Skeptical members of the clergy and organizations such as the Christian Research Institute are often highly critical of NDEs and view them as a tremendous threat to the Christian faith and their parishes. They accuse the Being of Light to be a sinister lying devil masquerading as an angel of light preaching a different gospel because he’s not interested in theology. Some Christian skeptics believe the Being of Light only mimics the real Jesus of the Bible in order to lead the flock away from the Biblical Jesus and the authority of Church. This article makes the case using Bible references to support the claim that the “NDE Jesus” is the same Jesus as recorded the Bible; and NDEs are not a phenomenon of Satan.
Table of Contents
- Does the NDE Jesus say and do things contrary to the Biblical Jesus?
- Does the NDE Jesus say death is good and not to be feared?
- Does the NDE Jesus say sin is not a problem?
- Does the NDE Jesus say there is no hell?
- Does the NDE Jesus say non-Christians go to heaven?
- Does the NDE Jesus say all religions are valid?
- Does the NDE Jesus lead people away from the Biblical Jesus?
- Does the NDE Jesus have a lesser view of the Bible?
- Does the NDE Jesus not have an interest in correct doctrine?
- Doesn’t it raise a red flag that the Being of Light is also the God of non-Christians?
- Doesn’t the Biblical Jesus’ teachings make the NDE Jesus a lying spirit?
- Isn’t the NDE Jesus actually Satan trying to lead people to hell?
- Is Jesus, the individual and personality, the only way to heaven?
- Does the Biblical Jesus’ greatest commandment to love make his sacrifice on the cross unnecessary?
- Does a person trying to live a perfect life make it to heaven?
- Does the belief of NDE testimony lead to rejecting the Word of God?
- Does excluding Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross in your theology make you a heretic?
- Must NDE testimony correspond with the Bible to be valid?
- Must NDE testimony mention that Jesus is the only way to heaven to be valid?
- Does placing a high value on NDEs and not wanting to limit Jesus to a book – mean the NDE Jesus is false?
- Does believing in a fallible Bible mean you cannot use it as an authority?
- Does the Bible invalidate other religions that don’t teach Jesus is the son of God?
- Does believing in universal salvation contradict Jesus’ teachings that the road to heaven is narrow?
- Is Christianity the only valid religion?
- Was Jesus the only person having the Holy Spirit dwell within him?
- Does John 3:16 say everyone who believes in Jesus has eternal life and those who don’t will perish?
- Can a Christian go to heaven if they don’t believe Jesus is the only way to heaven?
- Are people saved by faith alone and not by performing good works?
- Are you suggesting there are contradictions between the teachings of Jesus and the teachings of Paul?
As a seeker of the truth who has studied Christian theology and NDEs extensively for decades, I am saddened when I hear the misrepresentation of NDEs by fundamentalist leaders in the Christian Church. Testimonies of people encountering Christ in NDEs are often so spiritually beautiful, lovely and filled with light. Such Christian critics are zealous defenders of the Christian tradition which is admirable; but I believe their uninformed criticism of the divine revelations found in NDEs might be a dangerous thing to do. In their harsh treatment of the NDE phenomenon, I believe they may be rushing into forbidden labyrinths where even angels fear to tread. This kind of misunderstanding is often the result of not recognizing divine spiritual phenomenon when viewed through the lens of a very narrow and literal interpretation of the Bible. Thankfully, the Jesus as revealed in the Bible (i.e., the “Biblical Jesus”) gave us the proper method to distinguish truth from falsehood. This article uses this method to recognize truth from falsehood concerning the Jesus as revealed in NDEs (i.e., the “NDE Jesus“) and presents the case that the “Biblical Jesus” is the same as the “NDE Jesus.”
2. Does the NDE Jesus say and do things contrary to the Biblical Jesus?
The following are rebuttals against the arguments of a well-known Christian seminary professor and critic of the NDE. In his book the professor discounts all NDEs as not conforming to his narrow interpretation of the Bible and concludes NDEs are the work of the devil.
Professor: Who is the Being of Light reported in NDEs? It has been claimed by some people that one of the Beings of Light is Jesus Christ. This seems to be wrong because this being says and does things contrary to the Jesus in the Bible. Since Jesus never changes (Hebrews 13:8) it would be impossible for this Being of Light to be the same Jesus revealed in the Bible.
Rebuttal: There are many “Beings” of Light appearing in NDEs. The Bible declares God is light (1 John 1:5). People in the higher spirit realms emanate this light that is God. A “Being of Light” in NDEs can be literally anyone: Jesus, Buddha, the Hindu god of death, an angel, or even a deceased loved one for example. It usually depends on the person’s religious and cultural background. NDEs reveal that God’s light is manifested within everything in the spirit realm.
Also, the Being of Light in NDEs cannot be counterfeit because these Beings passes the test given by Jesus to distinguish truth from falsehood. It is the test to determine whether the spirit is of God or not.
“Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God ..” (1 John 4:1)
Jesus himself gives us the test. According to the gospels, Jesus was accused by the religious leaders of performing his miracles by the power of Satan. This is the same accusation the professor brings against the Being of Light in NDEs. This accusation is made against the NDE Jesus even though he bears an incredible amount of love, joy, peace, and all the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus’ reply to his accusers is:
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you … Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.” (Matthew 12:24-37)
The fruit that Jesus refers to is the fruit of the Holy Spirit:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
Anyone familiar with the NDE Jesus knows he gives an astonishing amount of love, joy, peace, etc. Jesus made it very clear how Satan cannot produce such fruit of the Spirit:
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” (Matthew 7:15-20)
But what about the light from the Being of Light? We know God is light; but does Satan emit light as well? Some Christian skeptics of the NDE use the following Bible verse to make the case that the NDE Jesus is actually Satan.
“Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14)
Notice how the verse says Satan “masquerades” as an angel of light. But it does not say Satan actually is an angel of light. Satan may appear to be a “good tree,” but Satan is totally devoid of light and the fruits of the Holy Spirit. So Satan has the ability to deceive some people into believing he is an angel of light. But we cannot be deceived if we recognize the Spirit of truth from the spirit of falsehood by using the test given by Jesus. In using his test, we must ask ourselves: is there “good fruit” emanating from the Being of Light or NDE Jesus? If so, then this Being or spirit must be of God. If there are no good fruit emanating from this Being or spirit, then the spirit must be of Satan.
