Jesus may be exclusive, but he is the most inclusive, exclusivist you’ll ever find! No matter where you’re from, no matter what language you speak, no matter where you grew up, no matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done, it doesn’t matter. Everybody has a seat at the table.
In his new series, ‘Do All Religions Lead to the Same Place?’ Pastor Jeff Vines is looking at a topic we’ve all probably thought about or been asked before. Can we claim Jesus is the only way to God? These are tough questions that a lot of people will find offensive in a culture of inclusivity.
“I spend a lot of time on university campuses talking to college students,” says Jeff. “As soon as they find out I’m a Christian, it doesn’t seem to matter how polite or subtle that I am. They have their own preconceived ideas of tolerance and inclusivity.”
The fact that Jesus is truly the only way to God is offensive in a Western culture that places the highest value on tolerance and inclusivity. Tolerance and inclusivity is defined as all people are treated equally under the law. But that definition has changed dramatically over the last 15 years.
“Not merely do we treat all people equally,” says Jeff. “But now all ideas and true statements are equally valid and equally true. So if you claim to have a superior idea, especially in relation to religion, then you are seen as bigoted, as somehow superior.”
When Christians talk about Jesus being the only way to salvation, we first have to address the misconception concerning inclusivity. We are asking two primary questions. Is this world view inherently coherent? Is it consistent in the answers that it gives for origin, meaning, morality, destiny? And can it be existentially felt? What difference does it make in our lives?
“The way inclusivity is defined today, it violates the foundation of reason and debate,” says Jeff. “Two statements made about the same thing that diametrically oppose one another cannot both possibly be true. Relationship with God occurs outside of the real.”
Christians say Jesus is the Son of God, who died on the cross for the sins of the world. We claim that Jesus pre-existed Abraham. And according to John 1:3, Jesus made all things. He took part in creation because He pre-existed creation.
“We believe that Jesus is God in the flesh who died for the sins of the world,” says Jeff. “There is no one righteous, that you are saved by grace alone. Salvation is not something that can be earned. Now, Muslims will tell you Jesus categorically is not the Son of God. That it’s blasphemy to even suggest that God could have a son. They will even tell you that he may have been a prophet and a teacher equal to, but not greater than Muhammad.”
Logically speaking, these two world-views are diametrically opposed to each other. Both cannot be true. Inclusivity works under a false assumption that the religions of the world are fundamentally the same, and only superficially different. The opposite is actually true.
“The religions of the world are fundamentally different,” says Jeff. “Yet it’s always Christians who take the hit as if we’re the only ones who are exclusive. This comes out of a lack of understanding. Atheism is the most exclusive religion of all. Any statement about the absolute nature of things is a religious statement.”
The only way anyone can say there absolutely is no God is if they have absolute knowledge, which no one does. When others accuse Christians of arrogance, they are claiming to have far more superior knowledge.
“I love reminding people that Jesus may be exclusive, but He is the most inclusive, exclusivist you’ll ever find. Everybody has a seat at the table.”