I had an interesting conversation with a wonderful woman today. She is an adult woman with a very diverse religious upbringing. She has had family involved in Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and many other hip new-agey type movements. And she has for some time experienced Jesus as one to whom she wants to give her life. She wants to become a Christian. As such she wants to be baptized, which is where I came in. One of my roles at Real Life (the church where I serve) is to meet people interested in baptism, help them understand what baptism really is (not, as most think, just one more self-help technique to take control of your life and get a fresh start), evaluate if it is something they are in the right place to undergo, etc.
Our conversations have revolved mostly around the question of other faiths, as you might imagine. Her concern is that she wants to follow Jesus but she doesn’t want to have to condemn all the other religious experiences she’s both seen and had for herself, many of which she experienced as very God-directed and, in her words, “enlightening.” My main concern was that she recognize Jesus as more than simply “the path she had chosen” and that she desire that all people come to know Jesus in the life-giving, saving way she is coming to know him.
But the whole thing has raised a question for me. What do we have to be against to be considered, according to you, a faithful follower of Jesus? Does the question make sense? Specifically, what do you think she should think about these other religions, religious people, and religious experiences? I’d love, love, love to hear your thoughts on this, whether you are a follower of Jesus or not, whether you think you have something to say or not. I’m looking for gut reactions here, and I’m honestly searching for an answer myself.
Think also about Romans 10.9: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” She has and she does. Do we truly believe this is enough?