It should be obvious to anyone who is even slightly familiar with the Being of Light (or the NDE Jesus) how the test given by the Biblical Jesus confirms the Being of Light to be of God and not Satan. In fact, NDEs reveal the Being of Light in NDEs emits an astonishing amount of light from God and an astonishing amount of unconditional love towards everyone. Experiencing an overwhelming amount of love is the most common and greatest characteristic found in my research of 50 NDEs I profile on this website.
God is light (1 John 1:5). There is no light in darkness. Nor is there darkness in light. Satan is unable to appear as an angel of light because he cannot bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit. The tremendous light from the Being of Light can only come from God. Even NDEs not involving a Being of Light produce vast amounts of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Also, there are very serious consequences of attributing divine phenomenon to the workings of Satan. When Jesus was accused of performing miracles by the power of Satan, he told his accusers:
“And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” (Matthew 12:31-32)
Jesus made it very clear the grave consequences of attributing to Satan the works of the Holy Spirit. Like Jesus’ accusers, the professor and many other critics are quick to declare the Being of Light and the NDE Jesus to be Satan. They are probably unaware how dangerously close they are to blaspheming the Holy Spirit – something Jesus said cannot be forgiven “either in this age or in the age to come” (i.e., two lifetimes).
The false idea that the NDE Jesus is sinister or Satan himself, ignores common sense. Dr. Raymond Moody is considered the father of the NDE and he responded to this kind of criticism in his book entitled The Last Laugh:
“Fervent critics see nothing amiss in preaching to Aunt Florene, bereft and kindly and fragile though she may be, that it was not really the spirit of Uncle Hamperd who visited her last week to comfort her and to tell her where he put those important papers. No, it was actually a malignant demon disguised as uncle Hamperd, there to lure her into Hell, so she had better go home and read the Bible. The doctrine that the Devil can disguise himself as Christ must be particularly troubling to fundamentalist authorities as they consider the possibilities of pediatric NDEs. Does God permit Satan to fool dying kids by masquerading as Jesus? Or is God powerless to prevent that kind of Satanic deception? If so, common decency dictates that funda-Christian NDExperts urgently prepare clear, precise instructions that will enable desperately ill, dying pre-schoolers to distinguish a Satanophanic Jesus from the real, true funda-Christian one. And would God allow the Devil to sneak up on a dying toddler by appearing as Santa Claus or Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell or the Easter Bunny?” (Dr. Raymond Moody)
To demonstrate how foolish the skeptical professor’s arguments are, here is a direct quote from the professor’s own book on how the Being of Light is a counterfeit Jesus:
“Even if the loving, brilliantly illuminated being you meet during a near-death experience introduces himself as Jesus, and looks just like him from the paintings, don’t believe him for a minute! You’ve got to put him to the professor’s ideological test first. Jesus has to pass the professor’s Bible exam, before he can even be him!” (Professor)
The professor is wrong because uses his own test for distinguishing truth from falsehood and not the test given by the Biblical Jesus. Any NDE which bears the fruit of the Holy Spirit passes Christ’s test and must not be attributed to Satan. It would be blasphemous to do otherwise according to the Biblical Jesus..
In 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, Paul describes his own NDE when encountering the resurrected Christ on the road to Damascus.
“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know – God knows. And I know that this man – whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows – was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.” (2 Corinthians 12:2-4)
By using the idiom “I know a man,” Paul is actually referring to himself. Paul writes how his NDE was inexpressible and how people were not permitted to talk about such things in his day. NDE testimony may have been too lofty for first century Christians to understand. This may also be true for twentieth century professors.
3. Does the NDE Jesus say death is good and not to be feared?
Professor: Some believe many of the people having NDEs encounter a counterfeit Jesus. The Beings of Light appearing in NDEs teach the idea that death is good and is not to be feared.
Rebuttal: This is not true. NDEs in general reveal how people who are not prepared for death often have negative or hellish experiences. Not being prepared for death should put fear in the hearts everyone according to NDE testimony. A case in point is Reverend Howard Storm‘s NDE testimony. Before his NDE, Storm was an atheist and treated people very badly accordingly by his own admission. Like many atheists, he did not believe in an afterlife or that there were consequences for his bad behavior after death. Storm was not prepared for death when he died; thus, he ended up in hell with other souls who continually abuse each other. The following is an excerpt from Storm’s NDE testimony of hell which reveals why people who are unprepared for death should be fearful of death:
“A wild orgy of frenzied taunting, screaming and hitting ensued. I fought like a wild man. All the while it was obvious that they were having great fun. It seemed to be, almost, a game for them, with me as the center-piece of their amusement. My pain became their pleasure. They seemed to want to make me hurt by clawing at me and biting me. Whenever I would get one off me, there were five more to replace the one. By this time it was almost complete darkness, and I had the sense that instead of there being twenty or thirty, there were an innumerable host of them. Each one seemed set on coming in for the sport they got from hurting me. My attempts to fight back only provoked greater merriment. They began to physically humiliate me in the most degrading ways. As I continued to fight on and on, I was aware that they weren’t in any hurry to win. They were playing with me just as a cat plays with a mouse. Every new assault brought howls of cacophony. Then at some point, they began to tear off pieces of my flesh. To my horror I realized I was being taken apart and eaten alive, slowly, so that their entertainment would last as long a possible. At no time did I ever have any sense that the beings who seduced and attacked me were anything other than human beings. The best way I can describe them is to think of the worst imaginable person stripped of every impulse to do good … Basically they were a mob of beings totally driven by unbridled cruelty and passions. During our struggle I noticed that they seemed to feel no pain … Fighting well and hard for a long time, ultimately I was spent. Lying there exhausted amongst them, they began to calm down since I was no longer the amusement that I had been. Most of the beings gave up in disappointment because I was no longer amusing, but a few still picked and gnawed at me and ridiculed me for no longer being any fun. By this time I had been pretty much taken apart. People were still picking at me, occasionally, and I just lay there all torn up, unable to resist.” (Rev. Howard Storm)
Storm’s testimony reveals how fearful we should be about treating others badly, especially when we are not prepared for the consequences after death. Hellish NDEs are frequently reported in NDE studies; so it is false to claim the NDE Jesus teaches death is good and should not be feared.
