Ask the Pastor
by Pastor Daniel Rudd
The other day I was asked a question, the question was: Don’t all religions worship the same God? They just focus on different aspects of God?
I don’t believe this, hence why I am a follower of Jesus and not any other religion. This is such a broad question that to answer this question I want to focus in on some of the differences between Christianity and every other religion; this will by no means be all of the differences.
In most religions in the world, the person or persons who come to their God have to do something to appease their god. There are recorded instances in history where some people, in order to secure military or political victory, have sacrificed family members to their gods. In some cases your good has to outweigh your bad, in others you come back reincarnated depending on how you lived. In some your good works can get you into purgatory where upon after a while of paying for your sins one can enter heaven. Christianity is different; it starts with the worst news in the world that there is nothing you or I can do to appease God’s wrath due to our sin. Only God can appease it through Jesus’s death on the cross.
Every other religion gives lists of rules one has to obey in order to be saved or go to heaven or be reincarnated. We believe that we can’t earn heaven. It is not dependant upon how good you are or how hard you work. It is dependant upon Jesus and what he has done. We believe that Jesus died for our sins, which are our acts of rebellion against God, and he rose again, paying for our sins. Jesus invites everyone to come to him, and once we come to him he then changes our hearts so that we desire to live as he lived. Christianity at its root should not be considered a list of rules we have to obey in order to get to heaven as some churches make it. It is rather that we can be forgiven of our sins, and when we realize the great love of God in our forgiveness, we no longer desire to do things that are acts of rebellion against the God who loves us.
All religions give ideas of how to get to God but the thing that makes it very clear to me that we don’t serve the same God is some of the words of Jesus. He said in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth and the life No One comes to the father except through me.” (Emphasis added.) This is an absolute truth claim by Jesus that excludes all other options. There are many ideas about how to appease God but the God of the Bible only accepts his son Jesus as the only way to him.
I am a local pastor at The Gathering House, and I was speaking with the editor about the idea of writing an “Ask the Pastor” column in Nation Valley News. I would like this to be an opportunity for anyone who is struggling with any questions to have them answered in this column. Submit questions to Pastor Daniel at firstname.lastname@example.org.