Is it Possible to go to Heaven Without Hearing the Gospel of Jesus?

The debate between Christian progressives and fundamentalists rages over this question. The former say yes, the later say no.

Delight in Truth is with the fundamentalists on this one.  It is not possible for a human being to be saved without hearing and believing the gospel. The gospel states that every man is a sinner under the wrath of God and must be born again unto life by hearing and believing that Jesus died and rose again to atone for the sin of those who believe in Him.

So, here are the common issues brought up:

1. The people prior to Jesus’s public ministry certainly did not hear the name of Jesus. Are they all condemned? The answer is no. The saints of the Old Testament are saved through Jesus. They were looking forward to the Christ and His suffering. The Christ, or the Messiah, was a very common theme in Judaism and those faithfully waiting for the Christ to save them are certainly saved by faith. Here is the example of Moses looking forward to Jesus:

“He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.” Heb 11:26

2. What about those people who did not have access to the Moses and the Law and the Abrahamic covenant? There a few exceptions prior to Abraham where special revelation from God was given to certain people. Melchizedek and Job are examples of this.

3. Now, here is the big one. After the time of Christ, what about those people who by virtue of their geographic location could not have access to the gospel? Examples here include ancient Japanese, Chinese, Aztecs (see art above), Mayans, etc… Could any of them be saved?

If the bible is correct, the answer is no. Apostle Peter says of Jesus:

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

The progressives will now bring up the Romans 1 and 2 discourse regarding conscience being a guide and providing teaching between right and wrong:

“14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.” Rom 2:14-16

Too bad this is in the context of judgement. This is the judgement at the White Throne when God will judge all of condemned humanity. This is not a judgement for those who are saved.

The law that is embedded in everyone’s heart is there for condemnation, not for salvation. It does not have the power to save. It can only condemn.

This is what the Bible teaches. Complete exclusivity through Jesus. This is our impetus to evangelize the world! Jesus is the only Way!

The Bible is not Fiction

The good news is that you can buy a Bible at Costco for $14.99.

The bad news is that you will find it under the fiction label at the Costco in Simi Valley, CA. The sticker on the back says “fiction” along with the price. That’s what Costco would have us believe.

I would understand if they disagree with the Gospel message found in the Bible, if they do not agree with the theology found there, and if they do not believe in God.  But by definition the Bible is not a work of fiction. Fiction is nothing more than imaginative writing which is not based in reality.

The Old Testament contains a code of living, the Law which we believe was given to Moses from God. It is a “how to live” guide that points forward to Christ.  It also contains songs, poetry, detailed historical accounts, artistic lamentations, prophecies, and many more types of non-fictional writing.

The New Testament contains the three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) giving a somewhat parallel account from different perspectives on what Jesus said and did in His ministry.  The Gospel of John is a detailed account focusing on the divinity of Jesus Christ.

The book of Acts is detailed historical account of the way the Holy Spirit worked in the early church.  Many of Paul’s epistles are elaborate commentaries on the Old Testament and theological discussions on various subjects like human depravity, grace, faith, eschatology, etc.

Many of the other epistles contain exhortations and encouragements written to Asia Minor churches.

I could go on and on.

The Bible is not a work of fiction and anyone with a shred of honesty would agree.

But I believe the good news overshadows the bad news by a long stretch.  Costco is selling the Bible. The Word of God is making its way to the body of Christ and the masses by various means.

Costco may be doing it for the wrong reason (profit?).  But I will echo what Paul says: “in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.” Phil 1:18


Music Can Evangelize

I have been known to have “Jesus” music on my iPhone.  That’s how some people at work call it.  I honestly like that label, even though it is probably meant in a slightly negative way.

One of the perks of being an anesthesiologist is the ability to decide if the situation is routine enough to allow playing some music in the operating room. It has been shown that music in the work place can relax the workers, increase concentration, and increase efficiency.

One of the biggest compliments ever paid to me was when a new surgeon arrived in town. I may have been playing Casting Crowns or Crowder during the surgery. After the case he said “I knew there was something different about you.” Himself a Christian, he identified me as a fellow believer based on my playlist.

Today I worked with him again and we were listening to internet radio when the song Amazing Grace by Phil Wickham came on. The other people in the room were not believers.  We were all listening as we were working, and Phil’s lyrics were playing in the background:

This is amazing grace
This is unfailing love
That You would take my place
That You would bear my cross
You would lay down Your life
That I would be set free
Jesus, I sing for
All that You’ve done for me

The Holy Spirit made me realize that these words are the Gospel being heard by the other 4-5 people in the room.

We were silent as we worked.

Silence, and the words of “Jesus” music filling the room.

Chuck Smith Evangelized to the End

Pastor Chuck Smith announces he has lung cancer!

