David Holt, the pastor of the church I grew up in, was interviewed by the local paper on the topic of salvation and conversion. He didn't lob in a softball, or try to water down what he thought, he put it right out there, saying Jesus is the only way to heaven.
As you can imagine, it illicited no shortage of responses when the story was posted on the LaCrosse Tribune's web site. I found the replies interesting, and helpful in gaging where people are at on this stuff.
I may have answered the questions slightly differently, but I have no problem with David pushing the envelope, no matter how politically incorect it may be. Sometimes I wonder if the final result is what we would like, but I'm not going to fault someone for going at it from this angle. We each have to answer for our own actions, so I applaud Pastor David for not shying away from his convictions. Below are some excerpts from both the article and the responses. You can read the entire article here.
Tribune: Can you explain to somebody who hasn’t had it what the saved experience, of coming forward in a church, is about?
Holt: You have to realize you’re a sinner. Recognize that God enables you to recognize you’re a sinner, and that the only way for you to be forgiven is through Jesus Christ...
Tribune: What’s your relationship with other religions?
Holt: I believe that all religions outside of Christianity are not true religions. He said the way leading to life is narrow, few will enter.
Tribune: And you think Jesus was talking about religion when he said those words?
Holt: Any attempt to get to God outside of Jesus is false. I ultimately believe that they’re Satan’s way of deceiving you...
Tribune: How do you relate to accepting a person who hasn’t been saved?
Holt: Truth and grace. Truth and compassion. Because where I think Evangelicals many times have been off base is sometimes truth without compassion, without grace.
Tribune: What happens inside of you when you speak with someone who hasn’t had the experience of being saved? What are you thinking? How are you feeling?
Holt: I’m praying that God opens their heart. Because until the Lord opens a person’s heart they won’t understand it’s possible to come to Christ. Salvation is a gift. God has to grant it. So I share with people. I pray inside. I’m praying, “God just help them understand.”
Tribune: So are you praying for me right now?
Holt: Yeah, I am. And I asked some people that knew we are meeting to pray.
"SIGH....why is it that so many people are arrogant enough to claim to have all the answers in life? Why is it that these people look down their noses at others just because they don't view the world in the same way? WHY is it that these people use false humility and patronizing comments while portraying themselves as "good people"??? WHY??? "
"It takes a lot of guts to proclaim you beliefs in the newspaper. I thank you Pastor Holt for your boldness in proclaiming Christ."
"SD, who are YOU to say what the truth is or what sin is? Who is Pastor Holt to say? NONE of us holds the monopoly on the "Truth". Opinions are like belly-buttons; we all have one. If there is a universal sin, it is being arrogant and narcissistic enough to tell others how they are to live and love. It is an even worse sin to claim Divine Right to do it. The worst bigots and hypocrites always claim to have God on their side. "
"I think it's more about spirituality than religion. You don't have to agree with Pastor Holt, but please respect his message. we as human beings need to believe in something bigger than ourselves. I, for one, do not subscribe to the evangelical school of thought, but I am not going to discount that it has merit for others. I can take what I hear from others and learn from it. "
"I am very much in agreement with Pastor Holt.. He speaks of how the Bible tells us to be saved. I know that that ruffles some feathers around here.. But in reality, that is why Christ Came.. He came to save us, but He also came to choose between the saved and unsaved.. That we all have a choice..