the only way?
How dare they! by
an editorial which ran on news wire services nationally, columnist
Kathleen Parker chided Franklin Graham for standing up for his
Biblical convictions. Parker took issue with some of his comments
from a recent USA Today interview (in which Graham affirmed the
historically orthodox position that Jesus Christ is, indeed the only
way of salvation). Parker notes that increasing numbers within our
culture (and especially among young adults), people wonder, "Why do
Christians claim that belief in Jesus is the only way to heaven?
Couldn't God just make it so that every one, you know, "gets in"?"
is an issue that every generation of Christians must deal with. It
seems like more than ever, those outside the church bristle at the
idea of Jesus being the only Savior. A headline from 2008 announced
what numerous other surveys have confirmed, "Christianity Panned By
16-29 Year Olds." Studies show that many young people view
Christians as being narrow, judgmental, and too exclusive in their
truth claims. Or, as a college student recently said to me, "I
just don't accept the idea anymore that there can be only one way
and Pluralism Contrasted
is sometimes assumed that all of history's religious leaders were
pointing people to the same God. But this is not the case. Buddha,
Krishna, Confucious - and countless others - have all set forth ideas
about God which contradict one another. Islam's Quran teaches that
there is one God. The Hindu Upanishads teach
that there are many gods. Other philosophies assert that everything
is God. All of the concepts from the differing scriptures can't
all be true simultaneously.
should be pointed out that the narrow position, "Jesus is the only
way to heaven," comes to us from...Jesus. I often say that Jesus
was either the world's greatest truth-teller or history's
greatest blasphemer. In verses such as Matthew 26:64-65, Mark
14:62-64, and Luke 22:66-71, Jesus asserted Himself to be Deity, that
is, God. Further, Jesus said that people would die spiritually if
they did not entrust their souls to Him (John 8:24). If Jesus were
correct about these things and was saying what He did in order to
point souls to salvation, He should be praised as the noblest
is no evidence that Jesus was mistaken about His identity, nor was He
intentionally trying to mislead His followers. Jesus' two-fold,
core message was that He is history's promised Savior and that the
spiritual destiny of all people hangs on their response to Him.
Jesus claimed attributes for Himself that are appropriate only to
God, and made other self-disclosures as well:
23:34- He said that He was the One who sent prophets to Israel.
2:10- He is able to forgive sin
4:21 and John 5:39- Jesus referred to Himself as the fulfillment of
8:36- Jesus can truly set people free
8:42- Jesus came from God
8:58- Jesus is eternal
10:30- Jesus had the same nature as God the Father
13:13- Jesus affirms that He is Lord
14:6- Jesus says that He is the only way to God
14:9- If you have seen Jesus, you have seen the Father.
(like followers of other religions) think that their beliefs are
true. Some cry "foul" over the fact that Christians recognize
Jesus to be the only way. But skeptics should recognize that
contradictory truth claims cannot all be true at the same time. For
example, history says that Jesus was crucified, yet Islam teaches
that Jesus was not crucified. It cannot be true that Jesus both was
crucified and was not crucified. Was Jesus correct or incorrect
regarding the claims He made about Himself? He could not both be
the Savior and not
evidence overwhelmingly points to the legitimacy of Christ's
claims. Jesus' unique claims about Himself were accompanied by
miraculous deeds and a sinless life. Those who accept what He said
and did are justified in doing so.
History's "Headliner" - Jesus Christ
often attend large conferences and concerts which feature multiple
stages to accommodate the speakers and bands. At such events it is
common to hear people ask of their favorite artist, "Are they on
the main stage, or in one of the "breakout" areas?" The main
stage is usually reserved for the performers and presenters who can
draw the largest crowds.
each of our lives, Jesus deserves to always be "main stage." Top
billing belongs only to Him. Following Jesus is both a privilege
and an obligation- and He's entitled to our utmost allegiance.
Claims about Jesus' exclusivity are mere prattlings by those
wishing to force their subjective preferences on others. Christ's
claim to be the unique Savior was coupled with several unparalleled
examples of confirmation: His prophesied coming, sinless life,
miraculous deeds, unique teachings, and physical resurrection.
Chesterton observed that Jesus' coming trumps the words and works
of all other religious leaders. He said, "No one else [but Jesus]
has any good news, for the simple reason that no one else has any news." Only
one way? Of course. For Jesus to be the way
to heaven is logically possible, Scripturally precedented, and
historically verified. Jesus is the focal point of history, and
deserves the same preeminence in our hearts and lives as well.