4. Does the NDE Jesus say sin is not a problem?
Professor: The Being of Light identified as Jesus in NDEs teaches that sin is not a problem. In fact, the Being of Light believed to be Jesus often responds to human sin and shortcomings with humor.
Rebuttal: This is not true. Many NDE experiencers describe how living a life of treating people badly can lead to major problems after death. In fact, the NDE Jesus often appears to be saddened about the sinful condition of humanity. Dr. George Ritchie and his NDE is a case in point. During his NDE, Dr. Ritchie noticed how sad Jesus was for those temporarily trapped in hell because of their own sin.
“If I suspected that I was seeing hell, now I was sure of it. These creatures seemed locked into habits of mind and emotion, into hatred, lust, destructive thought-patterns. Even more hideous than the bites and kicks they exchanged, were the sexual abuses many were performing in feverish pantomime. Perversions I had never dreamed of were being vainly attempted all around us. It was impossible to tell if the howls of frustration which reached us were actual sounds or only the transference of despairing thoughts. Indeed in this disembodied world it didn’t seem to matter. Whatever anyone thought, however fleetingly or unwillingly, was instantly apparent to all around him, more completely than words could have expressed it, faster than sound waves could have carried it. And the thoughts most frequently communicated had to do with the superior knowledge, or abilities, or background of the thinker. ‘I told you so!’ and ‘I always knew!’ ‘Didn’t I warn you!’ were shrieked into the echoing air over and over … Once again, however, no condemnation came from the presence at my side, only a compassion for these unhappy creatures that was breaking his heart. What was keeping them here? Why didn’t each one just get up and leave? I could see no reason why the person being screamed at by that man with the contorted face didn’t simply walk away. Or why that young woman didn’t put a thousand miles between herself and the other one who was so furiously beating her with insubstantial fists? They couldn’t actually hold onto their victims, any of these insanely angry beings. There were no fences. Nothing apparently prevented them from simply going off alone. Unless – unless there was no alone in this realm of disembodied spirits. No private corners in a universe where there were no walls. No place that was not inhabited by other beings to whom one was totally exposed at all times. What was it going to be like, I thought with sudden panic, to live forever where my most private thoughts were not private at all? No disguising them, no covering them up, no way to pretend I was anything but what I actually was. How unbearable. Unless of course everyone around me had the same kind of thoughts – Unless there was a kind of consolation in finding others as loathsome as one’s self, even if all we could do was hurl our venom at each other. Perhaps this was the explanation for this hideous plain. Perhaps in the course of eons or of seconds, each creature here had sought out the company of others as pride and hate-filled as himself, until together they formed this society of the damned. Perhaps it was not Jesus who had abandoned them, but they who had fled from the light that showed up their darkness.” (Dr. George Ritchie, see also the full archive version of his NDE).
5. Does the NDE Jesus say there is no hell?
Professor: The Being of Light identified as Jesus in NDEs teaches that there is no hell to worry about.
Rebuttal: This is not true. The NDE examples of Dr. George Ritchie‘s and Reverend Howard Storm above are perfect examples of the NDE Jesus teaching how there is a hell. So let’s be clear here, there are many hell realms experienced in NDEs.
Perhaps the professor meant to say: the NDE Jesus teaches there is no “eternal damnation.” This would be a true statement. The NDE Jesus teaches hell is neither eternal nor about retribution. It is all about rehabilitation. Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son supports this. The NDE hell realms are temporary spiritual conditions which function more like the Catholic concept of purgatory. NDEs reveal there is no condemnation after death except self-condemnation. The NDE Jesus, having the unconditional love of God, condemns no one. It is a person’s life review which causes many people to flee the light and escape into the darkness. This is supported by the Biblical Jesus:
“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” (John 3:19-21)
The NDE God would never allow anyone to suffer eternally in hell. For one thing, the NDE Jesus rescues NDErs suffering in hell all the time – Reverend Howard Storm’s NDE is a good example. Multitudes of NDEs describe how God’s love for his children is unconditional, infinite and beyond human comprehension – and we are ALL sons and daughters of God. More than an earthly parent, our “Heavenly Parent” as revealed in NDEs would never allow even one of his children to suffer forever in hell. Many NDEs even describe angelic-like beings constantly caring for people in hell although they may not be aware of it. Dr. George Ritchie’s NDE is a good example of this.
The NDE Jesus wants everyone to know the gates of heaven and hell are wide open and those in hell are free to leave and choose heaven if they desire. But people in hell must first want to escape from there. The gates of a jail cell may be wide open; but the prisoner must want to be free and leave. Certainly, free will is one of the greatest gifts God has bestowed upon humanity. The NDE God does not force anyone to heaven or hell. However, the NDE Jesus often gives experiencers “an offer they cannot refuse” in order to entice them to return to life. Such offers include showing the experiencer: (1) visions of future children they must raise, (2) visions of living children who need them to return, or (3) information that their mission in life hasn’t been completed.
However, on another level, a case can be made for the existence of eternal damnation. Time does not exist in the afterlife. NDE experiencers of hell have reported how one minute in hell feels like an eternity. The Bible supports this notion: “One day to God is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day” (2 Peter 3:8). Also, it is possible for hell to be an “eternal hell” – an eternal location in the afterlife. But this doesn’t necessarily mean it is an eternal experience for those who go there.
Nor does the Biblical Jesus teach eternal damnation. Jesus’ parables of the Prodigal Son, the Lost Sheep, and the Lost Coin should be enough evidence of Jesus teaching universal salvation. There is also abundant evidence in the Bible of Jesus teaching reincarnation (bodily resurrection) as a way of giving sinners as many opportunities as it takes to attain heaven.
6. Does the NDE Jesus say that non-Christians go to heaven?
Professor: The Being of Light identified as Jesus in NDEs teaches that all people are welcome to heaven regardless of whether or not they are a Christian.
