Is Christ the only way to God? This bristling question is one we all must face at some point in our lives, choosing one of three answers:
- Christianity is not narrow
- Christianity is narrow and wrong
- Christianity is narrow and true
Equal Toleration of Religion?
In the United States, we have a unique setup of government in which there is no official religion. Our Constitution aims to protect the right to worship for believers of all faiths without imposing religion on anyone. While this equal toleration in itself is good, it has come to mean something entirely different in popular thought: no religion has exclusive claims to truth. From this blunder, many have drawn the conclusion that equal toleration means equal validity.
This new viewpoint has led to an astounding attitude of intolerance, particularly toward Christianity. Because Christianity makes a truth claim, those who preach “tolerance” attack it. They miss the truth that we can—and should—still love one another even if we hold different views. Loving one another does not mean we all have to hold the same view.
Is Christianity Too Narrow?
Those who seek to discredit Christianity because of its truth claims often ask the following common questions regarding its proclamation of Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation:
- Since all religions are basically the same, does it matter what you believe?
- Isn’t the choice of which religion you take just a matter of personal preference?
- An estimated 75% of the world is not Christian—can they all be wrong?
- Christ can be the only way to God for you, but how can you claim that He is the only way for everybody?
The first option to answer this question is to say that Christianity is not actually narrow. This is the idea that all paths lead to the same place; all religions are essentially the same. But if you take any religion seriously at all, you will find that they do not make the same claims and therefore cannot all be true.
Take the example of gasoline: cars take very particular kinds of fuel. If you put the wrong kind of fuel into the car, it will not function. In the same way, religions make very different claims about salvation and the end of humanity. It should not surprise us that a religion would make a specific, narrow truth claim; indeed, the nature of a truth claim is that it is narrow.
Does Christ Claim to Be the Only Way?
If Christianity is not narrow, then it does not make specific truth claims. However, consider the following claims from the Bible:
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.” (Matthew 7:13)
“Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6)
If we take the Bible seriously, then we see that Jesus promoted Himself as the only Savior. His claims are narrow; in declaring Himself to be God, He declares that He is the only way of salvation. In Him alone can we find forgiveness of sins and eternal life. The real question, then is not whether Christianity is narrow in its truth claims, but whether it is correct.
Interested in learning more about the Bible and the Christian faith? Check out Ken Boa’s apologetics category on the website.