Is Jesus Really the Only Way to God? - page 4

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From the Spring 2009 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

Is Jesus Really the Only Way to God?

by Dennis P. Hollinger, Ph.D.
President and Professor of Christian Ethics, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary


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  The growing number of Christians who are troubled by Jesus’ claims to be the single course of salvation indicates how much the world has come to live in us as we attempt to live in the world. We easily allow the push and pull of our culture to define our beliefs, commitments, and way of life, even while giving lip service to the name of Jesus. Perhaps the Pew Forum poll will be a wake-up call as to how much Christians have allowed the world to shape their sentiments.
  Affirming the uniqueness of Christ for salvation and eternal life does not, of course, answer all our questions. There is much that God has not told us about the mysteries of life, death, and eternity. We naturally wonder what happens to those who never have an opportunity to embrace Christ. To such quandaries we must simply trust in a Savior who is both loving and just, and whose understandings are far beyond ours. We must acknowledge that from Scripture we know relatively little about heaven and hell. What we do know is that Jesus, the apostles, and the historic Church in all its variations have affirmed that Jesus is the only true way to God. And it only makes sense that if a person didn’t want Jesus as Savior and Lord on this earth, they would hardly want to spend eternity with Him.
  To affirm the uniqueness of Christ for salvation is not cause for arrogance and boasting. In fact scripturally it is exactly the opposite. Our salvation has nothing to do with our attainments, efforts, and native beliefs. In salvation we do not find God through our own ingenuity. Rather, God finds us as we respond to his loving mercy in Christ as evidenced on the cross. The embrace of Christ as savior and Lord can never be touted as cause for human triumph, smugness, or selfassertion. It is not a sign of our superiority, or cause for triumphalistic efforts in society.
  The uniqueness of Christ is a sign that the triune God of the universe cares so deeply for his wayward creatures that he mercifully provided a path to forgiveness, a way to the Father’s embrace. It is in the Father’s embrace through Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, that we come to realize that we can never pull the Triune God apart. For indeed to know Christ is to know the Father, and to know the Father is to know the Spirit, who enables us to stay true to the One Savior in the midst of a pluralistic world. 


Dennis Hollinger was appointed in 2008 as President and Professor of Christian Ethics at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, headquartered in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. He once served as a member of the C.S. Lewis Institute Board of Directors. Dennis and his wife, Mary Ann, have two adult daughters.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE:  Knowing & Doing is published by C.S. Lewis Institute; 8001 Braddock Road, Suite 301; Springfield, VA 22151. Portions of the publication may be reproduced for noncommercial, local church or ministry use without prior permission. Electronic copies of the PDF files may be duplicated and transmitted via e-mail for personal and church use. Articles may not be modified without prior written permission of the Institute. For questions, contact the Institute: 703.914.5602 or email us.
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