Rebuttal: This is true. The Biblical Jesus also teaches how a person’s religious affiliation doesn’t matter when going to heaven. Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan supports this. In fact, the Bible contains enough scriptural evidence to prove universal reconciliation. Nevertheless, the following is my apologetics on why the Biblical Jesus also teaches universal salvation:
Biblical Evidence for Universal Salvation
God wills everyone to be saved (1 Timothy 2:3-6) and no one can thwart God’s will (Job 42:2). God doesn’t want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9) and all people will see God’s salvation (Luke 3:5-6). God is savior of all people (1 Timothy 4:9-10) and God saved the world through Jesus (John 3:17). Jesus came to save the world (John 12:47). Jesus tasted death for everyone (Hebrews 2:9). He is the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). He took away the sins of the world (John 1:29). He justifies and gives life to all people (Romans 5:18-21). All will be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22). He is the savior of the world (John 4:42, 1 John 4:14).
At the cross, Jesus redeemed and reconciled all sinners (Romans 5:8-10) and reconciled all things to himself (Colossians 1:19-21). God has reconciled the world to himself (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). Christ draws all people to himself (John 12:32).
God doesn’t cast off anyone forever (Lamentations 3:31-33). God has mercy on all the disobedient (Romans 11:32). God helps all who fall (Psalm 145:14). God dwells with the rebellious (Psalm 68:18). Jesus finds and saves all of the lost (Luke 15:4). Jesus finds those who go astray (Matthew 18:10-14). God does not stay angry forever but delights in showing mercy (Micah 7:18). God’s anger lasts only a moment (Psalm 30:5).
God is love (1 John 4:7-8). God loves everyone (Psalm 145:9). Love keeps no record of wrongs and always protects (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). God is merciful to all (Luke 6:35-36). Love does no harm (Romans 13:10). Nothing can separate people from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39).
All of God’s creation will praise and honor God and Christ (Revelation 5:13). Christ is Lord of the dead and the living (Romans 14:9). God will bring unity to all things under Christ (Ephesians 1:9-10).
7. Does the NDE Jesus say all religions are valid?
Professor: The Being of Light identified as Jesus in NDEs teach that all religions are valid.
Rebuttal: This is not true. The Jesus in NDEs states that God does not care about a person’s religion – only the condition of their heart. Many NDEs show that a person’s religious beliefs (or lack thereof) can make the difference in how they perceive their spiritual condition in the spirit realm. All religions have some truth in them which certain people need. But the Jesus of the NDE does not teach that all religions are valid; he teaches that religions are outward doctrines that can lead people within to true religion – the spirit of unconditional love. For example, after Rev. Howard Storm was rescued from hell by Jesus during his NDE he had this exchange with Jesus:
“I asked them, for example, which was the best religion. I was looking for an answer which was like: ‘Presbyterians.’ I figured these guys were all Christians. The answer I got was: ‘The best religion is the religion that brings you closest to God.'” (Rev. Howard Storm)
This information shows the goal of religion is to bring a person closer to God. It is also implied that some religions bring you closer to God than others. Although a person’s religious beliefs (or lack thereof) can influence the quality of their afterlife experience a person’s religious affiliation or church membership itself does not seem to matter much to Jesus. After all, if religion really mattered wouldn’t everyone in heaven be Jewish?
Jesus did not come preaching some new religion. Jesus preached love. NDEs reveal that it is love, not religion, that creates spiritual growth and saves us from a hell of our own making. It is clear from the gospel accounts alone that Jesus is not concerned about a person’s religious status. Jesus told the religious leaders who killed him that the prostitutes were going to enter heaven before they did (Matthew 21:31).
It is clear from NDEs that the Bible and common sense that religion is a cultural institution. On the other hand, love is universal and not limited to a particular culture. According to the Sermon on the Mount, love is the greatest religion there is. Love is also what many of the great world religions is all about. However not everyone practices this religion of love.
8. Does the NDE Jesus lead people away from the Biblical Jesus?
Professor: The Jesus appearing in NDEs is happy to mimic the Jesus of the Bible if the end result is that he can lead people away from the true Jesus of the Bible.
Rebuttal: The Jesus appearing in NDEs bears much fruit of the Holy Spirit. Remember, the Jesus of the Bible had this to say about testing the spirits:
“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.” (Matthew 12:33)
“A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.” (Matthew 7:18)
Even the professor must admit that the Jesus appearing in NDEs bears much fruit of love. But since the professor is testing the spirits using his own narrow interpretation of scripture and not testing by the fruit. It is HE who is leading people astray.
9. Does the NDE Jesus have a lesser view of the Bible?
Professor: Many people who had an NDE come away from the experience with a lesser view of the Bible. One person even concluded the Lord isn’t interested in theology and another said that God didn’t care about church doctrine at all. The Jesus of the Bible, however, is certainly interested in correct doctrine.
Rebuttal: Such generalities about near-death experiencers having a lesser view of the Bible is completely bogus. Common sense tells one that generalities such as this cannot be true. One cannot make a correlation between having an NDE and having a lower view of the Bible.
Notice the professor does not cite the NDEs that lead him to this conclusion. Nevertheless, the person the professor mentions who concluded the Lord isn’t interested in theology is Reverend Howard Storm. It is a true statement to say that God is not interested in theology. Here is the complete account of what Howard Storm said:
“I asked, for example, ‘What about the Bible?’ They responded, ‘What about it?’ I asked if it was true, and they said it was. Asking them why it was that when I tried to read it, all I saw were contradictions, they took me back to my life’s review again something that I had overlooked. They showed me, for the few times I had opened the Bible, that I had read it with the idea of finding contradictions and problems. I was trying to prove to myself that it wasn’t worth reading. I observed to them that the Bible wasn’t clear to me. It didn’t make sense. They told me that it contained spiritual truth, and that I had to read it spiritually in order to understand it. It should be read prayerfully. My friends informed me that it was not like other books. They also told me, and I later found out this was true, that when you read it prayerfully, it talks to you. It reveals itself to you. And you don’t have to work at it anymore … [at the end of his experience, Storm says:] I try not to impose my Christianity on other people. If people have God-like characteristics, a feeling of compassion and living that out, then its ok. I respond more to behavior than philosophy. God really doesn’t care about theology” (Rev. Howard Storm).
