The Universal Offense: Jesus is THE only way

The idea of one religion claiming to be “THE” truth is offensive and loathed in Western cultures.

Why such indignation at this claim? Stop and think of the many “ones” in your life: there is only one you— a unique individual created in the image of God—no one else is like you! There is one planet Earth (and we better be taking good care of it), and yes, only one way to heaven. Now there can be many ways to Jesus Christ, but He is the only way to eternal life with God the Father. 

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” 

— John 14:6

Such a scandalous claim! And this statement proved to be a deadly one for Christ, who was later killed by crucifixion for sayings like this one.

In a day and age when we are used to options, we apply that kind of thinking to our religious options, as well. It seems contrary to what we are used to when it comes to so many choices. Can’t we also choose which spiritual belief to have? Yes, you do have free will to choose whatever you like, but you should ask yourself whether or not your belief is true. 

According to the Bible, if you believe this book to be the inspired Word of God (many doubt this, yet there are excellent reasons to believe the Scriptures are inspired), there are life or death consequences to this question. When questions of truth carry a life or death consequence, we should see persuasion to help people know Christ as an act of love.

Persuasive Techniques to Consider Christianity

Is it necessary for full force religious coercion and does it work? I don’t think it works as well in today’s culture. I think Christians should consider other, more winsome ways of sharing the truth of Christianity. We also need to pray – a lot! The Holy Spirit is the agent of change, and the Spirit of God uses many distinctive ways to draw people to the truth.

In her book, Confronting Christianity, Rebecca McLaughlin tells the story of an Iranian scientist who actually became a Christian through Sebastian Bach’s music! This man was semi-professional flutist. Sadly, classical music was banned by Islamic extremist government in the 1980s, and so musicians had to hold secret concerts in private homes. As this Iranian scientist played a Bach flute sonata, his musical mentor stopped him, complaining that, “I cannot hear the cross of Christ in what you are playing.”1 

Side note: There was s discovery in the 1930s of Bach’s personal three-volume Study Bible, extensively marked with his own notations. It turns out that Bach was a religious conservative at odds with the progressivist currents of his day (sound familiar?).

When this Iranian scientist began to study Bach’s music more, a few years later, when he went to a church, he sensed the same reality. He eventually became a Christian through the study of Bach’s music! God uses many ways to draw people to Himself, and the arts is one amazing alternative Christians should consider when sharing the Gospel.

There is NO one way!
Culture does not see any one truth when it comes to religion. Many falsely believe that all religions basically say the same thing. Yet, religions make competing claims which violates the “Law of Non-Contradiction” which states something cannot be both true and false at the same time.

Let’s examine statements made like: “All religions are basically the same.” World religions claim different things:

1. Buddhism claims there is no personal god (just a ‘force’ of some sort)

2. Christianity claims there is a personal God — Jesus Christ

3. Judaism claims Jesus was just a man; they are still waiting for the Messiah

4. Islam claims Jesus was a prophet who died but did not resurrect; Mohammed is the final prophet

They all could be wrong, or one correct, but they cannot all be true since they are making truth claims about the existence of a personal God.

The Elephant in the Room

There is a story from an ancient Hindu parable used often as an analogy to this concept of all religions being part of the truth. It tells of blind men describing an elephant. Some feel the tale, some the strong legs, some the flappy ear, and some the trunk. But no one can know that what they sense is an elephant. This parable says we are limited in our ability to perceive all religious truth in an attempt to respect all religions as equals, since we can’t know everything. It seems to be a humble approach, but is it true?

“It’s often said that you should respect other people’s beliefs. But that’s wrong: what’s vital is that you respect other people.” — an unnamed seminary professor2

When examined more closely, attempting to persuade others to change their beliefs is a sign of respect. You are treating them as thinking agents with the ability to decide what they believe, not just a product of their cultural environment.3

The Dangers of an Echo Chamber

Our society is losing the “art of debate” largely because we tend to surround ourselves with people who think like us, and social media algorithms reinforce our ideas and beliefs. The result of this is a political division in the United States that some have claimed is worse than in the days of the Civil War era. 

When we stop listening to other points of view, there are risks involved. We may start believing that we’re not wrong, and fail to test our own beliefs.

“Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to see the beam of wood in your own?”

— Matt. 7:3

But if we want to have other people listen to us, we need to also respect their opinions, too. Nonetheless, where beliefs carry life or death consequences, we need to love our friends by caring enough to share the truth – Christ is the ONE way to eternal life.

The Problem of Truth

The Oxford dictionary Word of the Year (2016) was  “Post-truth.” It’s defined this as: “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

That’s your truth!

But objective truth, which is not based on opinion or feelings, is true, whether or not someone believes it. The central truth claim on which Christianity stands or falls is that Jesus was physically raised from the dead. There is historical evidence for this claim.

“I am the Resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”

— John 11:25-26

The Problem of Ethics

What happens when religious beliefs clash with our core secular ethics? Secular thinkers like to think they celebrate religious diversity and uphold the rights of religious minorities to practice their faith, but these beliefs are contingent on a cultural context. As long as we agree to the culture rights (i.e. we embrace modern sexual ethics, not traditional religious ones), then we can live in peace, right? Wrong. Believers cannot compromise what the Bible says about how we should live as Christians. There will be conflicts, as the Apostle John said:

“For everything in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–comes not from the Father but from the world.”

1 John 2:16

The Problem of Monotheism & Jesus

Living among people of different faith is not a modern phenomenon, as there is “nothing new under the sun.” (Ecc. 1:9.) Recall that thousands of years ago, the Jews lived in a pluralistic, ancient near east culture. It was a Judaism idea that introduced a fundamental belief that Israel’s God had created the heavens and the earth, and is the only true God. The early Christians did the same among the pagan, polytheistic religions of Rome. And today, we must do the same. 

“Jesus presents Himself not as one possible path to God, but as God Himself. We may choose to disbelieve Him. But He cannot be one truth among many. He has not left us that option.” – Rebecca McLauglin

So, what are some winsome ways you can think of to engage the culture with the truth of Christ?

Comment on the blog post – I’d love to read your responses!

  1. Rebecca McLaughlin, Confronting Christianity, Crossway 2019, p. 47.
  2. Ibid, 49.
  3. Ibid.


  1. Melissa Henderson April 15, 2021
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  2. Melinda Viergever Inman April 16, 2021
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  3. Nancy E. Head April 16, 2021
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  4. Melissa McLaughlin April 17, 2021
  5. Philosophical Logic April 17, 2021
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  6. Yvonne Morgan April 18, 2021
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  7. Lenore Shanahan April 29, 2021
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