Monday 14 May 2012

Who Is Jesus and how can he be 'the Only Way' to God?

We now live in a 'global village', a multi-faith society where exclusive claims may offend.

Many adherents of other faiths are prepared to recognize Jesus as a great teacher, prophet, leader and reformer - even perhaps as one way to God.

Are we not then being arrogant, intolerant and narrow-minded by suggesting he is the only way?

First we must admit that the world's religions do have many things in common - they all recognize a spiritual dimension and have broadly similar moral codes. But closer examination also reveals a multiplicity of differences - for example compare the teaching of the world's six major faiths (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism) on the nature of God, life after death, creation, sin and salvation. They cannot all be right!

Perhaps all contain aspects of the truth. Maybe. But if one is true in an absolute sense, then it follows logically that none of the others can be also. It's one or none.

Christianity makes three distinct claims with which no other religion agrees:

1.The deity of Christ ie Jesus is God (Jn 1:18)
2.The authority of the Scriptures ie The Bible is the Word of God (2 Tim 3:16)
3.Salvation by grace through faith (Eph 2:8)

Each of these claims is rooted in the teaching of Jesus and the apostles - a denial of any is a denial of Christianity.

That Jesus is the only way is asserted by Peter, Paul and indeed Jesus himself. (Acts 4:12; 1 Tim 2:5; Jn 14:6). Whoever does not believe in Christ stands condemned (Jn 3:18). Whoever acknowledges Christ will be acknowledged by him on the day of judgment (Mt 10:32; Lk 12:8) but whoever denies him will be denied (Mt 10:33, Mk 8:38; Lk 9:26; 12:9; 2 Tim 2:12). Anyone who is not for Christ is against him (Mt 12:30; Lk 11:23).

The exclusive claims of Christ are based on the teaching that he is himself God. This is directly stated in at least eight passages of the NT. (Jn 1:1-2; Jn 1:18; Jn 20:28; Acts 20:28; Rom 9:5; Tit 2:13; Heb 1:8; 2 Pet 1:1) and strongly implied in others (Mt 1:23; Jn 17:3; 5; Col 2:2; 2 Thess 1:12; 1 Tim 1:17; Jas 1:1; 1 Jn 5:20).
Furthermore Jesus said and did things that in the Old Testament only God said and did.

1.He called himself - 'I AM' (Ex 3:14 cf Jn 8:58; 6:35; 8:12,24; 11:25; 14:6; 18:5; Mk 14:62)

bridegroom (Is 62:5; Jer 2:2; Ezk 16:8 cf; Mk 2:19f; Jn 3:29; Rev 19:7)

shepherd(Ps 23:1; 80:1; Is 40:11; Ezk 34:15 cf; Jn 10:11-16)

the first and the last(Is 44:6; 48:12 cf; Rev 2:8; 22:13)

Others called him -Lord (Heb=YHWH, Gk=Kyrios)(Rom 10:9; 1 Cor 12:3; Phil 2:11; 1 Tim 6:15; 2 Cor 4:5)

2.He accepted worship - (Mt 4:10 cf; Mt 2:2,8,11; 14:33; Mk 5:33; Jn 9:38; Mt 28:17; Lk 24:52)

3.He created the world - (Gn 1:1; Ps 33:6,9; 148:5 f cf; Jn 1:1,3; Heb 1:2; Col 1:16;)

4.He existed before his birth (Jn 17:5; Jn 1:1)

5.He forgave sins - (Is 43:11,25; 45:21 cf; Mt 1:21; Mk 2:7-10; Lk 7:48; Acts 4:12; 5:31)

6.He said he would judge the world - (Is 5:16 cf; Mt 25:31-46; Mk 8:38; Jn 5:22-30; 2 Thes 1:7-10)

We can tell from the reactions people had to him, that there was no doubt about what he was claiming. They either worshipped him (Mt 14:33; 28:17; Lk 24:52; Jn 9:38; 20:28) or accused him of blasphemy (Mt 26:65,66; Mk 2:7; 14:63,64; Lk 22:70,71; Jn 5:18; 8:5,8; 10:33; 19:7). He was killed because he claimed to be God.

Given the NT's unequivocal claim of Jesus Christ's divinity we cannot say that he was merely a great moral teacher, since a great moral teacher would not lie about his own identity. There are only four options open to us in considering a man who claims to be God: either he is a liar, a lunatic, a legend or the Lord.

Someone who deliberately lied about his identity would be a demonic deceiver and trickster. Someone who falsely believed himself to be God and told others so would be a deluded lunatic. The third option is that he never existed, or that his followers misinterpreted and distorted what he said, in other words that the story is a legend. Or finally we could conclude that he was who he claimed to be - the Lord.

As Christians, we assert on Jesus’ own authority that he is both God the Son and the only way to God.

But what do you think?


  1. The Second Vatican Council Document Nostra Aetate reflects in depth on this issue:

    In brief- Jesus is the Son of God, and the only way to God, but other religions have true bits too.

    " Likewise, other religions found everywhere try to counter the restlessness of the human heart, each in its own manner, by proposing "ways," comprising teachings, rules of life, and sacred rites. The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men. Indeed, she proclaims, and ever must proclaim Christ "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6), in whom men may find the fullness of religious life, in whom God has reconciled all things to Himself.(4)"

    "The Church, therefore, exhorts her sons, that through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions, carried out with prudence and love and in witness to the Christian faith and life, they recognize, preserve and promote the good things, spiritual and moral, as well as the socio-cultural values found among these men." From

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  3. To say "a denial of any is to deny Christianity" gives Christianity a worryingly narrow definition. For example, it makes any non-inerrantist automatically a non-Christian, as their views on the Bible clash with your second "distinct claim"- which also isn't that "distinct", given that fundamentalist adherents of other religions such as Islam would say the same about their various scriptures.

  4. Free will is a lie. If God knows about everything before it happen are we really free to choose? Couldn't he have given us some safer options to choose from? I don't let my teenagers choose to do dangerous things, why does God?

    1. You can do whatever you want (i.e. free will), but God knows about it anyway. He does give safer options (Jesus).

  5. If you know someone will make a choice, you do not therefore cause them to make that choice, even if you are God. So yes, we really are free to choose. We must be, for the type of love God offers and calls us to requires, at it core, a choice. God values love above all else. Having free will... true free will... means we have the choice not only to love, but also to hate. When we choose wrongly we can cause suffering... sometimes great suffering. But any love born outside of free will would be as hollow as programming a robot to say, "I love you." Without free will we cannot truly love. And God built us, first and foremost, to love. In the end, love will prove worth the hazards of free will. It will prove worth the suffering we go through, and God himself goes through, as a result of our poor choices.

  6. So what if the Bible's corrupted? That hypothesis blows away the quotes that comprise most of the article.

    1. Look up the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Bible has been proven accurate since its inception around Jesus' death. It is an almost word for word copy compared to the scrolls found in the caves of the Dead Sea. So, is the Bible corrupted? No, it is not.


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