If you read about the NDEs of Reverend Howard Storm and George Ritchie you will see why God does not care about theology or how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
Nevertheless, NDEs do reveal a great concern for the commands of God. Love is the command of God (John 15:12, Romans 13:10). However, concerning theology or rules taught by men it is clear that Christ himself doesn’t care about it:
“You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.” (Matthew 15:7-9)
“They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men. You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men. And he said to them: ‘You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say that if a man says to his father or mother: ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is Corban’ (that is, a gift devoted to God), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.” (Mark 7:7-13)
Paul has this to say about rules taught by men:
“Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: ‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!?’ These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” (Colossians 2:20-23)
10. Does the NDE Jesus not have an interest in correct doctrine?
Professor: The Jesus of the Bible is certainly interested in correct doctrine. John 8:31-32 supports this.
“To the Jews who had believed in him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teachings, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'” (John 8:31-32)
Rebuttal: The teachings of Christ is not theology. Jesus taught unconditional love – not theology. It was theologians who had Jesus crucified. Jesus taught that love is the sign of a true disciple of Christ:
“All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” (John 13:35)
Jesus did not say, “All men will know that you are my disciples if you hold the teachings of the Church” or “hold the teachings of the Bible” or “hold the teachings of Christian theology” or even “hold the teachings of the Christian religion.” It is clear Jesus taught love as the way to eternal life (Luke 10:25-28) and not theology:
“On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,” he asked, ‘What must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ‘What is written in the law?’ he replied. ‘How do you read it?’ He answered: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and, love your neighbor as yourself.’ ‘You have answered correctly,’ Jesus replied, ‘Do this and you will live.'” (Luke 10:25-28)
Many critics are completely ignorant about NDEs. Many refuse to find out for themselves and test the spirits for themselves. Instead, ignorant things are said about the NDE because it is not judged by its fruit.
11. Doesn’t it raise a red flag that the Being of Light is also the God of non-Christians?
Professor: Other people affiliated with non-Christian religions claim the Being of Light to be Buddha, or Krishna, or some other religious figure. Certainly this should raise red flags in a Christian’s mind.
Rebuttal: The only thing this proves is that there are many Beings of Light appearing in NDEs. God is the light. Many beings can manifest this light regardless of their religious affiliation or church membership. Jesus himself had this to say about Beings of Light:
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
12. Doesn’t the Biblical Jesus’ teachings make the NDE Jesus a lying spirit?
Professor: In view of the fact that these ideas go against what the Jesus of the Bible taught, we have reason to conclude that the Jesus appearing in NDEs is in fact a lying spirit.
Rebuttal: This is not true. The NDE Jesus does not go against what the Bible teaches. Such experiences may go against the professor’s narrow interpretation of what Jesus said; but they do not go against what Jesus said. The professor has not tested the spirits properly. He is making the same mistake of the Pharisees by testing the spirits using your own narrow interpretation of scripture. The correct test is Jesus’ test to judge by their fruit. If no fruit of the Holy Spirit is present, then it is safe to assume it is not of God. Jesus bore much fruit of the Holy Spirit yet was condemned by the religious leaders because he did not fit into their interpretation of scripture. Had they properly tested the spirits and judged Jesus on the basis of his fruit, he probably would not have been crucified. In the same way, if the professor would test the Jesus appearing in NDEs based on his fruit he would not be accusing him of being a lying spirit.
13. Isn’t the NDE Jesus actually Satan trying to lead people to hell?
Professor: The Jesus appearing in many NDEs is Satan trying to keep people away from the Jesus of the Bible.
Rebuttal: This is not true. The professor seeks to keep people away from the Jesus appearing in NDEs. Jesus’ gospel of unconditional love was too dangerous for the political structure of the religious establishment in his day. Jesus‘ message of unconditional love found in NDEs is too dangerous for the political structure of today’s religious establishment. Ignorance prevented the religious establishment from accepting the message of Christ then; ignorance is preventing the religious establishment in general from accepting the message of Christ in NDEs now.
Professor: First off, let me suggest that you not limit your search for truth to near-death experiences only. Both spiritually and academically, that may not yield you the most success.
Rebuttal: Yes. I do not limit my search for truth to only the NDE. This is why I believe one should also consider science, philosophy, religion and other fields of thought to find truth. It has been said beliefs can limit an open mind. It is important to keep an open mind and to be receptive to every concept and at the same time to be the pure skeptic: neither accepting nor rejecting a concept until it is proven true. It is good to have an opinion. But when talking about truth, we must leave our opinions to ourselves. In this respect, it is a good idea to not believe that NDEs prove life after death exists. This has not yet been proven to be true. The same is true for the Bible. Like religion, the NDE has its own limitations. Especially in that such experiences are often colored by the experiencers own religion, philosophy, cultural background and perspective. What is true for one experiencer may not be true for another experiencer. Just like here on Earth, during an NDE it is possible we generally create our own reality.
14. Is Jesus himself, the individual and personality, the only way to heaven?
Professor: You had a profound experience with Christ that taught you that he is not the only way of salvation? Sounds like error.
Rebuttal: The Bible and NDEs show that God is the way to heaven. God is love. Your religion is the personality cult of Jesus. Jesus manifested love in a way that perhaps relatively few people have. Again, the way to heaven is love – just as Jesus taught in Luke 10:25-28. This love is not limited to Christians or the Bible.
Professor: I think God’s desire is that ALL men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. Coming to the knowledge of the truth occurs in only one WAY – and that Way’s Name is Jesus.
Rebuttal: This may be true for you but it may not be true for Jews, Hindus, or Buddhists for example. Even Christians do not agree on virtually every doctrine of the faith. We should understand the limitations concerning dogma and the letter of the law. After all, Jesus emphasized the spirit of the law rather than the letter. This is because it is really love – not religious dogma or rituals – that creates spirituality. Dogma can only help people come the path of spirituality; but the religious structure itself is not necessarily the way.
