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13.12.02

Is Christianity The Only Way?

The conclusion I want to draw from all of the Biblical evidence is that Jesus is truly the only way to salvation. However, since Jesus is the preincarnate logos who enlightens every person, it is possible that everyone has at least the possibility of being saved through Jesus, even if they do not say the name of Jesus. Maybe (and this is a huge "maybe") John 1:9 implies that what is important is how people respond to the "Light" they do have available to them,2 although Jesus as revealed in the Bible is the supreme revelation of the "Light." Therefore, it is not implausible that someone could find salvation through Jesus without even knowing the name of Jesus because they have responded to the Light which has been revealed to them. None of this seems to contradict teaching in Scripture.

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No human is able to undo the stain of sin that separates all people from God. Jesus is the only way to salvation simply because He is the only adequate solution for our sin. Since humans were unable to come to God due to sin, God graciously came to humans and offered a way to redeem their relationship with Him.

This is the catch - What was Jesus doing on the cross? Orthodox Christians believe that He was making just payment for our sin. If the answer to that question is anything else, then there is no salvation through Jesus. Since this is the answer indicated by Jesus, Scripture, the church, and reason, then taking this answer to its logical end means that all who do not accept the saving work of Jesus are unable to account for the sin that separates them from God. Therefore, they remain separated from God. Jesus is the only way to salvation because He is the only possible way reconcile humanity's sin which separates all humankind from God.


The conclusion here doesn't seem to follow from the explanation of the nature of Jesus' death. If it truly is Jesus' death that saves us, then whether we believe or not is not important. He said "no one comes to the Father but through me," not "no one comes to the Father but through believing in me." Refer also to John 3:16: "for God so loved the world* that He gave His only son, that we may not perish, but have eternal life." Not "for God so loved those who loved Him back..." Evangelism, then, can't be about saving the heathens -- they're already saved. It would be about sharing the good news -- letting people know something great you found out.

* Note also that God loves the world, not just the people who inhabit it. The anti-worldliness of much of Christian philosophy bothers me. It makes no more sense for the Creator to want people to turn away from Creation in order to get closer to Him, than for a painter to tell people not to look at his or her paintings. Granted, there are anti-worldly statements in the Bible. But I think in those cases it makes more sense to take "world" as referring to the popular idea of a material universe that is somehow separate from the divine, a corrupted expression of eternal principles. A God who loves His Creation would certainly want people to reject the idea that Creation is a separate, ungodly realm.

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