Bible+Theology

Unsettling Questions: Is Jesus the only way?

In his sermon this past Sunday, Pastor Chris tackled another challenging question regarding the Christian faith: “Is Jesus the only way?” This question is made particularly challenging in the real-world context of cultural and religious pluralism. Chris reminded us there is a difference between the cultural pluralism we are called to embrace (Romans 12:18; Jeremiah 29:7) – which includes working toward the common good in our society with all others – and the metaphysical pluralism which incorrectly implies all worldviews and religions are basically the same.

One great resource on this topic is the podcast referenced in Sunday’s message, as well as the books listed below:

Podcast

The Trinities podcast offers a number of great interviews and insightful dialogue on questions regarding Christian faith.

In particular, episode 95 features an interview with Winfried Corduan.
“Are all religions the same? Dr. Winfried Corduan is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Taylor University and has been a blogger since before it was cool. His scholarship is thorough, multi-disciplinary, insightful, and informed by his own travel and conversations.”

 

Recommended books:

Neighboring Faith: A Christian Introduction to World Religions by Winfried Corduan

A Tapestry of Faiths: The Common Threads Between Christianity and World Religions by Winfried Corduan

The Gospel in a Pluralist Society by Lesslie Newbigin

Why I am a Christian by John Stott

 

So what is the big difference between Christianity and other religions?

Chris closes his message asking, so what is the big difference between Christianity and other religions? As he talks about religion being about “do” and the Christian faith being about “done”, I am reminded of how author and professor C.S. Lewis similarly answered that question:

“During a British conference on comparative religions, experts from around the world debated what, if any, belief was unique to the Christian faith. They began eliminating possibilities. Incarnation? Other religions had different versions of gods’ appearing in human form. Resurrection? Again, other religions had accounts of return from death. The debate went on for some time until C. S. Lewis wandered into the room. ‘What’s the rumpus about?’ he asked, and heard in reply that his colleagues were discussing Christianity’s unique contribution among world religions. Lewis responded, ‘Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.'”

– Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace?

As we have tackled various unsettling questions in this series, it is important to remember being a Christ-follower does not mean we stop having questions or doubts. Our encouragement to you is to not get stuck, but keep pressing in and pursuing a deeper, well-reasoned faith – not only for yourself but also as you engage in dialogue with others, always with gentleness and respect (I Peter 3:15).

 


About the Author: Craig Gartland
Craig is Pastor of Spiritual Formation at Blackhawk and oversees Adult Ministries. He completed his Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and spent over two decades of his career in campus ministry. He is married to Sharon and they have four children. His passions include cycling, listening to jazz music, photography, and the writings of C.S. Lewis.