Jesus himself affirmed that love for God and love for your neighbors is the way to eternal life (Luke 10:25-28) John, the disciple who is claimed to know best the love of Jesus said, “Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God because God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8) Peter had this to say about it:
“Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him.” (Acts 10:34-35)
I am convinced that Christianity was never meant to be the personality cult it is today. I don’t think Jesus was ego-centric when he said, “I am the way, the truth, the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” (John 14:6). Like everything Jesus said we must often try to understand the deeper spiritual meaning behind the literal words.
It is evident the Bible mentions that God is love, life, and light. It states that this is true for the Jew as well as the Gentile. The central focus of almost every major world religion is how to attain at-onement with God – in the way that Jesus and Buddha did – for example. According to many religions it is love that is the central focus – love for God and love for others. So when Jesus says he is the way, the truth and the life, I interpret this to mean that Jesus shows people the way to heaven through example. He is the example. He is a pattern for which people can follow – unconditional love through self-sacrifice and self-denial.
15. Does the Biblical Jesus’ greatest commandment to love make his sacrifice on the cross unnecessary?
Professor: Do you suggest humans can love each other enough to be saved and not need the BLOOD of Christ to cover their actions and intents that are not lovely?
Rebuttal: Would you be pleased if someone tortured and killed your son so that you can forgive people? What about slitting the throats of thousands of innocent animals? Would you be pleased? Wouldn’t you instead be horrified?
The Bible is filled with symbols. The references to blood, the lamb, sacrifice, the way, born again, baptism, etc.. are symbols that have a deeper spiritual meaning. I don’t believe salvation is attained through literally believing in Jesus’ name or believing things about Jesus or even worshiping Jesus. My understanding is that sanctification comes by emulating the love of Jesus which is God. Love is God. Blood does not save us in a literal way. The death of Jesus has a much deeper spiritual meaning. The blood of Jesus demonstrates the self-sacrifice and self-denial we must face in attaining divine unconditional love. Jesus taught that we must all “take up our crosses and follow him” (Matthew 16:24). Not in a literal sense, but in a spiritual sense. It is by walking in love that we reach at-onement with God. Love comes from God (1 John 4:7). Everyone who loves knows God because God is love (1 John 4:8).
16. Does a person trying to live a perfect life make it to heaven?
Professor: Religion is man trying in vain to live a perfect life to make heaven.
Rebuttal: I disagree. If this is true than you would have to say that the religion of taking your cross and following Jesus is in vain. Most religions teach the importance of love. Religions only point the way to heaven: love. Many religious doctrines in themselves, such as believing that Jesus died for our sins or that we must worship Jesus, are trying in vain to reach heaven. Remember, it is faith AND works. Not faith alone. Even demons believe in God.
17. Does the belief of NDE testimony lead to rejecting the Word of God?
Professor: You receive the testimony of men on matters of after-death experience, but you reject the Living and enduring Word of God that abideth forever?
Rebuttal: If by “Word of God” you mean a book, then I have to tell you I don’t accept all of the Bible as fact. If by “Word of God” you mean the divinity which was in Jesus then my answer is that I certainly don’t reject Jesus. However I am very interested in what others who have been in the presence of Jesus on the other side have to say. I don’t limit God to a book. Jesus himself came as the Word. Not a book.
18. Does excluding Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross in your theology make you a heretic?
Professor: I am coming on strong because if you know what the WORD says, and you even use parts of it in your website … you also know that it is better to have a millstone tied around your neck and be cast into the sea than to teach any little one to go astray. Love is great – Love is Jesus – if you leave him and what he accomplished on the Cross out of your theology – it is heresy. Just get real with him and he will be REAL to you.
Rebuttal: Again, “the Word” is God and not a book. You are worshiping the Bible as the Word. The true Word is the Spirit of Jesus – love. And God is love.
Concerning the cross of Jesus there are some references to it found in NDEs. Here are some of them:
19. Must NDE testimony correspond with the Bible to be valid?
Professor: Actual first-hand experiences can only be verified if they measure up to the BOOK.
Rebuttal: Again you are worshiping a book as the Word. The true Word is Jesus. It is not a book alone that measures truth. Jesus stated that we must measure the truthfulness or falsehood of things by the test he gave. When the religious leaders were accusing Jesus of performing miracles by the power of Satan, Jesus gave us the test. He said that a tree is known by its fruit. (Matthew 12:33-37) A good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. What does Jesus mean by this? The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, etc. (Galatians 5:22-23). It is by their fruit that you will know whether they are of God or not. Since the NDE bears much fruit of the Spirit we know it is of God. Therefore it is not the Bible that we measure truth. It is by the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
20. Must NDE testimony mention that Jesus is the only way to heaven to be valid?
Professor: If NDEs don’t show that Christ shed his blood for our sins, and that the PERSON of JESUS CHRIST is the ONLY WAY to heaven, then NDEs DO NOT show the truth. 2 Corinthians 5:10 – “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
Rebuttal: You erroneously believe that you are going to heaven because you worship Jesus. Reread the gospels and you will see that Jesus said it is not those who say, “Lord, Lord.” Rather it is those who do what Jesus commands. His command is love. God is love. This is what gets you to heaven – walking in love as Jesus did. Love is God. Confessing Jesus with your lips is not going to get you anywhere.
There are NDEs that deal with the sacrifice of Jesus. I already gave you all the ones I have. There are numerous reasons why Jesus’ death benefited so many people. I already stated one of them and that is that Jesus’ self-sacrifice and life of love shows us the way. Another reason is that Jesus’ martyrdom was greatly responsible for proliferating his teachings all over the world. Jesus said that when he is lifted up he will draw all men to himself. Another reason Christ’s death helped humanity is that he presented a strong case for life after death. Another reason is that Christ’s death helped demonstrate how sincere he was in his devotion to God and how he was willing to die for his teachings. Only a sincere and truthful person would subject themselves to such torture for the truthfulness of his teachings. A fake would probably not die this way for a lie. Another reason is that Jesus emphasized the fact that God has forgiven us and his life, death and teachings greatly gives us a reason to believe it.
