NEW YORK — Michael A. Walrond Jr., one of New York City’s most influential pastors who leads the more than 10,000-member First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem, is coming under fire online for telling his congregants that the belief that Jesus is the only way to Heaven is “insanity.”
“We get so twisted in this country and in many cultures, to create divides and boundaries and barriers between human beings because of our faith difference,” said the pastor, who was named “One of the Lord’s Foot Soldiers” by Newsweek magazine. “Think about it. That we use the thing that we think makes us closer to God, the very thing to divide us from one another at times. And that makes no sense and so I’m not one of those people.”
There was a time when you would see people in the pulpit say, ‘well, if you don’t believe in Jesus you’re going to Hell. That’s insanity in many ways because that is not what Jesus even believes. And so the key is you believe in God. And whatever your path is to God I celebrate that. Personally I celebrate that,” he said to a smattering of applause. “Again, we have enough in this world that divides us we need to find those things that bring us together. And if God cannot bring us closer together then something is wrong, not with God but in how we think we know God and understand God.”
“Jesus said to him. “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10
I like how Bishop Robert E. Smith, Sr., founder of Total Outreach for Christ Ministries, Inc. and Word of Outreach Christian C enter and Academy in Little Rock, Arkansas responded. He said, Walrond is both “right and wrong.”
“The preacher on this video is both right and wrong: he’s right in that all roads do lead to God; but this God is both love and a consuming fire. If you meet Him on the Christ road of His love you live, but any other road, be it religion, philosophy, or a miscalculation of the Person of Christ, the lake of fire is waiting!” Smith said.
Sadly, many Theological Colleges support Michael A. Walrond Jr position:
Ken Stone, academic dean at Chicago Theological Seminary, said “Rev. Walrond’s openness to the truth and wisdom found in multiple religious traditions and his celebration of multiple paths to God” is something the institution supports.
“I don’t know that we would use exactly the same language to describe it but in terms of the openness to truth and wisdom found in multiple religious traditions, absolutely we would support that,” Stone said.