The other day I came across the following statement from a church website regarding its views on other world religions.
While God’s revelation is contained in the Christian faith, it is not confined to it, and therefore we acknowledge that God’s presence and salvific purposes extend beyond our faith.
While there are many churches who would unfortunately agree, I could not stop thinking “then why even follow Jesus at all?!”
Besides the fact that it seems obvious to me that if all going to church did was attempt to make me a better person it would be a great waste of time, this statement is not very clear. “God’s revelation is contained in the Christian faith” but yet “it is not confined to it.” Either God’s revelation is contained in the Christian faith, or it is not. It cannot be both/and. This is so for many reasons because Christianity is so unique among the world religions, but I’ll just mention two:
1) Christianity is the only religion where you can do nothing to earn your salvation (or the equivalent thereof). No amount of effort or good deeds will “help” you in any way. It is all because of what Christ has done and the grace he gives those who trust in him.
2) Christianity is the only religion in the world with a trinitarian God. The concept of the trinity shows us why we were created as relational beings, as well as the fact that God does not “need” us as he is perfectly content within himself.
These two reasons alone show us why Christianity cannot be “one of” the many ways that God has revealed himself. It would not make logical sense for God to reveal himself in quite contradictory ways, which is what happens when we believe that “all paths lead to God.”
Ultimately though, it would render Christ’s death and the cross as useless and unnecessary at best. Even many of those who view Jesus as “just a good person” know that he claimed to be the one and only way to God (John 14:6, among others). If Christ’s death and resurrection was not necessary for our salvation, why send him at all? Also, I don’t think it makes sense to call someone a “good person” who goes around telling everyone that he was the only way to have a relationship with God and the Son of God, if he wasn’t. Yet this is what so many do with Jesus; claim he was “just a good person.”
As Christ himself said, no one is good but God (Mark 10:18). If Jesus was not God, then even he did not want us calling him good.
Many are familiar with C.S. Lewis’ line that Jesus is either a lunatic, liar, or Lord. Lewis ends that thought by saying, “But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
Therefore, Jesus is exactly who he said is, or he isn’t. He certainly cannot be “one of” the ways to God.