She sat on the floor, cross legged. Her serene face with closed eyes revealed a glimmer of a smile. She was the woman who I had been following for nearly a year, attending her meditation sessions. I was a freshman in college and not a Christian but was searching for spiritual answers and direction in my life; I thought she could provide both. She taught a universalistic religion declaring that all religions were different paths to the same god. She claimed to be a prophet and that her path was the most direct path to god. Her teachings were liberally sprinkled with quotations and doctrines from the Bible, Buddha, Hinduism, and Baha'i faiths.
Since she claimed that Christianity was one of the paths to god, I asked her if I could read the Bible to assist me in my studies. She agreed and when I first began reading the Bible, I was pleased to see familiar phrases and concepts that she taught. But within a short period of time, I began to note inconsistencies between her teachings and the Bible. I wrestled with these issues and assumed my ignorance and rudimentary understanding of religion was the source of my confusion. I was sure that all would be resolved once I spoke to her.
She listened to my questions that I had been struggling with for several months. I brought up several passages from the Bible and asked her to explain them through the lens of her universalistic understanding of god. Her answers did little to mollify my uncertainties and I pressed her for more detail. After listening for a few more minutes, she closed her eyes and proclaimed, “My son is a Catholic priest and he knows who I am!”
Whoa. Really? Though I did not doubt her disclosure, I found it difficult to reconcile, even with my limited understanding. How could a devout Christian who believes in Jesus Christ also accept this woman’s teaching? Was my understanding of religion even more primitive and limited than I realized?
She informed me that I needed to continue to learn from her and expand and broaden my understanding of god. Nonplussed, I continued to read the Bible. And within a few months, I had my answers. All religions were not the same and did not lead to the same god. There is only one true God, and, through His grace and mercy, He changed my heart and unveiled the Truth when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.
Matthew 24:24 (ESV)
Since that day, I have met many people who claim to be Christians, devout followers of Jesus Christ, but who preach and teach a religion that is anything but Christianity. With a superficial listening, the words and doctrines sound familiar. But when it is held up the light of God’s Word, the Truth is revealed. The denials may quietly cast doubt upon the reality of the miracles of Jesus Christ, explaining them away as exaggerations of ordinary events, concocted by overly enthusiastic followers of Jesus. It may be a mixing of science and faith, stating that God used evolution to guide creation from a single cell microbe to the amazing complexity of man. Or it may be as blasphemous as denying the resurrection of Jesus Christ, claiming He never really died and was brought back to life, but only pretending to die. Yes, there are many false prophets who use the Word of God and twist or deny its truths.
And what about this woman’s son, the Catholic priest? Several years later, after I became a Christian, I did meet with him. I pointedly asked him how he could reconcile his mother’s teachings with what Jesus stated, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
He answered, “There are many truths. She is teaching one of them.”
I had my answer. There are many false christs and false prophets and sadly, even those who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ may join them. No title or religions position in the Church is enough to guarantee true faith. Only confessing and repenting of one’s sins and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will guarantee salvation. Accepting Jesus Christ as one’s Savior means accepting the Bible as the absolute and infallible Word of God. There are no substitutions, deletions, or additions. God’s Word is complete and inerrant.
There is only one Truth and only one God!
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.