In my last article I wrote about the exclusivity of Jesus' statement in John 14:6, "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'" (John 14:6, NIV).
You may disagree with that claim, but you cannot deny the logical consistency of it.
There are those, who in the name of unity, sacrifice all sanity - all reason. There are those who try to unify beliefs that are polar opposites.
I like what the British columnist Steve Turner wrote when he was describing this modern malady. "We believe that all religions are basically the same - at least the one that we read was. They all believe in love and goodness. They only differ on matters of creation, sin, heaven, hell, God and salvation."
These basically identical religions are actually radically different in some pretty important areas. In fact, I have news for you, all the world religions by their very natures are exclusive.
Even Hinduism, which is on the surface very eclectic, at its core is just as exclusive in its claims as is every other religion. If you don't believe that, try convincing the persecuted church in India that what they are experiencing is simply the love and acceptance of Hinduism.
Be that what it may, there are still those (dare I say) foolish people who think that despite what Jesus may (or they claim may not have said) on this issue, in reality he is simply one way among many to heaven.
Let's forget about the claim for the moment and examine a different thought.
If you believe Jesus was and is the son of God, that he was and is in fact God become flesh to redeem us, if you believe that his death on the cross was not an unforeseen twist and a tragic end to his life, if you believe any of this, then you are confronted at once with a new problem.
This Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane, pleads with the father, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will but as you will." (Matthew 26:39 NIV).
What is he asking for? We might paraphrase his plea, "Father, if there is any other way for people to enter heaven, don't make me go to the cross." Now, even if you don't accept the claim of Jesus in John 14:6, you have to deal with this plea and the eventual outcome of it.
If you argue that the cross was nothing but an unfortunate accident, an unplanned tragedy that cut the life of Jesus short, then you're being very foolish indeed if you hold to Christianity as even being one way to heaven. You would be better off trying another religion.
If the cross is meaningless as far as redemption goes, the entirety of the Christian message is lost. Jesus was not simply a good moral teacher who gave us the golden rule to follow. Apart from the cross and resurrection there is no good news in Christianity. Paul put it this way, "And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless." (1 Corinthians 15:14, NLT).
If, on the other hand, you believe in the cross and resurrection, if you believe that these events were not accidents but in fact elements in God's plan of redemption, you are forced to the fact that because Jesus did face (and conquer) the cross and death, that has to mean, there is no other way.
What was his prayer? "If there is any other way for men to enter heaven, don't let me go to the cross." Did he go to the cross? Then it's settled, there is no other way.
Now you can curse that or you can accept it. You can claim anything you want, but if Jesus is who he said he was and if he did what he claimed to do, you can be sure of this, your chosen path (if it is apart from him), will not lead you to heaven. Sincerity has never been the measure of truth.
If you want to go to heaven, you must come by way of Jesus Christ.