Chuck Smith went to be with the Lord.

My physician friend who is not  a believer (a non-practicing Catholic) had the opportunity to take care of Chuck during one of his surgeries. My friend had been to a Harvest crusade in the early 90’s and remembered Chuck from there and told Chuck about it.  He asked Chuck why he became a pastor.

The pastor seized the opportunity to tell him about Christ. A few minutes before surgery Chuck was preaching. For some it is with great restraint that they will muster up the courage to tell an unbeliever about Christ. But not for Chuck Smith.

The dying pastor told the physician that he too wanted to become a physician.  It was a dream of his when he was young.  A neurosurgeon to be precise. He wanted to be able to perform the most complicated and heroic of surgeries and to save a life in the process.

But then something happened.

He realized there was a much better way of saving people.

There was a way in which he could help save lots and lots of people at once, as opposed to one person, one surgery at a time. So he became a pastor and brought people into the kingdom of God by spreading the gospel. He founded one of the largest system of churches in the world, the Calvary Chapel system. He also mentored Greg Laurie and was intimately involved in building up the Harvest Crusades in the early years.

He continued to preach using an oxygen nasal cannula until the very last week.

He ran the race until the very end. My friend was deeply touched by Chuck’s testimony and I pray that the Holy Spirit will convict him.

“And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”” Rev 14:13


The Most Nefarious Crime of all Time

Rawan: Child bride dead at 8.

On 9/11 when we remember what Islamic terrorism did on US soil, we must turn our attention to the growing problem of Islam-endorsed pedophilia. The rape of a child especially when coupled with her murder is the worst crime imaginable.

It is such a horrific problem that I have been putting it off and dreading to write a post about it.   But the world and more importantly the Church needs to know the truth and be embolden even more to bring to the good news to Muslims.

The story of 8-year-old Rawan (pictured above from the Examiner) is a game changer in this nefarious religion.

She was a child bride from Yemen who died on her wedding night after being wed to a 40-year-old man. She suffered fatal internal injuries after being raped by this so-called husband.  Her story was carried by multiple news outlets in multiple countries, but surprisingly it received little coverage in the US.

The reason why this type of crime happens is because Islam endorses it.  Islam endorses pedophilia.

Muhammad himself married underage women.  Aisha was 6 years old when she was married to him, and that marriage was consummated when she was 9-years-old (presented here).

Modern Islamic clerics have issued fatwas to endorse child marriages as the world stood by, and continues to stand by.

The depravity of this practice cannot be put into words.  Islam is a religion that is based on deviant sex, and it shows when homicidal terrorists like the 9/11 hijackers are promised 70 virgins as soon as they get to “heaven.”  These same terrorists frequented bars, strip clubs and prostitutes leading up to the ultimate act that took them to hell.

Why is Delight in Truth writing about this abomination?

Because the Church needs to be aware about the moderate/liberal forms of Islam which originate in the same theology practiced by these pedophilic criminals.  And some claim that the three major monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) share the same God but revealed in different ways.


The answer to this madness is the Gospel.  Only the Gospel can show these people how fallen and depraved they (we all) are, and how much they need Jesus to atone for their sin.

The world continues to ignore Islamic pedophilia.

But if the Church really cares about these little girls, it will increase its effort to spread the Gospel. It is a spiritual solution.  It is the only solution.

How to Evangelize When Challenged by Unbelievers

In my post yesterday (here) I advocated an approach to evangelism which tackles the sinfulness of man head-on, and challenges the unbeliever to see and explain his depravity, and therefore see his need for a Savior.

A more systematic way of applying this concept was developed by the Ray Comfort/Kirk Cameron team from The Way of the Master.  It is a brilliant way to target the sinner’s depravity and get him to admit it.

Ray Comfort developed an acronym based on four questions WDJD (described here)

Would you consider yourself a good person?

Do you think you have kept the Ten Commandments?

Judgment by the Ten Commandments: If you were judged based on those 10 commandments, would you be guilty or innocent?

Destiny: do you think you will go to heaven or hell?

A typical conversation starts with the presentation of a “little” sin like lying or cursing using God’s name.

Have you ever lied?  Have you ever taken God’s name in vain?  Have you ever lusted in your heart, or have you ever committed adultery in your heart?

The sinner will say yes. The admission of guilt is the first step in Redemption, and this is one of the strengths of Comfort’s system.

The system concentrates on the unbeliever’s sin and his admission that an action like lying is wrong.  Once the sinner admits he has lied, he is presented with the concept of a holy and just God who cannot accept anyone who is sinful.

An admission of guilt leads to the next question: do you think you can enter heaven after you have committed these sins?

At this point many unbelievers will try to justify their sin by saying they are a good person and they have done many good things in their life, ie. an attempt to gain universal salvation by works.  Like in a “Karma” system.

