Part 2: "How shall I answer?"

A Plea to Those Who Are of Other Religions!

The reluctance of those in the churches of Christ to agree that salvation is possible
through another religion is due, not to a hateful attitude, not to a desire to condemn others to
hell, not a desire to feel "holier than thou". Whether you agree with us or not, please do not
judge our motives. Your questions  should  be,  do  these  people respect God and truth? Should
they try to please me or God? The inspired word of God records the conflict between those who
wanted to follow "another gospel",and the apostle Paul who warned that those who sought to
please men would not be servants of Christ (Gal. 1:6-11).

Without doubt, most of the members of the various religions of the world are sincere.
There are devout Muslims, Hindus, and Jews who do not accept Jesus as Savior and Lord.  They
are good moral people by the world's standards. However, either Jesus is a liar, or he is the only
way to the Father in Heaven (John 14:6).  If people can be saved without accepting Jesus, then
salvation is possible by "good works", but Ephesians 2:8,9 teaches that salvation is by grace
through faith, not simply the result of being "good". Since all have sinned (Rom.3:23), and
through sin death came into the world (Rom. 5:12), we need to be freed from sin and death. That
happens when we obey Christ (Rom.6:16-18) and are buried with him by baptism into his death,
and are raised to a new life (Rom. 6:3-11). When we are baptized into Christ, we are also
baptized into his body (I Cor.  12:12-13).   For this reason, we conclude that every person who
believes in Christ, repents of sin, confesses Christ as the Son of God, and is baptized for the
remission of sins, is saved from all sins of the past.  That person is added to the church we read
about in Acts 2:47. That person is just a Christian, and a member of the Lord's body (or church). 
If that individual continues to live and worship as taught in the New Testament, when judgment
day comes there will be nothing to fear. However, if that individual refuses to follow Christ's
plan for Christian life and worship, the rebellion and/or neglect will condemn the soul. (See II
Pet.2:20-22 and I Cor. 9:25-27.)

Every Christian could probably do better in his service to God. Every congregation
could probably find areas to improve. But is there any chance that churches of Christ today
might be identified with churches of  the New Testament?  Are you willing to study further to
find out? Even if you find from further study that a particular congregation of the church of
Christ is not what it ought to be -- even if you find none of them to be up to Christ's standard for
a faithful church -- even then, the truth will remain. Christ died on the cross to purchase His
church (Acts 20:28). His church is built on the fact that Jesus is the Son of God (Mt. 16:16-
18), and salvation is found only in the name of Christ  (Acts 4:12).  These are truths directly
from God's Word, and no effort of man or unfaithfulness of His people will change this.
Whatever you have heard about us, either from others or from our own lips, please do yourself
the favor  of studying  the Bible  with  an unprejudiced  mind.   As you come  to greater
understanding,  obey what you understand. If you continue in this way, you will find the truth
that gives freedom from sin, and the hope of eternal life. If you share what you learn with others,
perhaps they too can share your hope.

If the teachings of this pamphlet are not right, please contact me and show me by
scripture so I can correct my own thinking. If these things make sense to you and seem to be
what God's Word teaches, please accept them. God loves us, and if we love Him, we will obey
Him (II John 6; I John 5:3).

Kenneth L. Thomas

I originally wrote this in response to a question (asked on May 17, 1991) from a person I had
never met before. My frustration with not having both a truthful and a helpful answer bothered
me so much that I decided I would never be caught off guard by this particular question. Much
prayerful thought has gone into this answer, and if there is anything you, the reader, need to
have clarified, please contact me by mail at 515 Upland Court, Murfreesboro, TN 37129, or send
e-mail to

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