Do Christians and Non-Christians Worship the Same God?

Another question had always bothered me. If belief in Jesus is necessary for eternal life, than what about so many good people I know who are Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists? Don't they get to go to heaven too since they're such good people?

And how can I in good conscience try and fulfill the "Great Commission" of evangelism? What? I should try and convert friends to Christianity who are fulfilled in their own faith? No way I said.

I finally raised the evangelism question above in a dialogue with my rector at St. Mark's church. He said "That's okay, don't try to proselytize your non-Christian friends. We really need to plow the more fertile field of Christians who have fallen by the roadside." Good, that answered that part of my question.

Then one Sunday this spring, our associate Pastor gave a sermon that struck a homerun. The essence was that everybody, regardless of their particular faith, worships the same God. He is eternal. We just call him by different names. So relax with your non-Christian friends. Their faith is fully valid. We Christians happen to have a special bonus that gives us the promise of eternal life. There's nothing wrong with witnessing what your faith does for you with this special bonus, just don't try to negate their faith." I thanked her profusely afterwards and said that she had answered a question that had nagged me for many years. She smiled and said "I know."

So, two down and one to go.

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