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The exclusivity of Christianity. Is it important?

Posted by Chance on August 8, 2007

I have taken part in many discussions concerning the exclusivity of Christianity, that is, believing not only that Christ is the way to heaven, but that he is the only way. A key verse for this belief is “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” “

Now, I believe someone can be a Christian and not necessarily believe that Christ is the only way, but it would lead me to suspect the rest of their doctrine.

There seems to be three primary beliefs in salvation across the religions.

1) Good works get you to heaven.
2) Everyone goes to heaven.
3) Believing that Jesus Christ is the Messiah will get you to heaven.

If I left something out, let me know.

Now, if someone believes Option 3, but believes it is not the only way, then they would probably have to believe in Options 1 or 2. I know there are some Christian universalists who believe that Jesus’s sacrifice automatically redeems all mankind. That view isn’t necessarily inconsistent, though I disagree with that point of view for biblical reasons, as the scriptures frequently state that some response is needed. John 3:16 and John 1:11-12 being examples.

However, most people who believe Option 3 but do not believe in Christ being the only way typically believe in Options 1 and 3. I’ve heard many say that they believe in Jesus’s sacrifice, but they believe someone can also go to heaven by being a good Buddhist or Muslim or whatever. But, in my view, believing that shows a lack of understanding of why exactly Jesus was our atonement. Christ paid the sacrifice because no one is good enough, whether they be Christian, Hindu, etc… Romans 3:23 states that “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The entire books of Romans and Galatians echo this concept.

When talking about this concept to non-believers, we don’t want to present it as an issue of I’m right and you’re wrong. It’s really an issue of none of us being good enough to meet God’s standards.

My main point of this post is that the concept of Christ being the only way is indeed important, simply because it is intertwined so much with belief of salvation in general. Is this belief narrow? Of course. It is an un-PC idea. But that doesn’t prevent it from being true.

A couple more thoughts. If there was another way to heaven, why on Earth would Jesus go through the ordeal he did? It’s not like he was looking forward to it. Also, if he is not the only way, it would provide much less motivation for evangelism. It carries serious implications for all the missionaries risking their lives in closed countries.

Some say Jesus came to this earth really to provide an example on how to live. That is true, but in a way, that makes it harder for us. Obeying the Mosaic Law is tough. Living the Law in our hearts is even tougher. The Law shows us how we fall short; Jesus does this to an even greater extent.

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2 Responses to “The exclusivity of Christianity. Is it important?”

  1. preacherman said

    Chance,
    Great post.
    I believe that we are saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, the life.” John 3:16-17 “For God so Loved the World that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have ever lasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but save the world through Him.” Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God.” We must have faith in God and reward us with eternal life, “heaven.” Mark 16:16 tells us, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” So, I believe that faith is essential and because of the faith that I have in God and understand that I am saved by grace not by works I am going to do all I can to please Him. So, one thing I am going to do is be baptized as Jesus was. Paul mentions baptism in Romans 6 when talks about those Christians who are abusing the grace of God, not cherishing it like we should. Romans 6:1-ff Paul says, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we lieve in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were patized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from that dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
    Change, I hope this makes sense. Excellent post. Great points you make in your post. You make us think. I like that a lot. I hope you have a great weekend brother.

  2. Josh said

    Excellent post, Chance.

    I tend to agree with your beliefs that Christ is the ONLY way to heaven. If not, then he would be dishonest and misleading, and not ONE who I’d want to worship.

    I’ve been saving a post for the right time, but it’s revolutionary in the church’s viewpoint on sin.

    When God created the plants on the third day, the Bible says that He saw that it was “GOOD” (Genesis 1:12). Now, this is important to realize, since the tree God told Adam & Eve not to eat from was probably created on this day and God still called His work “GOOD”.

    So, my question is, “Was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil not good?”

    The tree wasn’t bad; the fruit wasn’t bad (Genesis 3:6 states that Eve saw that the fruit was “good for food”).

    Here’s what was bad:

    Satan convinced Eve that there was a better way to live that the one God created for her. And what I’m about to say will really get a lot of Christians up in arms, because it kind of goes against what they’ve been taught.

    Eve’s desire for a better way, contrary to the way God created things to be, is really the only sin that matters, because from that desire stems all other sinful acts. It’s the sin of “If only I…”.

    I’m sure you’ve heard it said that as Christians we are “Fruit Inspectors”. And this has become the failure of the church. This is why when the church does battle against one sinful act, another one pops up. Because as Christians, we should be “Root Inspectors”. Because from the root stems the fruit (Matthew 7:17).

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