Zev Porat

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Exclusive Nature of the Gospel: John 14:6

By James Christopher Powell

Modern culture, especially in the United States, operates under the banner of inclusivism. This is the principle of including or accepting all ideas, viewpoints, and beliefs as valid or merited. The idea of inclusivism presents itself in many applications of daily life. For example, modern day children and youth sports leagues display inclusive traits when no winner receives congratulations over and above the rest and all are recognized as participants. Moreover, in the arena of political correctness, one is expected to use language that is positive and uplifting as opposed to language that addresses wrong as wrong and right as right. Nowhere is the idea of inclusivism more obvious than in the philosophical idea of relativism. Relativism is the understanding that truth or moral right and wrongs are not universal standards but are only applicable to the individual. Thus, relativism and inclusivism work together to present an understanding that each person is entitled to his or her version of truth and, because individuals cannot impose their version of truth onto another, we must accept every persons truth as valid and equal to our own personal truth. The ideas of relativism and inclusivism have now penetrated every area of life including religion.


Over the past three weeks or so there have been two very public and prominent instances where figures who have audiences numbering in the millions have declared religious inclusivism. (My point here is not to degrade individuals so I will refrain from using names, but I will measure the messages of these two figures against the principles of God's Word.) The first instance involved an individual whom, without question, exercises spiritual influence over millions upon millions of individuals across continents and cultures. This spiritual leader said, "Many think differently, feel differently, seeking God or meeting God in different ways… In this crowd [the crowd of individuals from different world religions before the speaker], in this range of religions there is only one certainty that we have for all: we are all children of God." The second instance took place on a daytime talk show viewed by millions upon millions. This second event took place during a roundtable discussion on religion where one individual declared that all religions lead to the same end. However, the ironic moment of this discussion came when another commentator attempted to disagree but was silenced by the first individual when she restated emphatically that all religions are leading to the same place. Thus, in an attempt to portray inclusivism in religion this individual violated the premise of inclusivism by excluding the beliefs of another.


These two instances promote the idea that all religions of the world are seeking the same things and are ultimately leading all individuals to the same location by taking different paths of truth and understanding. However, this principle violates what Christian theologians refer to as the exclusive nature of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. One can appeal to many passages of Scripture to prove this exclusive nature, but John 14:6 is one of my favorites. In John 14 Jesus was in the middle of talking with His disciples during the Passover meal the night before he would be arrested and crucified. In John 14:5 the disciple Thomas asked Jesus how he and his fellow disciples would know the way to where Jesus was going and Jesus replied in John 14:6. Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me." And with that one statement Jesus separated those who would believe in Him from any other religious system. In essence Jesus debunked the religious inclusivism of today by stating that the only path that leads to God the Father passed though Jesus Christ the Son of God—"salvation is found in no one else" (Acts 4:12a)

Therefore, one is left with two options. One, you can place your trust in the inclusive movement and hope it is correct and all religions end up at the same place. Or, the second option, take Jesus at His word and accept Him as the only source of salvation and the only way to the Father.               

James Christopher Powell has served as assistant minister in Northwest Florida for ten years. 
He studies at The Baptist College of Florida where he is working on a Master's degree in Christians Studies.
He married his wife Jennifer in March 2014.  

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