“Ticket to Heaven” – Ken Chumbley

Ken Chumbley

Several years ago, Robert Schuller, the television evangelist of Crystal Cathedral fame, told a story about his meeting the late Paul “Bear” Bryant, the famed coach of the Crimson Tide football team at the University of Alabama, on an airplane. Schuller told Coach Bryant, “It’s always good to meet another good Christian.” Bryant is said to have “I don’t know about that. I’m not sure I am a Christian…I’ve talked with Billy Graham and Oral Roberts, and I never get the feeling. And I’m talking to you, and I don’t get no feeling. Shouldn’t I get the feeling?” According to the story, Bryant then went on to explain that he did not believe himself to be a Christian because he drank alcohol, smoked tobacco, and did not believe everything taught in the Bible. Schuller responded, “A Christian is someone who puts his faith in Jesus Christ, not in his good works. You’ve got sins. I’ve got sins. I’ve never met a Christian who was perfect.” He then says that he took Bryant’s boarding pass and wrote John 6:37 on it (“him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out”) along with the statement, “I Believe this, and I accept Christ today as my savior.” Schuller then relates that he told Bryant that he would have the full assurance of salvation if only he would sign below the statement. He then recalls that Coach Bryant signed it and said, “I’ll trust that’s my ticket to heaven.”

As one looks at this account, several things do not square with the Rule Book of Christianity, the Word of God. First of all, salvation is not based upon feelings but upon faith. Further, you will note that Mr. Schuller mentioned not one word about repentance. However, the Bible clearly shows the need for repentance. Jesus said, “except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3, 5). Also, on the day of Pentecost, when Peter preached the first Gospel sermon, in response to those who asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37), responded, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you” (2:38). Furthermore, one can search the pages of Holy Writ and he will nowhere find anything even closely akin to “He that believes and sings his name shall be saved,” any more than it does to say what is commonly called the “Sinner’s Prayer” and thereby be saved. Yet, sadly, many are deceived into thinking that such gives them a “ticket to heaven.”

Furthermore, Robert Schuller never mentioned anything concerning baptism, yet God’s Word surely does. In the same passage where Peter responded to the question of the people (2:38), the whole passage reads, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Scripture then tells us that those who gladly received the Word that Peter preached were baptized (2:41). Again, we notice the words of the Savior, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).

For one to be able to go to heaven, one must respond to the teaching of the Scripture and be obedient to the Gospel message. To rely upon the word of fallible men that we can gain a “ticket to heaven” without being obedient to the Lord’s teachings is an eternally fatal mistake. Just because a preacher may say that all one needs to do to be saved is “such and such,” do not believe it unless what he says is in harmony with what the Word of God teaches. Do not be fooled; then, too late, find out that your “ticket to heaven” is invalid.

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Author: Editor

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