Christianity: Exclusively Inclusive

I’ve been thinking lately, with little fear for my health, about the exclusive claims of Christianity. Without delving into the what question of the gospel, I want to look at the who question.

Central to Christianity is our belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, fully God and fully man. I took a class on cults in college and the professor wisely said that almost all false religions also have a false view of Jesus at their root. I was skeptical but I think he was right.

Listen to Jesus. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6). That makes the liberals’s hair bristle.

No one. Nada. No other way. Not a chance.

It’s Jesus Christ or bust.

Luke reports the Apostles preached, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:14).

That’s exclusivity folks.

No one else. No other name. Nobody but Jesus.

We must not shy away from the exclusivity of Christ. We must not mince words. We must boldly proclaim salvation in the name of Jesus.

To do otherwise would be cowardly and it would harmful. If Jesus is right that he’s the only way then giving people even the slightest hope that there may be another way is just plain unloving.

But holding hands with the exclusivity of Christ is the inclusive proclamation of the gospel. Paul just as boldly proclaims,

[I]f you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 9:11-13)

And Jesus preaches,

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.  All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:35-40. See John 3:16-17).

That’s inclusive folks.

Everyone. Whosoever. No distinction. Money in the bank.

That’s the free offer of the gospel.

Come drink wine without money. Come feast at the King’s table without cost (Isaiah 55:1-ff).

All this kerfuffle about Christianity being to exclusive and too intolerant is nonsense. No more so than a fireman telling you that you can make it out of the burning building if you take the west staircase. You can ignore his word but you do so at your own risk. Try the east staircase if you will but it will lead to destruction.

No more so than when a loving parents gives his child instructions but commends that he follow his instructions carefully so that does not bring harm to himself. Only a fool would call that intolerant. I can hear it  now, “Can you believe that parent told his child not to play in the road on his walk home? How intolerantly exclusive. He should be able to play in the road or walk home on the sidewalk.”

These analogies aren’t perfect so don’t get your feathers ruffled and miss the forest for the sapling. My point is this: Christianity is exclusive in just the right kind of way. The way you want if it’s a matter of life or death. If cutting the red wire will blow the building up, you would want to know. Well here’s the gospel message, everyone who cuts the blue wire lives, everyone who cuts the red wire dies

Don’t get it twisted.