How Many Roads Lead to Heaven?
by Erin Percell
via The Beacon, March 10, 2009
On a map you can see many roads into any major city. You can pick whatever route suits you. Many people think the same thing about variety among churches -- "We're all on different roads to the same place," they say. Can such a thing be so?
Do you believe we can follow different roads? What does the Bible say about it? The Bible speaks of only two roads. In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus said, "... 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." Yes, there are different roads, but only one goes to Heaven, and it is narrow.
In John 4, when the woman at the well met Jesus, she immediately pointed out that her people worshipped differently from His (John 4:19-20). Jesus did not reply that both roads led to the same place -- He said that one road was right and the other was wrong (John 4:22), and that if she wished to please God, her worship must be "in truth" (John 4:24).
In Acts 15:1-31, the apostles disputed with some who believed in Jesus but taught error about what one must do to be saved. Instead of concluding that there were different roads, they gave notice to the churches that one road was right and the other was wrong.
The idea of "different roads" is used to avoid discussing different religious teachings and practices. After all, does doctrine really matter if your attitude is right? Indeed it does. The Bible says that there are doctrines that God hates (Revelation 2:15), and that some doctrines are of demons (I Timothy 4:1). Taking heed to doctrine is necessary for salvation (I Timothy 4:16, II John 9), because obedience to God's "form of doctrine" is what makes one free from sin (Romans 6:17-18). Even many who believe in Jesus are on the wrong road because they do not obey (Luke 6:46, Matthew 7:21-23).
Multiple roads result when men choose their own ways, but only God's way is right. The "different roads" philosophy has led churches to abandon the question of what is right, and instead accept a wide diversity of belief. But we should not be ashamed to say that some beliefs are right, and others are wrong, because that is what God says. "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death" (Proverbs 14:12). If people are on different roads, they are not all headed for Heaven.