Last week I started a new series of articles on answers to common objections to Christianity. This week I want to look at the objection that Christianity is too narrow.
Christianity is often accused of being too exclusive. People claim Christianity is offensive when it claims that it is the only true religion. Instead they suggest that all religions lead to the same God, they just follow different paths to him.
But it is quickly apparent that this claim is usually made by people who know very little about the teachings of religions. All the major religions (those that have large numbers of adherents through the world) claim to be exclusive, not just Protestant Christianity. For example Islam teaches in the Quran that only Muslims prosper: ‘Those that obey God and His apostle [Muhammed], those that revere God and fear Him, will surely triumph’ (Surah 24:52). Whereas non-Muslims are condemned: ‘The unbelievers among the People of the Book and the pagans shall burn for ever in the fire of Hell’ (Surah 98:6). Meanwhile Judaism clearly rejects Jesus as their promised Messiah, God and King. Buddhism and Hinduism both teach that the way to deal with sin is with good works. And even Roman Catholicism has clearly condemned Protestant Christianity at the Sixth Session of the Council of Trent: ‘If any one says, that by faith alone the impious is justified…let him be condemned’.
So those who criticise religions that claim only one way of salvation are actually rather exclusive themselves. The majority of the world’s population understands that there is only one true religion: the religion that they follow (be it Islam, Hinduism, Christianity etc). So if you claim that all religions lead to the same God you are very much in the minority of the world population and excluding the rest of the world.
So Christians should not be ashamed of the exclusivity of their religion. Rather they should affirm Jesus’ words: ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ (John 14:6). And ‘Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” (John 3:36).’
Do you affirm that belief in Jesus is the only way to God?