Through the centuries there have been many attacks on Christianity. The early attacks included assaults, persecutions, even to the putting to death those who follow Jesus Christ. It still happens. I have read reports, which cannot be confirmed, that outside the western world as many as half a million professing Christians die each year for our faith. Whether this number is true or not, and I suspect that it is hyperbole, the fact that ANY professing Christians, or believers of any religion, are murdered because of their faith should shock us and sober us. The world is hostile to the faith that centers on Jesus.
While we don't die for our faith in the United States or in the West in general, make no mistake; there is an ongoing war against Christianity. The intensity of the battle against Christianity appears to increase with every new day.. Every effort is being made to isolate our faith, to remove it from the public arena, and even to promote other religions at the expense of Christianity.
A recent book that chronicles these efforts is David Limbaugh's Persecution. In the book Limbaugh notes that Christianity is being attacked in the press, in Hollywood, in our schools, in the political arena and even through civic means such as zoning laws. For example, the New Jersey Department of Education removed references to Pilgrims and the Mayflower because the word Pilgrim suggests religion. Recently, New York City schools were prohibited from displaying a manger scene or any other Christian symbol during the Christmas season; however, the schools were allowed to display Jewish menorah and Islam's star and crescent , thus revealing an anti-Christian bias. Mel Gibson's movie that graphically portrayed the final twelve hours of the life of Jesus and the resurrection, though it included a number of unChristian fantasies, generated a sunami of anti-Christian rhetoric.
Part of the problem is that Christianity declares that we are all sinners. We don't like that. Remember that the basic meaning of sin is rebellion. We sinners are in rebellion against God. So, it is natural for us to want to remove any reminder that God has rights over us. The primary reason for the negative reaction to the movie The Passion of the Christ is precisely because it reminds the world that we are in need of a Savior.
But in our modern society the primary reason stated for such rebellion to our faith is that Christianity is exclusive in its view of the world. Christianity teaches there is only one way to be saved. That is a no-no in our world of political correctness and pluralism.
Pluralism is the belief that all ideas and thought systems are equal. Therefore, we must be inclusive in our beliefs, especially in our religious beliefs. So the word tolerance has become the measure of a belief system. And it is in the name of tolerance that Christianity is often opposed. I think it was the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw who said, “There is only one religion, though there are a hundred versions of it.”
What are we to say to these arguments? Is it wrong for us to see Christ as the only way to be saved? Let us consider the words of Jesus, as recorded in the KJV: "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me" (John 14:1 ).
It was on the eve of that terrible moment in history when God in the flesh would be suspended between heaven and earth on the executioner's cross. Knowing that the moment was at hand, he was preparing his disciples. I think that they knew that Jesus was going to die, but "why?" was their question? Jesus brought them reassurance that what he was about to do was for their benefit and for ours.
"Let not your hearts be troubled." The construction of the sentence means, don't be frightened, set your hearts at ease. How do we displace fear? How can you stop being afraid? The answer is by faith! He gave them a command; you believe in God, believe also in me. Trust me, for I know what I am doing. Then he explained to them why they could stop fearing. He was going to prepare a place for them.
Well, thoughts of heaven are fine, but what about right now? How are we to live right now? Jesus said that we know the way. Do we?
If we truly knew the way, would we be anxious or fearful? It was a frustrating answer to the disciples just as it may be to us. Thomas was the one who was not afraid to voice what the others were thinking. We call him doubting Thomas because of his willingness to ask questions. But, in reality, he asks the kinds of questions we would ask. “Lord, we do not know where you are going, how do we know the way?”
Jesus' reply was rather sharp and biting, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him." (John 14:6,7)
You have to admit that this is very exclusive. Jesus said that he is “the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father, but through me.” Any ordinary person who made such claims might be locked up or put on medication for schizophrenia. What gives Jesus the right to make such a claim? Are we following a madman?
The Bible is full of references to the exclusive claims of Jesus. John 3: 16, Acts 4: 12; 8: 33; 16: 31 tell us that there is no other name under heaven by which one can be saved. Furthermore, the Bible is very clear about our sinful nature and our need for a Savior. We are utterly hopeless without Jesus (Romans 3: 10-28; 5: 1-11; 10: 9; I Timothy 2: 5). Scripture makes it very clear that our sinful and fallen condition prevents us from being able to save ourselves. Scripture also makes it clear that only Jesus is able to redeem us.
What about other religions, don't they have some truth in them? Not only did Jesus say that he was the way, the only way, but also that he was the truth. It was Pilate who asked, “What is truth?” The basic meaning of truth is that which is opposite of falsehood, reality as opposed to mere appearance. In the New Testament, truth is also a characteristic of God. The idea of truth includes the complete reliability and integrity of God. The only way we can know truth is to know God. And we may know truth because God has made Himself known to us (L. Morris, NICNT, John, p 293) Jesus says that he is The Truth. Jesus makes the clear claim that he is God. In fact, he told them that if they have seen him, they have seen the Father. He is in the Father and the Father is in him. We can make the exclusive claim that Jesus is the only way to be saved because Jesus is God.
In no other religion has God made provision for salvation. Other religions seek enlightenment or oneness with the universe. Some religions hope that God will have mercy on us. The Bible says that God himself loved us and personally has made provision for out salvation.
Furthermore, no other religion teaches that God has given himself for our redemption. God became flesh for the single purpose of bringing salvation to those who trust him. God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. Jesus not only makes the extraordinary claim to be the only way and The Truth, he also claims to be the life. Jesus Himself gives us new life. He pays the price for our sin. He personally insures that when we come to faith in Him, we will be saved, we will have eternal life and we will be in right relationship with the Father.
Some still may not be convinced. How can they have any assurance that this is all true? One word; Resurrection. Jesus rose from the dead. It is the most extraordinary claim of all. But the claim is made by eyewitnesses who saw the resurrected Jesus. And they staked their lives on it. They would die for the truth of the resurrection. Do you know of anyone who would die for a lie? I don't. But hundreds and thousands died for the faith within the first generation of the church. They knew the truth and they were willing to die for it. The resurrection vindicates all that Jesus claimed. It demonstrates that it is all true.
Is Jesus the only way? Scripture says yes. Logic says yes. History says yes. And experience says yes. So the real question is, is Jesus your Savior?