It used to be assumed that if you claimed to be a Baptist, you believed what the Bible says about Jesus being the only way to come to the Father – but that's not the case at a Baptist megachurch in New York City.
Pastor Michael Walrond has grown First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem from 350 members to over 10,000 in the last 14 years. The church calls them "disciples" – but with theology like this, which goes against fundamental Christian orthodoxy, it's unlikely they'll become disciples of Jesus:
Walrond: "There was a time where you could see people in the pulpit say If you don't believe in Jesus, you going to hell. That's insanity in many ways because that is not what Jesus even believed."
Pastor Walrond indicated he doesn't want to exclude anyone:
Walrond: "The key is, do you believe in God? And whatever your path is to God, I celebrate that – personally. I celebrate that." [See video of comments]
Bible teacher Ray Pritchard said Thursday on American Family Radio that Walrond is misleading his congregation.
"That pastor up in New York City ... is a misleader. He's a false teacher," Pritchard offered. "He is a wolf in sheep's clothing.
"John 14:6: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father but by me. We're living in days where that's considered exclusionary. But the truth of the matter is, Jesus said those words."
Christian apologist Dr. Alex McFarland has a more personal warning for Walrond.
"Before Pastor Waldron says that the gospel – quote – 'is insanity,' let me remind him of the words of the only man who ever walked on water and rose from the dead, Jesus Christ: Jesus said in John 8:24 – listen to this – If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."
Walrond's comments, captured in a short video clip and posted on Facebook, were greeted with scattered applause in the congregation.