The unbeliever now is cornered into basically saying: “I am a liar, all liars go to hell, but… I think I go to heaven because I have done many more good things.”  This is a logical absurdity.

At this point the Gospel makes a grand entrance.

The substitutionary sacrifice of God Himself, Jesus Christ makes it possible for liars to go to Heaven if they believe and obey Him. 

The strength of WDJD is that it confronts sin as an introduction to presenting the Gospel.  This is in stark contrast to the Gospel of Love presented in many circles today… God is love, God accepts you as you are…

WDJD way of evangelizing is effective if the unbeliever accepts the Gospel after he is presented with his sinfulness.  It is logical and recommended especially in those situations where unbelievers may have a Judeo-Christian background, but they have ignored its teachings.

An evangelist must understand that exposing sin is extremely important in presenting the need for Jesus, and that is why I think WDJD is useful when you are challenged by unbelievers.

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The Still Wind of the Spirit: Update From Narcis Popovici


Narcis and his wife have moved to a very hostile environment to extend the Kingdom of God in that place.  Keeping names and places censored for their safety, here is an update from them:

Life and Family
How quickly time flies, springtime is already upon us!  We are excited about this spring for several reasons; it will be our first spring spent here, my wife and I will be celebrating our 11 year anniversary, and mostly because we expect great things in and from God in this season of blossom and life.  Since our last update, we as a family along with the rest of the team were able to take a road trip to a city nestled in the mountains in the direction of Turkey.  We had a wonderful time there with some friends and the family.  We were able to bring the kids to visit a UN Syrian-refugee camp that hosts almost 70,000 mostly Syrian Kurds that have fled as a result of the now 2 year war there.  The people were very open and welcoming to the family and team as a whole, and we are praying about how we can bring both the message of LIFE and relief to those precious people on an ongoing level.  As a family, we are consistently being reminded by the Lord that to become a habitation and revelation of the Glory of Christ must remain one of our chief aims, not just as individuals but as a family unit.  As in any culture, and especially within this one, there is a deep need to reveal the incarnate Lord through family.  “Visitation” (which is necessary) focuses on the immediate need only.  “Habitation” is an aim at becoming something, namely; a resting place for the One whom often finds no place to rest His head.

Life within the Vine
This last month has been a busy one!  Besides the family/ministry trip, we were able to be a part of a campaign that used media over the country to promote relational forgiveness, and offered followup to any interested.  Literally, thousands phoned or emailed in wanting to know more about where this “power to forgive” came from.  Relationship problems become a great platform for the gospel, since the creature’s relationship with God and subsequently his neighbor are some of the prime effects of sin.  Some were not interested once they found out which angle we were coming from, yet many from all over the country wanted to know more.  We were able to follow-up with a couple of these, who to our excitement had recently gotten born again!  F… and I were also able to take a trip to the capital.  There we connected with Andrew White, the Vicar of …  He has been in the capital ministering and working towards Middle East reconciliation since 1998. It was a wonderful trip filled with ministry, fellowship and the opportunity to see one of the richest cities in Biblical history.  More importantly, we were able to connect with brother Andrew on other levels as well.  After about a year of communicating with brother Andrew and prayer, both he and us felt it right to partner together towards our establishing the base here in our city, The Mesopotamian School of Ministry, and House of Prayer.  We believe that it will serve as a regional hub for the glory of God, a place of prayer and presence as well as training and the raising up of Christ filled leaders.  We are hoping to establish a stationary school as well as hopes of doing abbreviated mobile schools in the region, especially for those who cannot easily relocate for differing reasons.  Please let us know if when you pray, you hear the Lord calling you to partner with us in this divine endeavor!

Prayer and Thanks
We are so grateful for you all!  Your prayers and support are creating a platform for the glory of God in this region and the generations to come!  I can sincerely say your co-laboring in the gospel has made it possible for us to live in the “still wind of the Spirit”.  “Wind”, because the Spirit is always blowing where He wills, looking to save, heal, empower, and advance the Kingdom of His Son.  And “still” because in this “Wind”, the gravitational pull is always centered upon the worship of the Triune-God.  The place of the single eye towards love and trust in the One whom we exist for.  So, again…a big Thank you to our friends and family in Chicago, the faithful Romanians all over the West-Coast and all of our other brothers and sisters in Louisiana, Florida, D.C. Texas, and around the world who have invested in God’s Glory in the Middle East.  We love and appreciate you!
With love

Hollywood, the Bible, and Weird Things

The Bible is the number one show on TV with 14.8 million viewers during the season premiere.  Given the large amount of professing Christians in the US, that is not a surprise.  The Passion of the Christ enjoyed this type of success for the same reason.

