Years ago I flew from LAX to New York on one of my many business trips for Marvel Productions. This particular trip I had a window seat. Sitting next to me in the aisle seat was a young medical doctor of the Baha’i faith. I know this, because as we flew over Chicago he asked if he could lean over and look out the window to see the Baha’i temple located in WiImette, Illinois (one of nine Baha’i temples in the world). I don’t know how he expected to see anything at 35,000 feet, but I told him to be my guest. He thanked me, sat back in his seat after viewing whatever, and then told me a little about himself and his beliefs. I told him about Jesus.
Briefly, for those who do not know, the Baha’i faith teaches that there have been several divine messengers over the millennia, each one addressing the need of a particular group of people at a particular time. Included in the list of messengers are Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Krishna, Buddha, and Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i faith.
The Baha’i faith posits three unities at its core: the unity of God, the unity of religion, and the unity of humanity. Concerning the unity of God, God is One (there is no Trinity), He is all powerful, omniscient, omnipresent, and Creator. Sadly, He is inaccessible. That is, He is transcendent over creation, mindful of what goes on here, but there is no direct access to Him.
With the unity of religion there is the belief that all religions come from God. Each one is a divine manifestation for a time and place and purpose, and each one, in its own way, points to and leads back to God. Each religion has validity and merit.
Finally, the unity of humanity holds that there is a universal brotherhood of Man. All men are equal in God’s sight, regardless of race, creed or religion. Anything such as nationalism, race-, gender-, political-, social-, financial-, or caste-based hierarchies, are seen as impediments to the unity of man.
There is much merit in these three unities, and they may sound good to many in today’s pluralistic and relativistic world. It all sounded good to the young doctor sitting beside me, but, concerning Baha’is views on the unity of religion, I told him gently that all roads do not lead to God. Only one does. That piqued his interest.
Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).
One might ask how a carpenter from Nazareth could have the audacity to say such a thing. How exclusionary can you get! Unless it is true.
According to Scripture, Jesus is the only begotten (not made) Son of God. It was through Jesus that God spoke the galaxies and worlds into existence, and they are held together by the word of His power (Heb 1:2-3, Col 1:17). All the fulness of the Godhead dwells in Him (Col 1:19). Through Jesus God has spoken to us in these last days (Heb 1:2)). In short: Jesus can say anything He wants, and whatever He says is truth!
I told the young doctor that Jesus came to earth to give His life as a ransom for many. Through the death and resurrection of His Son, God has made the way for sinful man to be reconciled to Him. He has opened the veil that once separated us. Through Jesus God is not only approachable but He brings us into glorious sonship, whereby we cry, “Abba, Father!”
Nothing that man can conceive; no religion, no matter how reasonable or egalitarian it may sound, can save from everlasting hell. No religion can reconcile sinful man to holy God. To believe otherwise is foolish.
For the remainder of my flight I shared the gospel with the doctor. I told him that Jesus loved him, had died, was buried, and was resurrected for him. He listened. The Holy Spirit was clearly at work in this man’s life, for by the end of the flight he had decided to follow Jesus, the only way of salvation. At 35,000 feet he saw the Way into the holy of holies in a temple not made by human hands, where he could worship the one true God in spirit and in truth.
The point of this anecdote is not that we badger everyone we come in contact with the gospel, but that we should be ready when the Spirit opens an opportunity. We should “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season” (2 Tim 4:2). God used me that day not because I was a super saint, but because I was willing to be used, out of season.
This world, particularly our young people, desperately needs to hear the truth of the gospel spoken in love, lived out in daily activity. All roads do not lead to heaven. As Jesus said, “the broad way leads to destruction” (Matt 7:13). Only as we enter through the narrow gate of Jesus Christ do we find life. We find true Light.
As Christ followers, we are bearers of that Light. I confess that I was bolder in my earlier days. The command to make disciples of all nations burned brightly in me. I pray that the fire that once compelled me to share the gospel with people like the young doctor, would be fanned into flame by the breath of the Holy Spirit. I pray this on behalf of anyone reading this, as well.