DALLAS (Christian Examiner) – Christians have been "outthought, outfought, and outmarketed" on the issue of same-sex marriage, but the practice isn't the greatest threat facing Christianity in America. In fact, the greatest threat isn't even from an external force.
The real threat to the church is the belief of 70 percent of Americans who describe themselves as religious, but who believe there are other ways to get to heaven than through faith in Jesus Christ, Robert Jeffress, the pastor of First Baptist Dallas and a FOX News contributor, claims in his latest book.
Not All Roads Lead to Heaven (Baker Books) looks at the idea of the exclusivity of salvation in Christ, a viewpoint that is under assault even among Evangelicals.
"Some people might think that 'surely the statistics among evangelical Christians is different.' Not by much. A 2008 poll of 35,000 Americans revealed that 57 percent of the evangelical church believe that many religions can lead to eternal life," Jeffers told the Bible Gateway Blog in an interview published Feb. 22.
Jeffers, who preached a sermon series by the same name as the book from October-December 2015, said he wants to help Christians to understand why the exclusivity of salvation in Christ is a fundamental Christian belief. Often criticized for his own vocal opposition to Islam, Jeffers also said he hopes to help others share the Christian faith in a compassionate way.
"Jesus could not have been more clear: he offers the only way to heaven," Jeffress said in the interview. "Think about this. If the Universalists are correct in saying that everyone is going to be in heaven regardless of what they believe, or the pluralists are correct that all religions lead to the same god, then the horrific death of Jesus Christ was completely unnecessary. The only reason Christ submitted himself to the horrendous experience of bearing the sins of the entire world is because his death provided the only way for reconciliation with God."
Jeffress said the exclusivity of Christ is offensive to the world when only 25 percent of the world is Christian. That means as many as 5 billion people are destined to hell without Jesus Christ.
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"Yet, Jesus clearly taught that the majority of humanity will spend eternity in hell, and only a few will find the exclusive way to salvation. In Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus said, 'Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.'"
Jeffress details in the book some of the common objections to the doctrine of the exclusivity of Christ. Among those are that all religions are essentially the same, that God would be unjust to condemn those who had never heard of him, that infants or small children who die might be in hell without Christ, that the population of heaven will be relatively small, and that God would, in requiring only faith in Jesus, be rejecting from heaven "good" people who have lived well.
"Without hesitation I would say that this book is the most important of the 23 books I've ever written because it deals with the most important subject of all: how a person can have a right relationship with God. I hope those who read Not All Roads Lead to Heaven will be strengthened in their own convictions about the exclusivity of Christ for salvation," Jeffress said.
Jeffress is no stranger to controversy. He has argued repeatedly that Islam is a false religion created by Satan. He also said that Donald Trump's suggestion to bomb the "you know what" out of ISIS was a biblical response for a government. Last year, he also compared the marginalization of Christians in American culture to the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany in the 1930s.