Do Muslims Go to Heaven?
Question: Do Catholics believe that people of other religions, such as Muslims, will go to heaven?
Answer: Historically Rome taught that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church; therefore Muslims, like other non-Catholics, could not be saved unless they convert to the Catholic religion.
Relatively recently the Catholic authorities changed their mind; now they assure Muslims (and members of other religions) that they can be saved if they follow their religion conscientiously. ‘The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place among 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.’ (Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium).
From the Christian perspective, we cannot agree with Rome’s novel stand. We ought to take seriously the commission that our Lord entrusted to the church: ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned’ (Mark 16:15,16).
Our mission is to preach the gospel to everyone because all have sinned, Muslims are not an exception. The whole world, says the Scripture, is guilty before God. Every person needs to hear about the Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
We have no right to tell them that they will be saved by their religion. Muslims are taught to deny that Jesus is the Son of God; they do not believe that Jesus died for our sin, nor that he was resurrected and exalted above all. Muslims are taught that Jesus was a prophet, but not that he is the ultimate and perfect revelation of God. Muslims work hard to obtain salvation, but they have no sacrifice for sin, nor do they appreciate that salvation is a free gift of God received by faith in Christ.
Only after we have shared the gospel, can we assure them that they are saved if and when they believe in the Lord Jesus. Otherwise we have no message for them other than ‘he who does not believe will be condemned.'
The Roman Church is giving a false hope of salvation to Muslims and other unbelievers.
If you are a Muslim, please understand that as an evangelical Christian, I respect and love you. As human beings we have a double problem: ignorance and guilt. We need to learn God's will and we need to be freed from sin. The Lord Jesus Christ came to the world to fulfill both needs. He is the prophet who reveals God in truth; he is also the Saviour, who died on the cross to pay the ransom for our freedom. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). If you really believe that Jesus is a prophet, take his words seriously! There is no other way to heaven.
© Dr Joseph Mizzi