Q: Is Jesus being the “only way” to God narrow-minded?

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One of the questions people often ask me has to do with what theologians call the “exclusivity” of Jesus Christ. Christians throughout the centuries have faithfully proclaimed that Jesus’ life, death, burial, and resurrection are the only means by which humankind can be reconciled and put into a right relationship with God.

To modern ears, that sounds incredibly narrow-minded. What about all the people who grew up in different cultures with different religions – how can Christians arrogantly assume those other people are wrong simply because they do not use the same language when talking about God?

Many mainline denominations also reject the exclusivity of Christ. Instead, they view Christ as one way among many for people to be in a relationship with God. This is seen clearly in the way some mainline denominations talk about the Bible, salvation, and eternity.

So, what does Renovation Church (and by extension – I – Tyler Ramsbey) believe?

We believe and affirm the historical Christian teaching that there is no other name under heaven by which humankind can be saved (Acts 4:12).

How can we possibly hold to that narrow-minded, bigoted, and anti-Western truth?

Simple: The suffering of Jesus Christ.

Before being crucified, Jesus was brutally beaten beyond human recognition by a Roman scourge. This was a whip that would have shagged bone, piercing nails, and sharp metals attached to the ends of it. Jesus was beaten 39 times times by the Roman scourge – a beating that would cause most people to pass out from the pain. His flesh was literally ripped from his body.

After being scourged, Jesus is forced to carry His cross to a place of execution called Golgotha (lit. Place of the Skull). There he is stretched out while Roman Soldiers fasten him to the cross by hammering 6 – 9 inch nails through his wrists and his feet. He would then be hoisted up as onlookers jeered and mocked him. Crucifixion was invented by the Persians but perfected by Rome – it was such a horrifying way to die that Roman citizens could not be sentenced to crucifixion; it was a sentence reserved for foreign enemies and slaves.

Jesus endured all of this willingly. He is not a victim – He was in full control the entire time. Yet He endured the cross, drinking the full cup of God’s wrath that we deserve for our sin, in order to reconcile us back to the Father.

Friends, if it was possible to be reconciled back to God through the teachings of Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, New-age spirituality, or trying to be a “good person” – Jesus was the biggest fool and idiot for submitting himself to crucifixion. IF there was another way for humankind to be made right with God, the cross becomes divine child abuse at the hands of a sadistic deity who crushes His Son for no reason.


That’s why we believe Jesus is the only way to be made right with God. What say you? Do you disagree or agree? I’d love to hear from you in the comments! 

7 comments

  1. Very good article! David Platt has a great lesson on the topic as well “Only One Way?” on vimeo. A few years ago, when I was starting my faith journey, the thing I found the most interesting and mind blowing in a video by him related to it, was not that Jesus paid for our sins by just getting beaten by the Romans and crucified (it was an important part, don’t get me wrong). But that it was God’s wrath (The cup of wrath) that was poured out on Christ on our behalf…which makes sense since martyrs were crucified too and some of the time were singing hymns and praising God. Jesus wasn’t afraid of the cruel treatment, he was afraid of God’s wrath “Let this cup pass from me”. I think today, we miss something when we don’t preach and teach this other part of the crucifixion. Sorry it’s a little off topic…but I just stated and kept going :).

    1. Hey Jamie! Absolutely. The other incredible thing is, unlike martyrs and others who suffer for their faith, Jesus was in full control and by simply speaking one word all of his enemies would have been destroyed. Even though He was in full control the entire time, he endured the cross “for the joy that was set before him!”

      1. Yep, it’s just amazing! just when one thinks they almost fully understands one aspect, God reveals something new and blows the mind again!

  2. I definitely agree, and your final paragraph sums up everything very well. The only thing I might offer in the way of a comment is that Jesus turns the whole salvation concept “upside down.” This makes faith in Jesus totally different from faith in any other way. All other religions are about what people must do for God. Only Christianity is about what God has done for people. Thanks for this great post!

  3. Interesting post, however, I disagree. I see that your viewpoint is exclusivism (Personal relationship with Jesus is the only way to new creation). I tend to fall into inclusivism (you don’t need a personal relationship with Jesus) and here’s why:

    Claiming exclusivism is claiming that Jesus did not die for everyone on the cross and is a blatant misunderstanding of salvation. Your viewpoint reflects that Jesus must have died for the “elect”, which I can’t get on board with ( because this leaves out unbelievers, people who never heard the gospel, and people before Christ). There are two parts to salvation:
    1. Justification – through Jesus’ death
    2. Sanctification – through accepting it, or some may say “knowing Jesus”

    From my understanding, you can be sanctified without knowing exactly who Jesus is because Jesus is said to be both “grace” and “creation” itself. Therefore wherever creation is, there is also grace and Jesus. You DO need to acknowledge a creator and worship him and be grateful, but by no means do you need to know exactly who Jesus is.

    1. Hey Godsciencelife,
      First of all, thank you so much for reading the post and taking the time to leave a comment! I love to continue the conversation in the comment section! In order for us to understand one another’s perspectives, it would be good to define our assumptions. My assumption is that the 66 books which make up the Bible are infallible & inerrant therefore all truth claims must be held according to Scripture fire and foremost. With that in mind, I respectfully disagree with you for following reasons:

      1. Your view is what I would call universalism (which I think you would agree with that label). That view has been rejected by the Church throughout history. The orthodox view, which has been upheld by the Church, for it is the proper exposition of what is taught in the Scriptures, is that faith in Christ and Christ alone brings salvation. I would find it strange that much of the New Testament – especially the missionary journeys of Paul – consists of calling other people to repent of false worship and to put their faith in Jesus. If God’s okay with people as long as they believe in some “creator” – that makes Paul and the rest of the New Testament writers wrong. Since my assumption is that the Bible is infallible and inerrant, I cannot come to that conclusion.

      2. Your understanding of “justification” and “sanctification” seems to not match what the Scriptures nor church history teaches. You are correct on justification as being made right with God through Jesus’ death, while sanctification is the process of being “made holy” to look more like Jesus. You may affirm that, I was just confused by your definition of sanctification.

      One Scripture that I think is helpful in this regard is Galatians 2:16: – “We know that a person is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we ourselves have believed in Christ Jesus. This was so that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no human being will be justified.”

      Paul makes it clear that we are justified BY faith in Jesus Christ. It is impossible to be justified apart from a saving knowledge/faith in the person and work of Jesus. Correct me if I am wrong, but there is no place in Scripture that teaches a person can be justified apart from a personal faith in Jesus.

      3. Finally, you close your comment by saying, “From my understanding, you can be sanctified without knowing exactly who Jesus is because Jesus is said to be both “grace” and “creation” itself. Therefore wherever creation is, there is also grace and Jesus.”

      How did you arrive at this understanding? This is dangerously close to pantheism which is universally rejected by the Christian Church and always has been (Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox all reject this position).

      4. You then list three requirements for entrance into heaven “You DO need to acknowledge a creator” & “worship him” & “be grateful” and then conclude, “but by no means do you need to know exactly who Jesus is.” You list three works as a means of salvation which is works-righteousness, once again rejected by the Church universal. Even more troubling is you claim people do not need to know who Jesus is. This is in direct contradiction to the Book of Romans which states the exact opposite of your view:

      Romans 10:9 – 14
      “9 If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on him will not be put to shame, 12 since there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, because the same Lord of all richly blesses all who call on him. 13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. 14 How, then, can they call on him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about him? And how can they hear without a preacher?”

      Looking forward to your reply when you get a chance. Thank you!

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