John's Gospel

The Way It Happened

John 14:6, Jesus, The Only Way

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

//It’s been a week since my last post. I’ve been relaxing on a camping trip; perhaps the first time I’ve missed two or more days in a row since the blog began. So let’s fire things up again with a controversial topic.

I am often asked how I can endorse other religions as a possible path to God. Isn’t the scripture clear that only Jesus can save? Today’s verse is probably the most quoted argument, but another verse in Acts may be even more clear (Peter is speaking of Jesus):

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. –Acts 4:12

So pluralism must be a colossal mistake, right? But as a liberal Christian, I just don’t read it that way. We need to be cautious about reading verses in the shadow of traditional Christian dogma. These verses were written in an age when Christians could see no other hope of “salvation.” The Jews wanted a savior, someone to set right the world’s wrongs, and along came Jesus. Having rejected him, what other savior could they expect? Who else, in that day and age, was bringing to the Jews a message of compassion and hope?

Early Christians could see no one else on the horizon. These verses were written in a dark age when the Teacher of Righteousness, a man sent from God, had just been crucified. The verses were a cry to the rejecting world to see in Jesus the only way, for no one else in the world seemed to understand God as Jesus did.

Two thousand years later, I think we’ve found many more wonderful examples of how to live a godly life, from many different flavors of religion. What was true 2,000 years ago is no longer true today.

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2 Comments

  1. Alan Keohane

    The bible says that Jesus is the reason we can be saved, but do we have to know about grace in order to be saved?

    – Old Testament believers didn’t know about Jesus
    – Paul seems to imply that we are judged according to our knowledge

    Does this leave the door open to salvation for those whose knowledge or understanding is limited?

    Fortunately, we don’t have to make that call… that’s God’s job.

  2. Lee Harmon

    Hi Alan! Thanks for contributing.

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