IS THERE RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY IN HEAVEN ?
Bishop Brian J. Kennedy, O.S.B.
HOLY TRINITY CELTIC ORTHODOX CHURCH
The Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw once said, "There is only one religion, but there are a hundred versions of it." In our effort to embrace tolerance we have become victim to the thinking that error is as worthy of protection as is truth; that truth and error can peacefully coexist. Religious tolerance has become the greatest religious good, the all-consuming goal of religious people and gave rise to the heresy of Universal Salvation. Like George Bernard Shaw, they believe all religions lead to the same God and the same heaven. They believe there will be religious diversity in heaven.
Biblical Orthodoxy believes each person must make a choice and that choice must be for the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and choose to accept Jesus Christ as the Incarnate Word of God, true God and true man, and the only way to the Father; the one Mediator between God and man. Universal Salvation denies that there is no salvation apart from Christ but God’s Word teaches, “There is no other name under heaven by which man can be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
Those who believe one religion is as good as another embrace the idea that truth and error are equally valid. These people believe that it is intolerant to assert that one religion is the true religion and others, which disagree, are false. Those who accept error being as valid as truth teach salvation is possible without submission to Jesus Christ or even belief in God. Universal Salvation is the only ‘tolerant” and “loving” view. Universal Salvation says even Non-Christians can be saved, but Jesus said “but as for these enemies of mine, who do not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.” (Luke 19:27)
Universal Salvation does not require a standard Creed except be a “good person” but the truth of God’s Word teaches, “Your personal righteousness is as a filthy menstrual rag in the sight of God”. (Isaiah 64:6) Universal Salvation denies the Scriptures are the Word of God that must be followed by all mankind. The Scriptures are clear that all men are not saved, even though it is the will of God that none should perish; God will not reward sin and apostasy with the beatific vision.
God will not reward with the blessing of the promises of Christ and the promises of God’s Word those who kiss the Koran and call the Koran a holy book.
The inescapable conclusion for those teaching Universal Salvation is no one religion possesses the entire truth, but only bits and pieces of it. If the Hindu or the Muslim and other pagan groups can be saved and will find safe harbor in Heaven, then it must be false that Jesus is the only way to the Father, but Jesus teaches “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one goes to the Father save through me.” (John 14: 6)
If those worshipping pagan gods can be saved we can no longer assert there is but one God. If all religions are equal and have a right to be tolerated than all religions contain error as well as truth. The contrasting teachings cannot be reconciled without redefining the truth beyond recognition. Such redefinition of truth at best diminishes truth as being no longer absolute and at worst is a denial of truth. Both views are an abomination in the sight of God and will provoke God’s righteous anger and condemnation. There is no religious diversity in heaven.
Universal Salvation denies the basic tenants of Christianity: “Truly, truly I say to you unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God” ( John 3:5) This is not a suggestion, it is a fact and a command. “Unless you eat the body and drink the blood of the son of man you have no life in you.” (John 6: 53) It is not a suggestion, it is a command.
There will be no religious diversity in heaven. Only those who belong to Christ can have synergy with the Father and without synergy with the Father in Christ only perdition and condemnation await the soul in eternity.
ONLY IN HELL IS THERE RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY