Gene Edward Veith, is most certainly to be commended for so much in his Sept. 07 LW article, “Only One Road to Heaven?” But he most certainly contradicts himself when he states, “The very concept of “heaven”. . ., is a distinctly Christian belief. Supplemented with the belief in the resurrection of the body, the Christian teaching . . . means that you yourself, in all your personality and memories and relationships, will live forever, purged of all your sins and weaknesses, and that you will know your loved ones and be in communion with Christ Himself.”
With all my personality and memories and relationships? I hope not. Does this mean I will still be impatient in heaven? Will I remember being in NYC and the horror of watching the Towers fall on 9-11? When the Mormon missionaries came to our door some years ago and asked my wife, “Would you like to know how you can live with your husband forever in heaven?” She responded, “Guys, you’re talking to the wrong woman!” When the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus by asking him about the woman who had been married to seven brothers, saying, “In the afterlife, whose wife will she be?” Jesus responded by saying, “Don’t you know that marriage is for this life?” We dare not say too much – any more than the Scriptures say! I prefer to let God’s Word describe heaven in images I simply cannot yet understand: as a child playing safely with a cobra; as the Bride of Christ coming down out of heaven in all her beauty for her Husband; as the countless number of hosts around the throne of the Lamb singing His praises; as an eternal blessed existence that is completely void of tears and sorrow and death. Yes, to depart and be face to face, in full communion with Christ! That’s enough for me to know right now. Anything more than that is just speculation.
Pastor Mark Carnahan
Hot Springs Village, AR
The problem with Dr. Gene Edward Veith’s “Only One Road to Heaven,” (The Lutheran Witness, September 2007), is not in its truth—it is (or that we do not)believe it—we do! The problem is that it is in the nature of most, if not all ,religions to claim exclusivity. It is even in the nature of various expressions of the Christian faith to claim the same, often at the expense of all the others. It becomes a matter of how we proclaim or explain our faith. If pride is the first and most basic deadly sin, traditionally understood, and humility the first and most basic “saving virtue,” and if we, unlike so many others, genuinely confess how far we fall short, then it is certainly with great humility and no residual pride that we approach our world and even each other as Christians with the message of “THE Way, Truth, and Life.” Berating denigrating, or even debating others does not usually help. Caring, oh so humbly expressed, can (and often does)help,truly making Christ “a blessed relief.”
The Reverend David E. Mueller (Retired)
Kennett Square, PA
A number of comments in the Gene Veith article “Only One Road to Heaven?”(Sep 07) struck me as being either false or misleading. First, that “religious truth-claims, doctrines and absolutes are out of line” in our pluralistic society and only “scientifically determined facts” are true for everyone. By this time such a body of evidence, even from non-believers, has accumulated that only a determined anti-Christian could reject it. One cannot say this about any other religion. Let’s not forget that Jesus has always been “out of line” in every pluralistic society. May we be out of line with Him. As for “scientifically determined facts” being true for everyone, be very careful. The evolution community makes that claim for their THEORY to the dogmatic exclusion of any counter-claims or evidence.
Veith cautions that we “need to realize that no one is condemned for not believing in Jesus. People are condemned for their sins.” All this time I thought God had warned that the one unforgivable sin was to reject His Son, who, in fact atoned for ALL other of our sins on the cross. The three people to whom I showed this article agreed that Veith’s comment is wrong.
It is also a puzzle to me why Veith presses for us to respect other religions. They are, after all, idolatry. This is not to say that we should make war on them, as one of them (Islam) does on Christianity, but “respect”? — I think not. Veith’s “openmindedness” is displayed in the idolatrous pictures included in his article. They are totally out of place and offensive.
Spirit Lake, ID
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