By Brannon S. Howse
Whether or not all religions are equally true can be determined by examining the character of the One who founded Christianity. Jesus makes the difference, and a fascinating story from Erwin Lutzer explains why.
Dr. Erwin Lutzer is the pastor of the historic Moody Church in downtown Chicago. He has spoken for the Worldview Weekend and is an outstanding author. In 1994, he attended in Chicago a major symposium on the religions of the world. Dr. Lutzer walked the convention center, visiting with some of the 7,000 attendees. He describes his experience in his superb book, Called:
I walked through the display area in search of a sinless prophet/teacher/Savior. I asked a Hindu Swami whether any of their teachers claimed sinlessness. “No,” he said, appearing irritated with my question, “If anyone claims he is sinless, he is not a Hindu!”
What about Buddha? No, I was told, he didn’t claim sinlessness. He found a group of ascetics and preached sermons to them. He taught that all outward things are only distractions and encouraged a life of discipline and contemplation. He sought enlightenment and urged his followers to do the same. He died seeking enlightenment. No sinlessness here.
What about Baha ullah? He claimed he had a revelation from God that was more complete and more enlightened than those before him. Though he was convinced of the truth of his teachings, he made few personal claims. He thought his writings were “more perfect” than others, but he never claimed perfection or sinlessness for himself.
When I came to the representatives of the Muslim faith, I already knew that in the Koran the prophet Mohammed admitted he was in need of forgiveness. They agreed. “There is one God, Allah, and Mohammed was not perfect.” Again, no sinlessness there.
Why was I searching for a sinless Savior? Because I don’t want to have to trust a Savior who is in the same predicament as I am. I can’t trust my eternal soul to someone who is still working through his own imperfections. Since I’m a sinner, I need someone who is standing on higher ground.
Understandably, none of the religious leaders I spoke with even claimed to have a Savior. Their prophets, they said, showed the way, but made no pretense to be able to personally forgive sins or transform so much as a single human being. Like a street sign, they gave directions, but were not able to take us where we need to go. If we need any saving, we will have to do it ourselves.
The reason is obvious: No matter how wise, no matter how gifted, no matter how influential other prophets, gurus, and teachers might be, they had the presence of mind to know that they were imperfect just like the rest of us. They never even presumed to be able to reach down into the murky water of human depravity and bring sinners into the presence of God.197
What did Jesus and those who knew Him have to say about His sinless life?
• He pointed out hypocrisy in the lives of His critics, but none of them returned the compliment: “Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me?” (John 8:46).
• Judas, an apparent friend turned enemy, testified, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood” (Matthew 27:4).
• Pilate, who badly needed to come up with a charge against Christ, confessed, “I find no fault in this man” (Luke 23:4).
• Peter, who lived with Him for three years, said He “committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth” (1 Peter 2:22).
• The apostle Paul explained that God the Father “made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Not all religions are created equal because not all founders of religions are.
Copyright 2006 ©Brannon Howse. This content is for Situation Room members and is not to be duplicated in any form or uploaded to other websites without the express written permission of Brannon Howse or his legally authorized representative.