[This post is a work in progress as part of the CAA Catechism.]
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Summary in 400 words or less:
In John 14, Jesus spoke about many rooms in his Father’s house, and that [Jesus] would be preparing a place for his disciples and that they know the way to where he is going. Then Thomas asked, “…How can we know the way?” Jesus answers him:
“I am the way (or “the road”), the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
We maintain that Jesus has a monopoly on salvation, based on his atoning work on the cross.
However, this does raise various difficulties.
1) Does Jesus have a monopoly on the truth?
No — while Jesus embodies the truth but does not make claims that he represents all truth i.e., Christianity does not have a monopoly on all truth (e.g., Christianity does not claim to be an exhaustive science textbook).
2) Can people be saved through means other than Jesus?
No — Jesus makes claims that no one comes to the Father except through him. However, there are many ways to come to Jesus.
3) Can people be saved through “Jesus and (something else)?”
No — only Jesus. Not Jesus and Mohammed, not Jesus and Buddha, not even Jesus and Billy Graham nor Jesus and the Pope.
In regard to WHY Jesus can be the only way to God (the Father)?
There are several ways this can be answered.
1) Jesus is perfectly God and perfectly man in enhypostatic human, meaning He is the only mediator for both.
2) Jesus is God in the flesh. His perfect example would validate his teaching.
3) Jesus atoned (either or both expiated or propitiated) for the sin of mankind, through his suffering and death, and was raised for our righteousness and justification.
4) Jesus was resurrected, thus God sent a verdict back to man that Jesus was sinless, including his teaching, which includes the above.
Sometimes, there is difficulty when we get to Pluralism: that there are many cultures and many “spiritual guides” or that, given religious diversity, how can Jesus be the only way?
1) The idea of restitution (i.e., that there is some method of “repayment” or making amends when there has been wrong-doing) is fairly universal.
2) Jesus taught with his own authority, in comparison to other spiritual guides including rabbis of Jesus’ day and the Old Testament prophets, that would make him equal to God.
3) No other spiritual guide claimed to be God.
4) No other spiritual guide claimed the exclusive way to God.
Scripture for YouVersion:
Three questions (1 fill-in-the-blank, 1 multiple choice, and one discussion question):
References for further reading:
CLEE – Considering expanding in a small summary of why atonement is necessary for God and man, and Jesus is the only acceptable sacrifice, and therefore can make this claim; challenge of pluralism.
Collaborators: Chris Lee
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