By: Tonya Parrott
Part 1~Pluralism, Universalism and Inclusivism
Many religions agree that there is only one way to get to heaven. But the question remains: Which is the true way?
If you were to ask a Muslim this question, they would tell you, “There is no true God but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God.” Islam claims that Jesus was a mere prophet, not God’s Son. Muslims believe only Allah is God and do not believe God could have a Son. Islam teaches that paradise is gained through good works and obedience to the Qur’an. This belief is classified as pluralism.
Pluralism accepts the concept that two or more religions with mutually exclusive truth claims are equally valid. Basically, there can be more than one God (polytheism) and they are equally valid. But this is impossible being that ‘God’ is defined as the supernatural being conceived as the perfect and omnipotent and omniscient originator and ruler of the universe. There can only be one supreme God since God is everything. In order for there to be two, at least one quality would have to be taken from the other for it to exist, making one dependent on the other. Meaning that, only one can be Absolute. Therefore, pluralism is a contradiction within itself.
Hinduism is another popular world religion. Hinduism is both polytheistic (many gods), and pantheistic. Pantheism is the belief that the universe is in some sense divine and should be revered. It identifies the universe with God but denies any personality or transcendence of such a God. Hindus believe salvation is reached in three different ways. The first is the way of works; the second is the way of knowledge and the third being through devotion.
Hinduism is an example of universalism, or the theological doctrine that all people will eventually be saved. Followers of this religion believe that everything which one sees in this world is illusion. Or rather, a product of the individual’s own failed interpretation and self-delusion.
We have already proved previously that there can be only one God based on the very definition of God alone. Hinduism accepts various ideas of “God” but cannot define a true saving relationship with the God of heaven and Creator of us all. Hinduism also denotes the ideology that all religions are true. Here, again, we see the contradiction.
Next, is Buddhism, which is also a pantheistic belief. This religion is the teaching of Buddha that life is permeated with suffering caused by desire, that suffering ceases when desire ceases, and that enlightenment obtained through right conduct and wisdom and meditation releases one from desire and suffering and rebirth. Buddhism, much like Hinduism, believes in reincarnation and that their good conduct will be enough to get them to heaven. This belief is an example of inclusivism.
Inclusivism asserts that while one set of beliefs is absolutely true, other sets of beliefs are at least partially true. Something is either true or it isn’t. There is no such thing as a partial truth. If there is even a tiny bit of false in something, then the whole thing becomes false. Therefore, inclusivism is also a contradiction within itself.
Christianity claims there is salvation in no one else other than Jesus Christ and that God has given no other name under heaven by which men must be saved. (Acts 4:12) Christianity also teaches that there is only one God (monotheism).
Christianity is an example of exclusivism. Exclusivism is the belief that one’s truth is the only truly valid truth.
So, what makes Christianity true? Christianity is the only religion that can prove itself and there is much evidence to support this statement. First, the Bible is scientifically accurate. The Bible is consistent with paleontology, astronomy, meteorology, biology, anthropology, hydrology, geology and physics. There are also things in the Bible that science cannot explain. The Bible is 100% accurate in predicting prophecy; both Messianic prophecy and fulfilled prophecy dealing with nations.
There is also the proof of textual evidence. Both the Old and New Testaments are strongly supported by manuscript evidence. Over 20,000 known manuscripts document the New Testament alone. Along with these is the fact that many of the Christians living at the time of the original circulation of the New Testament had actually witnessed some of Jesus’ miracles and other historic events. No one living in that time ever disputed any of its writings and this was in a time when Christians were strongly persecuted by both the Jews and the Roman government.
We have the proof of historians as well. Secular history supports the Bible. For example, in The Antiquities of the Jews, book 18, chapter 3, paragraph 3, the famous historian Flavius Josephus writes:
“Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works—a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.”
In 115 AD, P. Cornelius Tacitus wrote the following passage that refers to Jesus (called “Christus,” which means “The Messiah”) in book 15, chapter 44, of The Annals:
“Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.”
Scripture is, therefore, supported by the secular world as well as the Christian’s. No other religion can claim that!
Part 3~How Must We Be Saved
As Dr. Robert Morey said, “Logically, since all religions contradict each other, there are only two options open to us. Either they are all false, or there is only one true religion. If there is only one God-there will be only one religion.” It makes sense that being that there is only One true God, there is only one true way to salvation. Only those who believe in Christ will find salvation.
To better understand why Jesus is the only way, we need to center on His death and resurrection. No founder or leader of any world religion claimed to die as a sacrifice for human sin in order to set us right with God. Nor is any other world religion based on the resurrection of its divine founder. John 3:16 states it best, “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus is God’s only Son. Jesus is God manifested in the flesh (Matthew 1:23). Jesus came to offer Himself as a willing sacrifice for man’s sin against God. Jesus declared, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10) and “to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)
So, how must we be saved? First, you must realize the need. The Bible says in Romans 3:23, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Peter said in Acts 2:38-39, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentiles—all who have been called by the Lord our God.”
Salvation really is that simple.
Part 4~No Other Name But Jesus
Peter preached that “salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). And, rightly so! Christ is the Glorified Servant! (John 17:4-5) The only way in which salvation can be reached is through the belief in One God and One Savior, namely Jesus Christ, who died for the sins of all. Spurgeon put it best when he said:
“What a great word that word “salvation” is! It includes the cleansing of our conscience from all past guilt, the delivery of our soul from all those propensities to evil which now so strongly predominate in us; it takes in, in fact, the undoing of all that Adam did. Salvation is the total restoration of man from his fallen estate; and yet it is something more than that, for God’s salvation fixes our standing more secure than it was before we fell. It finds us broken in pieces by the sin of our first parent, defiled, stained, accursed: it first heals our wounds, it removes our diseases, it takes away our curse, it puts our feet upon the rock Christ Jesus, and having thus done, at last it lifts our heads far above all principalities and powers, to be crowned for ever with Jesus Christ, the King of heaven.”
It is only through Jesus Christ that salvation can be reached!
Christianity: No contradictions, no lies, no illusions and plenty of proof; just Truth. Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
“For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved”. ~ Acts 4:11-12