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Why Is Christianity Exclusive?

Ravi Zacharias died over a month ago. Though I never read any of his books and only occasionally heard him speak on Christian radio, I do know he did much to advance Christianity in a religiously pluralistic age.

We certainly live in an age in which religious pluralism prevails. In a nutshell, religious pluralism is the belief in the existence of multiple paths to God.

Christianity, in distinction from religious pluralism, says that there is only one way to God. Christianity is exclusive. By exclusive, I mean that Christianity is the only truth, the only way to God (John 14:6). My question is, why is Christianity exclusive?

One reason Christianity is exclusive is because of the nature of personal Christian (or saving) faith. To possess Christian faith means that you believe that Jesus is the only way to God. In other words, faith, in itself, says that Jesus Christ, as revealed in the Christian Scriptures, is the only way to God. You cannot, by definition, be a Christian and believe there are multiple ways to God. For example, you cannot be a Christian and believe that following Mohammed is also a way to God. You cannot be a Christian and believe that meditation is also a way to God. When you trust in Jesus, your faith is saying that Jesus is the only way to God. Christian faith is by nature the only way to God.

I had a time in my life where I struggled with the exclusivity of Christianity. I wondered how Christianity could be true when so many other religions like Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism all make claims to be true. Over time, I came to realize that one had to be true and the others false. Logically, two different sets of truth claims could not be true at the same time. For example, Islam says Jesus did not die on a cross; Christianity says Jesus did die on a cross. It is a logical contradiction, therefore, to believe that Jesus did not die on a cross and Jesus did die on a cross. Likewise, it is a logical contradiction to believe that Jesus is the only way to God and Jesus is not the only way to God.

We often reference John 14:6 to support the exclusivity of Christianity. But the Apostle Paul supports it as well. In Galatians 5:2 Paul says that “if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you.” The point, in context, is that you cannot claim circumcision is the way to God and, at the same time, Jesus is (also) the way to God. If you do, “Christ will be of no [saving] benefit to you.” You cannot have it both ways.

Christianity is exclusive because of the nature of saving faith itself.

Pastor Dan

For more on Galatians 5:2, see the sermon here.