The following was written by Dave Lindsey, a member of STF-USA from Indianapolis, Indiana.
One of the many things attributed to Christ is that he said that he was the only way to God. In fact, the Bible states “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Critics of Christianity call this view “narrow-minded”, but is it really? If we stop and think about it, life is full of laws with very narrow parameters. Gravity is one of them. In the late 60’s, I worked with two other men roofing houses as a side job. Most of the jobs we did involved working on older two-story houses, which oftentimes had very steep pitched roofs. All our work had to be performed around the reality of gravity. It limited our ability to move freely and we had to constantly plan our actions around it. We all had to have a healthy respect for gravity, and we were certainly being narrow-minded about our work because a lack of respect for the law of gravity could have fatal consequences.
Being narrow-minded can be, and often is, the right way to think and act. Why do we drive on the right side of the road? Why should we obey traffic signals? These are civil laws that are designed to make driving safe for everyone, and being narrow-minded is a good thing when it comes to driving an automobile.
I’ve heard the argument that Christianity excludes other religions and spiritual leaders who teach virtuous living, but many of those same religions exclude Christianity because they believe “their religion” is the right way. Because there are different views about salvation across different religions, we will always be mutually exclusive. The Bible does teach us to love and respect others no matter what their beliefs are, but if being a good person is all that is required for salvation, then we don’t need a savior.
The Christian Bible says that we cannot be saved by being a good person because everyone, both Christian and Non-Christian, sins. Scripture says, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23), and no matter how hard we try, we still make mistakes and sin. The Bible says that we will never be able to live sin-free in this life, and for that reason Christ came to be a sacrifice for our sins (2 Cor. 5:21).
Christ’s sacrifice for us is what makes Christianity different from all other religions. Other belief systems teach that righteous living is the way to God, Nirvana, heaven, or whatever reward their belief system teaches. As Christians, we understand that we are saved by God’s grace alone (Eph. 2:8). It was a free gift from God and the way to that free gift is through the works of Jesus Christ and not our own.
Whether or not we’re being narrow-minded when it comes to salvation through Christ, is a matter of perspective. We can see salvation through Jesus Christ as narrow-minded or we can see it as “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). The choice is yours.