Christians have been accused of being arrogant because they claim that Jesus is the only way to God. However, it was Jesus Himself who said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). The argument that this only refers to Jesus’ dispensation (presumably until the advent of Mohammed and Islam, some 500 years later) is specious: it overlooks the global and timeless nature of the Gospel: people who were saved before the Cross were still saved through the Cross.

The Jews divided time into three eras: the age that was (from creation to the Fall), the age that is (now), and the age to come (the unalloyed rule of God). With Jesus’ first advent, he brought the Kingdom of the age to come — but it’s not fully here yet. We still get sick, lonely, unhappy and so on. This “now and not-yet” Kingdom two-step is called inaugurated eschatology: the beginning of the end. So when Jesus says in Matthew 28:20, “surely I am with you always, even to the very end of the age”, this refers to the end of this present age.

Christians are messengers, telling others that Jesus has won, and we all have a choice to make: submission and ultimate fulfilment and freedom, or rebellion and ultimate destruction. This is as arrogant as insisting that 2 + 2 = 4, or that murder is wrong? So why should it be arrogant to say that there is only one way to heaven?[i]

Whether or not people are arrogant is a matter of attitude, not truth. Attitude and truth (accuracy) are two different categories. Arrogance is an attitude; and attitudes don’t affect truth. A person’s attitude doesn’t make them right or wrong; it affects whether or not we like them. Some Christians may be arrogant; others are humble; but both know that Jesus is the only way to the Father because “the Bible tells me so.” Likewise, people of other religious faiths may be kind, generous, sincere and humble — but that doesn’t make them right.

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[i] Perhaps the emotional wind and heat that furnishes this accusation arise from the perception that Christians think they are better than non-Christians. Another reason might be because the claim can’t be tested objectively. But the same reason could be used to defend the thesis that murder isn’t wrong!

copyright Troy Grisgonelle 2007.

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