I would like to say up front, that the ‘anonymous christian’ which is the teaching that I am addressing and will describe in more detail in the second paragraph, is un-biblical and dangerous. The idea of an anonymous christian is contrary to what the Bible teaches and destroys any motivation for missions and evangelism. I do not write this to bash or hate on any person or any denomination including the Catholic Church but merely to point out a false teaching that is present in many churches including the Catholic Church. The Bible teaches us that Jesus is the only way to God. He says himself, “No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also” (John 14:6). In the text I preached on this morning Jesus says, “This is eternal life; that they know you the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). This is the fact of the matter; there is no true God honoring, eternal life bringing ‘religion’ accept that which is centered on repentance towards the God of the Bible and faith in Jesus Christ.
Yet in our day there has surfaced a false teaching that says that there are many ways to God besides Jesus and that one can be an ‘anonymous’ (unknowing) Christian who does not have a relationship with Jesus. In other words, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and even Atheists with a ‘good heart’ who are ‘seeking moral goodness’ can be seeking God unknowingly and be a Christian unknowingly. This does not line up with Jesus’ words that eternal life has at its center, knowing the one true God and Jesus Christ as well as accepting Him in faith. Romans 10:13-15 puts it this way, “all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. How will they call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?” This is the heart of our mission work. Jesus is the only hope of eternal life for the world, therefore we preaching Jesus to all people in view of eternal life for all who turn to him and eternal damnation for all who reject him.
Here is what the official Catholic Catechism says in relation to Muslims being ‘anonymous’ Christians:
“841 The Church’s relationship with the Muslims: The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”¹
This teaching is dangerous and un-biblical. We must recognize the need to share Jesus will all people of every religious for apart from Jesus there is no salvation.