In a recent Newsweek
interview (The Gospel of Will Smith, Newsweek, Nov 28, 2008)
, actor Will Smith was asked, "There are also rumors about you being a Scientologist. Jada has spoken about you two studying many religions, including Scientology. So are you a Scientologist?" Mr. Smith answered:
"I love the nature of humanity's search for meaning. For me I'm certain about my relationship with the model of perfection of human life that's laid out with the life of Jesus Christ. I'm certain of that. So I'm at home and not fearful when I sit in a mosque or a synagogue or a Buddhist temple, the same way that I'm home in the Church of Scientology. I like anywhere people are searching for the truth, and I respect their path and I'm intrigued by their path. I think when you are certain in and of what you believe in, you can open your mind to seeing the ways of others. I'm not bothered when someone says 'Allah' because they're talking about God - we are talking about the same person. I was in India recently and my hotel was near the Taj Mahal. Five times a day there would be a call for prayer, and it was the most beautiful thing. I was lying in my bed thinking, no matter what your religion is, it would be great to have that reminder five times a day to remember your Lord and savior."
When I read this, what immediate struck me was the similarity of this claim to that made by Joel Osteen, pastor of Houston's Lakewood Church, during his June 20, 2005 interview with Larry King:
KING: What if you're Jewish or Muslim, you don't accept Christ at all?
OSTEEN: You know, I'm very careful about saying who would and wouldn't go to heaven. I don't know ...
KING: If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They're wrong, aren't they?
OSTEEN: Well, I don't know if I believe they're wrong. I believe here's what the Bible teaches and from the Christian faith this is what I believe. But I just think that only God will judge a person's heart. I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don't know all about their religion. But I know they love God. And I don't know. I've seen their sincerity. So I don't know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus.(CNN Larry King Live, Interview with Joel Osteen, June 20, 2005)
The difference between the two is that Joel Osteen knows (or should know) better, he's just too chicken to say it, or really doesn't know the exclusivity of the Gospel - "Jesus said, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" (John 14:6, ESV)
Back to Will Smith's interview, when asked whether he was raised Baptist, he said, "Yes . . . My grandmother raised me to be a do-gooder in the church, that it was about doing what you can to help your community. So whatever religion does that - Jewish, Muslim, Scientology - it's cool because the end result is the same."
I agree. Before the separation of the sheep and the goats, the redeemed and the unregenerate, we will all, at the sound of the name of Jesus Christ, bow our knees, in heaven and on earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord! (Philippians 2:10-11, ESV)