Christianity has always been a missionary religion. At the close of his earthly ministry, our Lord commissioned his followers to go and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19), and it is generally admitted today that the Church of later generations has no right to call herself apostolic unless she acknowledges this missionary obligation to be her own. Now, the universal missionary imperative implies an exclusive claim, a claim made by our Lord himself: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). To deny that men can know the Father apart from Christ is to affirm that non-Christian religion is powerless to bring them to God and effective only to keep them from him.

ONLY ONE SAVING RELIGION

Accordingly, the summons to put faith in Christ must involve a demand for the endorsement of this adverse verdict, and for the avowed renunciation of non-Christian faith as empty and, indeed, demonic falsehood. “Turn from these vanities to the living God” (Acts 14:15)—that was what the Gospel meant for those who worshiped the Greek pantheon at Lystra in Paul’s day, and that is what it means for the adherents of non-Christian religions now. The Gospel calls their worship idolatry (1 Thess. 1:9) and their deities demons (1 Cor. 10:20), and asks them to accept this evaluation as part of their repentance and faith.

And this point must be constantly and obtrusively made; for to play down the impotence of non-Christian religion would obscure the glory of Christ as the only Saviour of men. “There is none other name under heaven … whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). If Christless religion can save, the Incarnation and Atonement were superfluous. ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.

Tags:
Issue: