Christianity and Its Claim As the Only Path to God

Why should I accept Christianity as the "one true religion?" I'm put off by the intolerance of most Christians. I might become a believer myself if you people weren't so narrow-minded. Can't you see that there are many different pathways to spirituality – like Hinduism, Buddhism, and Wicca – and that no path is better than another? How can you say that someone is a horrible person simply because they don't adhere to your creed? Why do you try to impose your beliefs on others through violence? Didn't Jesus teach you to love your neighbor as yourself?

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Let’s cut to the chase. Christians cannot acknowledge “that there are many different paths to spirituality, and that no path is better than another.” Why not? Because, in a very important way, narrowness and exclusivity are basic to the message of the Christian Gospel. This is what some of our theologians have referred to as “the scandal of particularity.”

Is this “particularity” inconsistent with the perspective of the Bible? Does it contradict the teachings of Jesus? Is it something that modern-day believers have cooked up on their own as a way of justifying self-serving bigotry and prejudice? Not in the least. “There is one God,” writes the apostle Paul, “and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all …” (1 Timothy 2:5, 6). This, simply put, is the Christian faith. You can accept it as true or reject it as false. What you cannot do is throw it into the pot with Wicca and Islam and Buddhism and all the “pathways to spirituality” you’ve mentioned. It just won’t mix.

Does this mean that Christians are eager to “impose” their beliefs on others through “violence” or by any other means? Of course not! That would run contrary to everything we’ve been taught. Never once does Scripture urge us to do any such thing. Our job as disciples of Jesus is to bear witness to the truth in word and deed. Only God’s Spirit can convince another person to believe.

It’s crucial to add that Christians don’t view non-believers as “horrible people.” What we do say is that everyone desperately needs to be delivered from the consequences of human brokenness and disobedience toward God: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God …” (Romans 3:23). We further affirm that Jesus Christ, the human incarnation of the eternal God, is the sacrifice appointed to meet this need: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Jesus Himself claimed that His life, death, and resurrection on our behalf represent the only path to salvation, wholeness, and relationship with our Creator: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). This is the Christian faith in a nutshell.

Let’s be clear. We Christians should make it our business to love all people. We try to refrain from judging others and get along with everyone to the best of our ability. Indeed, our Lord commands us to do these things. Nevertheless, we cannot compromise our commitment to the absolute truth of the message of salvation in Christ. We honestly believe that He is the one and only solution to the world’s problems and ills. To back away from publishing this Good News would be like discovering a cure for cancer and then withholding it from those who need it most.

If you’d like to discuss these ideas at greater length, don’t hesitate to call our counselors.


Resources

What Every Christian Ought to Know Day by Day: Essential Truths for Growing Your Faith

The Faith: What Christians Believe, Why They Believe It, and Why It Matters

Jesus Among Other Gods

Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know

Mere Christianity

Basic Christianity

What the Bible Teaches: The Truths of the Bible Made Plain, Simple, and Understandable 


Referrals

Christian Research Institute

Insight for Living

Lee Strobel

Articles
Christian Worldview

Copyright © 2010, Focus on the Family.

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