by Abdu Murray
Adapted from embracethetruth.org/resources/blog/truth-more-feeling
I recently met a woman who had been raised in a strong Christian home, but had given up any conviction that Jesus’ work on the cross was the exclusive means of salvation. She had grown close to people from other faith traditions who sincerely believed they were following God. “How can it be,” she asked me, “that God would send such sincere people to Hell just because they failed to believe the one, narrow view that Jesus’ sacrifice is what saves us? I can’t help but feel that something’s not right about that.”
For the Christian, any response to this question must be biblically faithful, logically sound, and emotionally principled. I could respect the woman’s uneasy “feeling” that the Gospel’s exclusivity wasn’t right. I wrestled with that very issue for years myself. But our feelings don’t determine truth. Any truth claim can (and should) be tested by reason and evidence.
Jesus has a unique credibility. He claimed that He came to die as a sacrifice in payment for our sins so that we can be saved from sin’s ultimate consequence. He claimed there was no other way to be saved but to trust in Him. If He had stayed dead like every other person, we may never have had good reasons to believe Him. But He didn’t stay dead. A man who rises from the dead has credibility. There is more to the Christian faith than just feeling.
What’s more, Jesus’ exclusive claim addresses our feelings while allowing us to remain logically consistent. The fact that there are consequences to what we choose to believe is not “narrow.” Consequences invest us with true dignity. To say all religious traditions lead to the same end insults those of other faiths by saying the differences in their convictions are irrelevant and robs us of dignity by saying our choices ultimately don’t matter. How is the journey of faith respected in such a philosophy?
Real choice emerges only when the options have consequences. The Gospel addresses our desire to have the sincere truth seeker rewarded. Yet it does so through an exclusive means that respects the dignity of our choices.