As for everyone appearing before the judgment seat of Christ, the Bible clearly says Jesus is the “Judge of all” and that the Father judges no one (John 5:22). But the Bible also says Jesus judges no one (John 8:15-16, John 12:47, Luke 12:13-14). And it’s not a contradiction if the “Judge of all” judges no one. A judge can choose to judge no one and still be the judge of all. Also, because God is love (1 John 4:7-8), a case can be made from the Bible that God and Jesus do not keep records of wrongs because love keeps no records of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5). In fact, Jesus said we will be our own judges and any condemnation comes from self-condemnation (Matthew 12:37, 1 Corinthians 6:2-3, Luke 11:19, Titus 3:10-11, 1 John 3:19-21).
21. Does placing a high value on NDEs and not wanting to limit Jesus to a book – mean the NDE Jesus is false?
Professor: As far back as Colosse, people were tripped up by things that seemed spiritual but really only made people focus on themselves and move away from Christ. You are high on experience and your own opinions but you don’t want to “limit Jesus to the Bible.” Then what Jesus do you emulate?
22. Does believing in a fallible Bible mean you cannot use it as an authority?
Professor: Upon reading your comments I was stirred to comment. You use the Holy Bible as a foundation when quoting “Jesus is the way shower.” Why do you use the Bible as an authority if you don’t believe it is the infallible word of God?
Rebuttal: I don’t believe the Bible is God. The universe is a far greater revelation of God than any book. The Bible as it exists today was put together by the Pope and a relatively handful of bishops. They had many writings cut out which were considered scripture in Jesus’ day. For example, Jude – who was the brother of Jesus – quotes in the Book of Jude from a book that was part of Hebrew canon at the time of Jesus’ ministry on Earth and for many years after by early Christians. I am referring to the Book of Enoch. Here is the quote in Jude 14-15 of 1 Enoch 1:9.
“In the seventh [generation] from Adam Enoch also prophesied these things, saying: ‘Behold, the Lord came with his holy myriads, to execute judgment on all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners spoke against him’.” (Jude 14-15)
Peter also references the Book of Enoch in 2 Peter 2:4 and 1 Peter 3:19-20. Now if the Bible quotes from the Book of Enoch then this means the Book of Enoch is divinely inspired and should be included in the Bible. The Book of Enoch existed centuries before the birth of Christ and is considered by many to be more Christian in its theology than Jewish. It is very likely that Jesus read the Book of Enoch and believed it to be scripture. It was considered scripture by many early Christians as well. The earliest writings of the Church Fathers is filled with references to this book. The early second century Epistle of Barnabas makes much use of the Book of Enoch. Second and third century Church Fathers such as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Origen and Clement of Alexandria all quote from the Book of Enoch. Tertullian even called the Book of Enoch “Holy Scripture”. It was widely known and read during the first three centuries after Christ.
The Book of Enoch and many other books became discredited and declared heresy by the Pope during the Council of Laodicea in 363-364 AD. After being banned by the Catholic Church it gradually passed out of circulation. By studying more about the Roman Church’s tremendous influence in developing the New Testament canon, you will agree that the New Testament was arbitrarily put together by a few men who had tremendous power in deciding what was the word of God and what wasn’t. You can read more about this website.
23. Does the Bible invalidate other religions that don’t teach Jesus is the son of God?
Professor: The Bible, if you believe the Bible, says, “There is ONE mediator between God and man … the man Christ Jesus.” Find one mention of Buddha or Mohammed, or any other religion exempting Jesus Christ as the son of God, in the Bible. It’s not there.
Rebuttal: You believe you are saved because you worship Jesus and read the Bible. I am saying it takes more than that. It means taking up your own cross and not relying solely on the cross of Jesus. You must walk in love as Jesus commanded. It is love – not religious dogma or the Bible – that creates spiritual growth. God is love – not a Bible. Believing the Bible and worshiping Jesus will get you nowhere. Jesus, like many other highly enlightened spiritual leaders, affirmed that love for God and neighbors is the way to eternal life. Since God is love those who teach love are teaching God.
I am convinced that Christianity was never meant to be the personality cult it has been for thousands of years. Jesus was certainly not ego-centric. Even when he claimed:
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
Everything Jesus taught must be understood on a deeper spiritual level. It is evident the Bible mentions that God is love, life, and light. The Bible mentions that these teachings is true for the Jew as well as the Gentile. The central focus of many religions around the world is how humans can attain at-onement with God. Practically every religion teaches that love is the way to at-onement – love for God and love for others. So when Jesus says he is the way, the truth and the life, I interpret this to mean that Jesus shows people the way to at-onement. He is the example and the pattern to live your life as. That life is love. Buddha and Krishna taught the same teaching that living a life of love is what matters.
As for “finding one mention of Buddha or Mohammed or any other religion exempting Jesus Christ as the son of God in the Bible,” I don’t believe any religion exempts Jesus as the son of God with the possible exception of Judaism, whose followers generally exempts Jesus as the Messiah. And worshiping anyone leads nowhere.
24. Does believing in universal salvation contradict Jesus’ teachings that the road to heaven is narrow?
Professor: There is only one original word of God documented back 1000’s of years ago … long before counterfeits came in to establish themselves. Jesus said the road is narrow. If you could get to heaven through any and all religions … it would make the road WIDE and Hitler, Osama, Saddam, etc. would be saved and heaven-bound for they are “religious!”
Rebuttal: The Word is not a book! If you think otherwise you are worshiping a book and not Jesus. Jesus himself is the Word – and the Word is God – and God is love. According to the Bible, the Word of God is the Logos, the Spirit of Jesus, the only one original Word of God (see Revelation 19:13).
25. Is Christianity the only valid religion?
Professor: To me, religion has never saved one soul. Jesus has saved many.
Rebuttal: But don’t you see that by saying that Jesus, as a personality, is the way to heaven you are making religion a the most important part of salvation. Granted, no religion is the way to eternal life including Buddhism – Christianity – Hinduism etc., because the way to heaven is love. Love is universal. It is not limited to only Christians. God does not love only Christians. God loves the whole world and it is dishonoring to God to think that God loves everyone but throws the vast majority of humanity into hell for not believing or hearing about the name of Jesus.
26. Was Jesus the only person having the Holy Spirit dwell within him?
Professor: He is God in the flesh. And the only one!
