Is Jesus the Only Way? (Mennonite Brethren Church, 1997)
Is Jesus the Only Way (MB, 1997)
The Issue:Believers all over the world are asking the question: "Is Jesus the only way?" Although the question is not new, it is asked with greater urgency today because of the rise of religious pluralism and the presence of other faiths in our communities.
Religious pluralism challenges the uniqueness of the Christian faith and denies that salvation can be found only through Christ. People of other faiths often find the exclusiveness of the Christian message offensive. This has been so from the first century up to the present, as all missionaries who have worked in other cultures know. However, due to the more recent influx of non-Christian religions in the Western world, evangelical churches are seeking to come to terms with religious pluralism.
Biblical Teaching:Our understanding of Scripture leads us to affirm that deliverance from sin and eternal death is possible only through the work of redemption, completed through the life, death and glorification of the Lord Jesus Christ. While there may be spiritual and moral benefits in non-Christian religions, these religions are not alternate ways to God.
- There are a number of New Testament passages which clearly state that "Jesus is the only way," and that there is no salvation in any other name (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Corinthians 3:11; Romans 10:9, 10)
- God deals impartially with all people and does not want anyone to be lost (John 3:16; Acts 10:34-36; Acts 14:16, Acts 17; 17:17-31; Romans 2:6-11; 1 Timothy 2:5)
- Creation bears witness to the presence, the power and the goodness of God (Acts 14:16, 17; Acts 17:17-31; Romans 1: 18-2:11)
- Because Christ has taken away the sin of the world, God has made it possible for all people to be saved (John 1:29; 3:16; Romans 5:6-10; 2 Corinthians 5:9; 1 John 2:2)
- Although universal salvation is available to humankind, only those who put their faith in Christ have the promise of eternal life. Those who reject God's grace, stand under divine judgment (John 3:36; Romans 3:21-26; Romans 5:12-21; 2 Thessalonians 1:8)
- In his sovereign grace God is free to make himself known to people in ways that seem inscrutable to us (Acts 10:34-36; Romans 11:33, 34), but all those who ultimately enter the gates of glory, do so because of Christ's atoning death (Revelation 5:9; 7:14). God has, however, not informed us on how he will deal with those who have never heard of the saving death of Christ.
Mission Mandate:Our task is to proclaim Christ as the only way of salvation to all people in all cultures. We confess that Jesus is the only way of salvation and that God is just in dealing with all people. Although God's thoughts are greater than ours, and our understanding of his ways is limited (1 Corinthians 13:12), this in no way diminishes our commitment to carry the gospel to the ends of the earth (Matthew 28:20).
April 25, 1997 Submitted by the General Conference Board of Faith and Life
Yearbook 61st Convention of the General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. The Conference, 1997: 29-30, 91-92.