Pontius Pilate asked Jesus in John 18:30 “what is truth.” In spiritual things, truth is variously defined. Inclusiveism says just be true to your particular religion and you will be saved. Syncretism says that all religions are essentially the same. They all contain the truth.
The Roman Catholic Church believes that the truth resides in the Pope. When he speaks “ex cathedra” which means “from the chair”, his teachings are infallible and must be followed by all Christians, not just Roman Catholics.
Mormonism also claims to speak for God. The prophet Joseph Smith had a revelation that polygamy became God’s will. Then another revelation that stated that polygamy is not only God’s will but essential for the highest level of salvation.
In 1890 another revelation came to President Wilford Woodruff. Speaking as all Mormon presidents do—in the office of “prophet, seer and revelator”—Woodruff declared polygamy at an end. This was no longer God’s will.
As LDS president Ezra Taft Benson declared years later “A living prophet trumps a dead prophet”. What God reveals today outweighs what God revealed in the past. If Mormons did not believe this they would not have adopted a whole host of doctrines which are now vital to their faith and nowhere found in the book of Mormon. These include baptism for the dead, eventual exaltation to godhood, celestial marriage, varying levels of heaven, and avoiding tobacco, caffeine, alcohol just to name a few.
Muslims see Mohammad as the successor of all the prophets of the Old Testament. His teachings, embodied in the Quran are viewed as the incomparable, infallible, and final revelation from God, confirming all previous revelations. Muslims believe the previous revelations are texturally corrupted. The Quran is the culmination of God’s revelation to humanity and kept incorruptible by Allah. To disrespect the Quran is a grave insult to Muslims, the most heinous act a person can commit.
Here we have three religions all claiming to speak for God. Who is right? The answer is they are all wrong. How do we know this? Joseph Smith, Mohammad and all popes die. Several weeks ago I preached on Acts 17 when Paul spoke in the midst of the Areopagas. He was proving to them the folly of their idolatry and their worship of men and man’s ideas in place of God. The one thing that makes Jesus Christ the one true source of knowledge and truth is the resurrection. In Acts 17:31 Paul said: “…He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”
Derek Thomas said: “What the Athenians must have found galling was Paul’s exclusivity. It was Christ or damnation. There was no middle ground. There was no sense of the world’s religions having some good in them, some sparks that lead them to a right course, still less of their having equal validity. Instead, they were damnable errors in which there could be found not a trace of hope for salvation. What was it for the apostle that sealed the exclusivity of Jesus Christ, making all other religions void? It was His resurrection.”
Jesus Christ said in John 17:17: “Sanctify them by your truth. Your word is truth.” (Emphasis mine). Christ alone, not any man or religion holds the key to truth and salvation. There is no other revelation to be given than that which has been clearly stated in the word of God.
See you Sunday.