Rebuttal: Not so! Yes, Jesus is the son of God; but we too are sons of God. God lives in us through love. Even Jesus said that God was within us:
“‘We are not stoning you for any of these,’ replied the religious leaders, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods?’ If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came – and the Scripture cannot be broken – what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s SON?'” (John 10:33-36)
“I said, ‘You are gods; you are all sons of the Most High.'” (Psalm 82:6)
“Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.'” (Galatians 4:6-7)
The main debate after the death of Christ was the nature of Christ. Was Christ God in the flesh, or was Christ as man who manifested the Spirit of God in a manner very unique. I have evidence to believe that Jesus was a man who manifested fully the Spirit of God.
27. Does John 3:16 say everyone who believes in Jesus has eternal life and those who don’t will perish?
Professor: May I ask you sir, do you believe that John 3:16 is the exact message God intended? “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth (has faith) … (opposite of doubt) … in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Rebuttal: Yes I believe John 3:16 is the heart of Jesus’ message and the gospel. I believe it wholeheartedly. It says that God loves the world (every human being who ever lived). He gave us his Son to bring humanity the message of this unconditional love that God has for the world. Whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. Now, the question is this: What does it mean to “believe in him?”
What does it mean to “believe in Jesus?”
- To believe Jesus existed.
- To believe in his name?
- To believe things about Jesus? (Jesus is Lord, God and Savior.)
- To believe in his redemptive work on the cross?
- To believe you must worship Jesus?
- To believe in the Bible?
- To believe you must be a Christian?
I think the answer is no to all of these. Isn’t Jesus saying that whosoever believes in his message of taking up their own cross and following him in a life of love for God and others? After all, if faith is all that is needed then even the demons will be saved. Faith alone is not enough. Faith without works is dead.
Some Christians believe we must be baptized to be saved. Some believe we must speak in tongues. Some believe we must believe Jesus is God. Some believe we must worship Jesus. Some believe we must be a member of a particular church. People believe religion is the way to heaven. But unless the religion you practice is unconditional love then you are not following in Jesus’ footsteps.
“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16)
The gospel is love – love for God and love for others. Love is God. This is the way to eternal life. This is the gospel that Jesus taught (see the Sermon on the Mount)
28. Can a Christian go to heaven if they don’t believe Jesus is the only way to heaven?
Professor: Do you also take the approach: I do not deny or affirm this concerning basic salvation doctrine? Because according to this particular word of God there is no option to deny or affirm. Otherwise, the maybe or maybe not approach to this particular scripture would land you in hell. I pray not Kevin.
Rebuttal: I don’t believe any religious doctrine is the way to eternal life. Only practicing what Jesus taught and lived – love for others and God – is the way to eternal life. Not a lifestyle. Not something we profess with our lips our believe in our head. Not worship. It is walking as Jesus did in unconditional love for everyone.
The gospel you believe is that worshiping Jesus and believing he is Lord is the way to heaven. But unless you are taking up your own cross and following Jesus – not just letting Jesus do all the work – then it is you who are going to hell. Faith alone can land you in hell. Even demons have faith in God. Instead of heaven, some people create hell within themselves because they do not live the example that Jesus gave us – a life of love for God and others. It is true that having unconditional love for everyone is a very high goal; but it is the standard that Jesus taught – love for even your enemies. Believing Jesus is Lord is no ticket to heaven. Demons know Jesus is Lord.
29. Are people saved by faith alone and not by performing good works?
Professor: I wanted to know what you make of this verse: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). This clearly shows that to get to heaven you are not saved by your works – but by Jesus Christ. I do not believe in what your site states about the way to get to heaven. The only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ. God sent him to die on the cross so we could go to heaven to live with God when we die. If Jesus never came we would all go to hell.
Rebuttal: In the above verse, Paul declares that salvation is by faith alone. This is in complete contradiction with the teachings of Jesus and the other apostles who knew Jesus and his teachings much more than Paul did. Paul also got into disputes with the other apostles who believed salvation was based on good works and faith, not by faith alone:
“You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.” (James 2:24)
Some Bible scholars believe that Paul hijacked the Christianity taught by Jesus and his apostles. Paul was a self-appointed apostle who taught that following the law no longer applied and that Judaism is no longer relevant to Christians. However it is clear that Jesus never taught that the law no longer applied and he never repudiated Judaism or the law. Jesus was a Jew. Paul was constantly in conflict the Jews and the apostles in his day because Paul taught that the law no longer applied. But it is clear from Jesus’ teachings in the gospel that Jesus taught how salvation is by good works. In fact, Jesus emphasized good works over faith all the time.
30. Are you suggesting there are contradictions between the teachings of Jesus and the teachings of Paul
All this, of course, assumes the Bible is fallible. This agrees with the fact that there are many contradictions and errors in the Bible. In my opinion, some of Paul’s teachings are in direct contradiction to the teachings of Jesus. And there are many contradictions between the teachings of Jesus and the teachings of Paul. Again Paul never knew Jesus except in a vision. The authority of the other apostles should be held in much greater respect than Paul. Here are just a few contradictions between the teachings of Jesus and of Paul:
Contradictions Between the Teachings of Jesus and Paul
Paul: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Jesus: “You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.” (James 2:24)
Paul: “And if by grace, then it is no longer by works.” (Romans 11:6)
Jesus: “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'” (Matthew 25:31-45)
Paul: “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (Romans 3:28)
Jesus: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say to you, till heaven and Earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no way pass from the law, until all be fulfilled. Whoever shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-19)
Paul: “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree.” (Galatians 3:13)
Jesus: “On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘What must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ‘What is written in the law?’ he replied. ‘How do you read it?’ He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and, love your neighbor as yourself.’ ‘You have answered correctly,’ Jesus replied, ‘Do this and you will live.'” (Luke 10:25-28)
Paul: “We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 2:15-16)
Jesus: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:21-27)
Paul: “But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.” (2 Timothy 1:8-9)
Jesus: “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” (Matthew 16:27)
Paul: “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.” (Romans 3:20)
Jesus: “One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, ‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important?’ ‘The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.’ ‘Well said, teacher,’ the man replied. ‘You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.’ When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.'” (Mark 12:28-34)
We can conclude from this, despite fallibility of some of Paul’s letters, acts of good works and following the commandments of Jesus are very necessary and an important part of our salvation.