
I don’t care if you are a Roman Catholic or a Protestant. If you claim on the one hand to love Jesus but deny that he is the ONLY way to get to heaven, you are denying him. That is plain and simple. It is a denial of his teaching. It is a denial of his authority. And, mostly, it is a denial of his NECESSITY to have to die on the cross. Jesus died because he freely chose to, but he also died because he knew that there was NO OTHER WAY TO GOD AND NO OTHER HOPE FOR MANKIND. Here’s how it works. We deserved death. But Jesus came as our substitute and took that death upon himself. Willingly. Voluntarily. But also out of necessity, in the sense that there was no other way. Your religion is not going to get you to heaven. But Jesus is. And he’s the ONLY way, friend! How do we get to heaven? We trust in what he did. And we make it our aim to abide in his teaching, and not to divert from it. By faith we are saved. By abiding in his teaching we grow and become “usable” for God. And we must not forget to confess Christ as our Lord and Savior. Our ONLY Lord and Savior, that is. THE only Lord and Savior, to be more specific. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
Friends, it cannot be found Buddhism. And it cannot be found in Islam. But it can be found in Jesus. I am telling you the truth. I am not sugar coating it. If it offends you, it is simply the message of the Bible that offends you. For the Bible makes it clear that apart from Jesus, there is no hope for mankind. Apart from trusting him as Lord and Savior, there is no salvation for anyone. Here is what the Bible says – politically incorrect but biblically accurate and the only means of salvation: “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:10-13)
Does Mel Gibson’s movie have value? It sure does! God can, and is, easily using it to help others find faith in Christ – or, in other cases, to be more strengthened in the faith which they already have in Christ. Does God need this movie? No. Is he using it? Yes, of course! God can and does use many things to help people come to know him, and know him better! I’m not saying the movie does not have value. Nor am I suggesting that people should not go out and see it. See it, and be blessed by it, if you are indeed blessed by it! What I am saying, however, is GET YOUR THEOLOGY STRAIGHT in the midst of it!
The Bible makes it clear, and I’m sorry that Mel Gibson didn’t, as he was being interviewed before a viewing audience of millions. Jesus is the only way. I hope you get the point. I just wanted to make sure that it was clear. Now go on, and enjoy your life, but make sure you have confessed Jesus as your only Lord and Savior. In the end, that is the one thing that will count.
REPORTER: (Voice Over) So when we talked with Gibson and his actors, we wondered, does his traditionalist view bar the door to Heaven for Jews, Protestants, Muslims?
MEL GIBSON: That’s not the case at all. Absolutely not. It is possible for people who are not even Christian to get into the Kingdom of Heaven. It’s just easier for – and I have to say that because that’s what I believe.