The Doctrine of Exclusivity under Siege

The Doctrine of Exclusivity under Siege

Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.
–Acts 2:38

When I was young, my family would go to the Six Flags Over Texas amusement park. In those early years, there was a plaza outside the gate, and people would assemble there hours before the park opened. When the park opened, everybody would rush to the entrance. But they couldn’t go in as a mass of people. There was a turnstile, and people had to go through one by one into the park. It’s the same way when going to heaven. Nobody goes to heaven in a group. No families are welcomed into heaven as a group; no denominations are welcomed into heaven as a group. I’m often asked by the media, “Do you believe Catholics are going to heaven? Do you believe Protestants are going to heaven? Do you believe Jews are going to heaven?” I always answer the same way: “No one goes to heaven in a group. We go individually based on our relationship to Jesus Christ.” That’s why Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).

We shouldn’t be surprised that secularists, atheists, and liberal theologians deny this truth. What is surprising are the so-called Christians who believe there are multiple paths that lead to heaven. For example, the late Pope John Paul II said, “All the just of the earth, including those who do not know Christ and his Church, who, under the influence of grace, seek God with a sincere heart . . . are thus called to build the kingdom of God.” Similarly, esteemed Catholic theologian Henri Nouwen wrote, “I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door whether they know about Jesus or not.”

Evangelical pastors and theologians are saying the same thing. The late Robert Schuller, the founder of the Crystal Cathedral, said, “Is there any possibility of a person being, quote–saved–unquote, without accepting Jesus Christ in a way evangelicals preach it today? My answer is, I don’t know. That’s the honest to God truth. But I believe in the sovereignty of God and the sovereignty of Jesus Christ. I hope so.” And the late Dallas Willard, the well-known Southern Baptist writer for whom I have great respect, said, “I am happy for God to save anyone he wants in any way he can. It is possible for someone who does not know Jesus to be saved.”

But what about those who have never heard the gospel? Can they be saved without calling upon the name of Jesus? I believe the resounding answer from Scripture is: absolutely not. There is no salvation apart from a personal faith in Jesus Christ.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Jews Who Were For Jesus” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.

Richard Rohr, “Eager to Love” (Cincinnati: Franciscan Media, 2014), 266; Henri Nouwen, “Sabbatical Journey” (New York: Crossroad, 1998), 51; Dr. Robert H. Schuller, quoted in Lance Goodall, “Crystal Chaos: The Cathedral’s Spiral of Debt,” Christian Witness Ministries, September 14, 2013; Dallas Willard, “Apologetics in Action,” Cutting Edge, Winter 2001.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.