The Pastor's Pen

The Pastor's Pen is a periodic column devoted to articulating biblical, theological, and practical teaching for God-honoring, Christ-exalting Christian living.

The Exclusivity of Christ and Christianity-The Pastor's Pen Feature

Christianity asserts that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven.  This claim denies the validity of the ways offered by all the world’s religions.  Until recently, this was the consensus of Christians.  The exclusivity of Christ and Christianity was unquestioned.

John MacArthur notes this change among evangelicals.  “The evangelical movement of today is no longer unified on this issue.  Some who call themselves evangelicals are openly insisting that faith alone in Jesus is not the only way to heaven.  They are now convinced that people of all faiths will be in heaven.  Others are simply cowardly, embarrassed, or hesitant to affirm the exclusivity of the Gospel in an era when inclusivity, pluralism, and tolerance are deemed supreme virtues by the secular world.  They imagine it would be a tremendous faux pas to declare that Christianity is the truth and all other faiths are wrong.  Apparently, the evangelical movement’s biggest fear today is that we will be seen as out of harmony with the world.”

For some evangelicals, Jesus is still necessary for salvation, but explicit knowledge of Him is not essential for salvation.  These evangelicals are inclusivists.   Ramesh Richard writes, “Inclusivists assert that Jesus is decisive as the ground of one’s salvation, but not necessary as the content of one’s faith.  So faith explicitly in Christ is not critical for salvation.”

The aforementioned positions within the framework of evangelicalism are a clear denial of biblical revelation about the exclusivity of Christ and the explicitness of knowledge about Him for salvation.

Scriptural testimony to these truths is listed below, beginning with the uniqueness or exclusivity of Christ.

Jesus’ own assertion about His unqualified exclusivity is expressed in John 14:6.  He is the way.  That is, He is the way to God.  Our Lord does not offer Himself as one of many ways.  He categorically claims to be the only way to God.  Christians then are only echoing the authoritative Word of Incarnate Deity.  Further, Jesus says that He is the truth.  He is the truth of God.  He is the consummate expression of the divine mind.  Jesus is the life of God.  The eternal life of God comes from Jesus Christ.  Without exception, no human being can come to the Father apart from Jesus Christ.

The apostle Peter followed His Lord in proclaiming the particularity of Christ for salvation.  In Acts 4:12, the words no one else translate the Greek allō, other of the same kind.  Peter said that there is no other name of the same kind.  Further, the apostle stated that there is “no other name.” The word other is the Greek heteron.  The point is that no other name at all than that of Jesus “has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

The apostle Paul clearly states that Jesus occupies a unique position between God and men (I Timothy 2:5).

Explicit Knowledge of Christ

Acts 16:31 shows that salvation requires precise knowledge of Jesus Christ.

In Romans 10:9-17 we see that knowledge of Christ is indispensable as content of faith for salvation.

Additionally, the Reformers were not ambiguous regarding the exclusivity and explicitness of Christ regarding salvation. They coined a phrase written in Latin to underscore the supreme importance of Christ in salvation, solus Christus.

Solus Christus means Christ alone. Christ alone is sufficient for salvation. His work of redemption does not need any additions to meet divine requisites to provide salvation for sinners. His work is sufficient. Christ alone saves. This means that people are “saved solely by His merits and not a combination of what Christ has done and our grace-empowered cooperation (Romans 3:21-31; 5:1-11; 8:1-4),” according to Stephen Wellum.

This is in contradiction to what the Roman Catholic church teaches. “A gospel that fails to confess solus Christus is no gospel at all,” says Wellum. Again, Wellum writes, “Martin Luther beautifully captures the Reformation’s affirmation of Christ alone in a letter to his supervisor, Johann Von Staupitz: ‘I teach that people should put their trust in nothing but Jesus Christ alone, not in their prayers, merits, or their own good deeds.’”

Those who deny the truths stated in this article align themselves with antichrists who are determined to lead souls to perdition. Those who affirm the truths in this article side themselves with God and His authoritative Word.