I admit it bothers me (slightly) that the most depraved industry in the world (other than the abortion industry) is taking advantage of the Word of God to make money.  Hollywood struck gold with biblical themes, and The Bible will be on display until Easter making the most of it.

Not only are they using the Word of God to make money, but Mark Burnett the producer of The Bible is now marketing to Christians who are not grounded in the Word of God.

Very ironic.

Burnett has borrowed on old technique previously used by the producers of The Passion to increase the shows audience.

He is marketing his perception that “weird things happened” during the filming of The Bible to invoke the work of the Holy Spirit in the making of the show.

From the Christian Post:

“Reportedly, when Jesus referenced the Holy Spirit as being like the wind, a huge gust of air blew across the entire crew for 20 seconds, which was filming the scene on a very still night in the Sahara desert.

In another incident, the set’s snake wrangler, who usually recovered one or two snakes per day on set to protect crew members, found 48 cobras and vipers hidden near the scene of the cross, where the crew was to film Jesus’ crucifixion.

The third incident, according to Burnett, happened when the crew was filming a baptism scene in a giant Sahara reservoir and part of Jesus’ detailed costume, which took months to create, floated away.

According to Burnett, a young boy from miles away returned the costume days later.”

Could Burnett possibly be trying to fool naive Christians into believing that God has given His stamp of approval to the show?

That the Holy Spirit really had a special presence there during the filming of the show?

That would sure make the audience grow… Naive Christians will be amazed by these incidents.  They would rather watch a show with special effects and beautiful actors, a show about the Bible, than read the Bible itself.

Ultimately, I hope the show will spark the interest of unbelievers to pick up a Bible or perhaps attend a church where they can hear the Gospel.

But for Burnett to imply the work of the Holy Spirit in this project is manipulative.

The Bible Has Gone Hollywood

Or perhaps Hollywood has gone… biblical?

Hollywood has a long history of digging into biblical story lines to come up with epic productions like Ben Hur, The Ten Commandments, and The Passion of the Christ.  And now, Hollywood mega couple Roma Downey and Mark Burnett (producer of popular shows like Survivor) have come up with the highly acclaimed and well reviewed miniseries “The Bible,” which will run this Spring on the History Channel.

The docudrama will present 10 episodes with major stories from the Old and the New Testament, and evangelicals like Rick Warren are not only endorsing it, but Rick Warren himself is presenting a preview and a behind-the-scenes look at the series.

Unlike Rick Warren, I personally do not endorse Hollywood efforts depicting aspects of the Judeo-Christian faith and stories from the Bible.  This is a personal decision, and I understand that many Christians are eager to promote movies such as The Passion in an effort to extend the Kingdom of God.

There are several reasons why I do not get excited about these projects, and have serious reservations about recommending them:

1. I have a difficult time receiving a Bible story, especially one that encapsulates the gospel, told by directors and actors who do not know the LORD.  Some may know the LORD, but I suspect that their numbers are very low, or perhaps almost non-existent.  Again, this is a personal stumbling block for me.  Generically speaking, how can an actor “become” a depraved character in one movie, and then turn around and depict Christ in the next movie?  How can a depraved director depict for us the inspired word of Scripture in a film?

2. Every year around Easter and Christmas (I stopped watching TV for the last few years but I assume the trend continues) the Discovery Channel and History Channel present shows about Jesus and various aspects of our faith which are plain wrong.  Various forms of heresies are presented mixed in with fragments of truth as was the case with the all the shows surrounding the Gospel of Judas and the Da Vinci Code a few years ago. Moreover, authorities from all kind of backgrounds are interviewed, from Universalists, to Catholics, to atheist historians who weigh in on Christian doctrine, and these are people who do not know the LORD.  Having been illuminated by the Holy Spirit to understand God’s Word, it becomes a difficult exercise watching these “everyone-has-an-opinion” on the Bible shows.

3. Many of these shows and movies are not done with the intent of spreading the gospel message but with the intent to make money.  Lots of money.  The masses of Christians out there soak these projects up like they are supposed to soak up the real thing: God Word.  For example, the Passion of the Christ is the highest grossing R-rated movie of all time (yes R-rated in the same sentence as Christ).  It made $600 million just during its theatrical release, and many millions since then.  Producers are getting very wealthy from these “Christian” films.

4.  The gospel message and the Word of God as a form of entertainment is a turn-off for me.  Many Christians do not have a problem with this aspect, but the Holy Spirit speaks to me when I read Scripture, and I feel that the Word is profaned when the depraved of this world take advantage of it to create films… whatever their motives are.

So, starting next week I will not hold my breath for “The Bible” miniseries to entertain me.  “The Bible,” the real thing, is sitting right here on my desk ready to receive my delight.  It’s a delight in truth.

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