Now that a CEO can be forced from his job because he once contributed to a pro-heterosexual-marriage campaign, and a baker cannot legally refuse to bake a cake celebrating a “wedding” that he believes violates God’s law, don’t look for secularists to pause from their labors on Good Friday. Rather, expect them to continue to pummel a religion they think rejects diversity by upholding bride-groom marriage, but by insisting there’s only one way to God. That would be Christianity.
The defining event of the faith takes place at Easter, when the God-man Jesus voluntarily gave His life to mend the love bond between a fallen humanity and its perfect Creator. The Christian Bible many times plainly states that belief in Jesus’ sacrificial act is the one and only way to reconciliation with God. Jesus himself said it: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 His disciple Peter said it: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12. His disciple John said it: “He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.” I John 5:10, 11
But the secular world asks: how can a loving God be so mean-spirited and elitist as to limit His favors so narrowly? Wouldn’t a fair and forgiving God welcome into His heaven anybody whose personal bad behavior falls short of murder, rape or theft? Shouldn’t God join in the modern moral crusade to give everybody a trophy just for showing up, and an “E” for effort even if they don’t complete the test?
Many voices, even from the pulpit, today agree that God needs a lesson in tolerance from our all-accepting culture. They’re editing and often eliminating the words of Jesus and his disciples to make Christianity more marketable by making it more inclusive. If God’s requirement for salvation through Jesus Christ seems too harsh, it’s gentled down to some mellow version of “God’s grace accepts everyone,” or “All God asks is that you try to be a good person.” And in the pews of the Church of Anything Goes, all the people said, “Amen!”
Just one problem: if Jesus’ death and resurrection aren’t absolutely necessary for humanity’s salvation, then Easter Sunday becomes one big hideously purposeless bloodbath. If there are many ways to God, the deity is either a fool who made a terrible mistake or a sadistic child-murderer. We can probably agree that the Creator of the Universe is not a fool. And why would God put His only child through a horribly cruel death if indeed there were any other way to bring humanity back to reunion with Him?
Obviously, there must be no other way than to accept that: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Despite secularists’ complaints, God’s invitation is not sexist or ageist or genderist or nationalist or restricted in any way; in fact He generously offers it to the entire world. Still, many who say they believe in the Christian God find Jesus to be a deal-breaker.
But why? Certainly most of us would rather think we’re not so bad that God’s Son had to die in agony to save us. And for today’s enlightened secularist who believes that man is basically good and utopian perfection just a few more government edicts away, the idea of a Redeemer is not only unnecessary, but highly insulting. Yet simply consulting the headlines from around the world on any given day should dispel the notion that humanity has no need of God’s rescuing love. Now, more than ever, we need Easter.
Joy Overbeck is a Colorado journalist and author Read her quirky God blog at www.godsayshi.org