Our church goes once a month to feed the homeless at St. Vincent De Paul. Many times there are other groups there serving with us. Today it was a Roman Catholic church. So I happened to be assigned to work with someone who was from that Catholic Church. We had a lot of great conversation about many topics. Faith/religion came up many times. One time in particular she’d mentioned a rosary and I said that my Dad was Catholic but he never really explained what it was. I heard her mention Mary and how Mary intercedes for us to bring us closer to Jesus. I kindly asked her where that practice comes from. – like is it based in some particular scripture passage? She mentioned that a lot of her other non denominational friends had asked her similar questions.
She also talked about how she was very close with certain Saints in that she actually prays to them. Again, I asked her was that based on a particular Bible verse or passage? She said no it wasn’t. In fact she admitted that she ought to be able to defend what she believes and why she believes it, but she just doesn’t have the time. She said that she just trusts the priests and others of high position in her church – they have advanced degrees and are well studied in these topics, so who am I to question them?
We then got talking about other things. For example, she had mentioned that she doesn’t question people about their faith – as long as they’re sincere, the Lord will “take them home”. For example, she said she has a Buddhist friend, a Muslim friend, and she said she prays for the Muslim friend. I assured her, that there’s nothing wrong with praying for her Muslim friend. She also mentioned that she actually has some Buddhist books, and that they have some good principles in them. She said that she would never discourage someone from practicing their faith – that she would never try to get someone to believe in Jesus – to push her religion on them.
She then talked about how non-denominational folks like me, are so much into evangelism. And she said she’s not good at that. She asked me if I thought people from other religions would be going to hell. I told her yes they would. Especially if they rejected Jesus. But I also clarified that all of humanity – including myself – is headed to an eternity separated from God, without the saving work of Jesus Christ. I mentioned John 15:22 where Jesus said “if I had not come in spoken to them, they would not have been guilty as sin. But now they have no excuse for their sin”. After I told her that people of other faiths – if they don’t believe in Jesus – will be going to hell, she disputed that. And I asked her “what do you think Jesus’ is opinion was on that?” She said that oh, Jesus talked to many other faiths! Jesus talked to Pharisees, Jesus talked to the Samaritan woman, Jesus talk to the Jewish leaders and to the tax collectors and sinners, he would talk to many different faith. I asked her to consider what he was saying to them. He told the Jews that “if you do not believe that I am he, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24), he also told is told his disciples “I am the way and the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). He also said “there is a judge for the one who rejects mean does not accept my words” (John 12:48). So, it is absolutely clear that Jesus communicated that He is the only way of salvation – He was not a religious pluralist and would not have encouraged people to simply practice whatever faith they had. She seemed stunned by the information.