How frequently we hear today that there are many ways to God and that all religions are basically the same. Granted there are superficial similarities in observing the golden rule, recognising moral laws and a belief in the afterlife. Yet the more serious questions concerning who God is and what the character of God is like and the means of security for that afterlife vary tremendously. Some religions are monotheistic, others polytheistic, some pantheistic and some even Atheistic. Furthermore amongst the monotheistic religions, the nature and character of the respective representative deities differs.
In this fascinating short book of testimonies, a Hindu Priest, a Rabbi, an Imam, a Catholic Priest, and a Buddhist Monk arrive at the opposite conclusion to ecumenism and share their life stories concerning how they came to trust in Yeshua as their Saviour.
The Hindu Priest was disillusioned with the caste system and the immoral and vengeful gods of his religion. He had never studied the Bible. But he was amazed by the purity of the character of the Lord Jesus. The more he studied the Bible for himself he realised that he could not simply adopt a pick and mix approach to religion since Jesus claimed to be the only way to God (John 14:6). He came to faith and felt utter joy of having the assurance of his sins forgiven and the certainty of eternal life. The Lord Jesus had given Himself as a sacrifice and risen from the dead.
The Rabbi grew up in Poland and had experienced only animosity and antisemitism from people throwing stones at him and calling him derogatory names. He survived the holocaust though tragically his family did not. He knew from the Bible that confession alone does not forgive sin, yet he still felt unhappy and dissatisfied even following the holidays and Yom Kippur. He came to meet real followers of Jesus who loved the Jewish people and discovered that those who persecuted Jewish people throughout the ages were in direct opposition to what the New Testament taught.
He was surprised to discover that Yeshua’s lineage was from both Abraham and David. Reading Matthew’s Gospel revealed many references to the Tanakh (Old Covenant). He saw the connection between the Tanakh and the Brit Hadasha since the latter was the fulfilment of the former through the Messiah.
A week before Pesach, he met with a Jewish believer who read Isaiah 53 to him. He was both shocked and surprised that this was from the Tanakh, not the New Covenant, though he had never read it. He proceeded to read it again and again and his sole desire now is to show how Isaiah 53 speaks of the Lord Jesus as Messiah.
The Imam held a position as a professor of the Al-Azhar University in Cairo which is renowned as a prestigious Islamic university. He was frustrated however with the politically correct version of Islam presented by the university compared with other areas of Islamic teaching. His extensive studies regarding the nature of Jihad led him to question Islam.
Subsequently, he was tortured in prison and continued earnestly searching for the truth. After his release he was given a Bible and was impressed with the teaching from the Sermon on the Mount of which he had never seen anything like that before regarding loving one’s enemies. He was impressed with the character and the love of God. He had full assurance that the Lord Jesus had died for his sins and had risen from the dead. He was able to enjoy and have a person relationship with God and was humbled that God first loved him (1 John 4:19).
The Catholic Priest was incredibly devout even to the extreme of taking cold showers and self-flagellation. He prayed to St Anthony and was thoroughly versed from a Jesuit background from his youth. Ironically, it was when he went to Rome that he questioned his former beliefs since he encountered hypocrisy at the highest levels.
The turning point was when the Bible became his source of authority. He recognised that it is without error and that the position that he occupied as a mediator was entirely in opposition with what the Bible taught in 1 Timothy 2:5. He recognised that the worship of Mary, the saints and the priests was sinful and not scriptural. The Catholic Church was no longer his sole authority but instead he came to trust in the Lord Jesus as His Saviour and Lord and recognised that Messiah’s work was complete for His salvation. Moreover he had assurance of salvation not through works or the Catholic church but by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The Buddhist Monk was convicted when he and other monks were involved in debauchery on the evening of a festival remembering Buddha’s first sermon. In a nutshell he was disillusioned with the general low moral standard that he witnessed amongst other monks. He fell sick with malaria and was given a Bible whilst in hospital.
It was at this point that he questioned the character of God and how the world was created. He read Isaiah and saw the futility of idols that cannot see or hear. However he thought it was not an appropriate religion for Tibetans. But he was encouraged by a Bhutanese girl to start reading the Bible again. He was puzzled by how moral the followers of Jesus were, yet they strangely made no offerings. His faith in Buddhist gods eroded when he again read from Isaiah ‘But the idol does not answer and it cannot save (Isaiah 44:15).”
He read through the Bible and learnt that the Lord Jesus gave Himself making atonement for sin. There was no need for any further sacrifice, and he had the promise and assurance of eternal life. He had studied the Bible for three years until he repented and trusted solely in the Lord Jesus as his Saviour.
Why is Jesus so Different?
The Lord Jesus was sinless, unlike any other person and was able to atone for sin through His one sacrifice. He fulfilled scores of prophecies concerning His birth, life, miraculous ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension which is unique. He taught as no one else ever taught and His standards of morality are higher (Matthew 5-7). He rose from the grave. What other founder of a religion has achieved that? His message of salvation by grace through faith instead of working your way to heaven is different to all other beliefs. He also provides assurance of salvation through turning and trusting in Him, not in our ability to please God.