"I am the way, the truth and the
light, no one comes to the Father but by me," said Jesus.
Does this mean
that only Christians can be saved? When Jesus said, "No one comes to the Father,
but by me," what he meant was that the only way to enter into a relationship with
God is by doing so as he did, namely, by loving God with all one's heart, soul
and mind. And like unto this ... loving neighbor as self.
This was the
attitude that Jesus brought to his relationship with others, rather than a self-righteous
assumption that the stranger was unworthy of love unless and until the stranger
accepted every one of his ideas or beliefs.
Another way of looking at
is is this. God is love. If this is the case, then it is reasonable to suggest
that the only way to enter into a relationship with God is by following the way
of love. Clearly, people will differ in their understand of the specific contours
of that "way," but defining it as Jesus did makes it perfectly clear that one's
entrance into the kingdom of heaven is not a matter of saying the right words,
or affirming the right creeds. What counts is the content of one's character and
the animating spirit that guides one's behavior.
Further, it is my personal
experience that many people outside the membership of our Christian churches have
as close a relationship with God as we Christians do. I simply do not agree that
being a Christian is the only way that one can know -- and love -- God.
you want to talk with someone in person, please feel free to call: 917-439-2305
The Rev. Charles P. Henderson is a Presbyterian minister and author of Faith, Science and the Future, published in 1994 by CrossCurrents Press. He is also the author of God and Science (John Knox / Westminster, 1986) which he is now rewriting to incorporate more recent developments in the conversation taking place between scientists and theologians. He has also written widely for such publications as The New York Times, The Nation, Commonweal, The Christian Century and others.