Someone told a friend of mine, “You Baptists are so narrow. You think only Baptists are going to heaven.” He replied, “I’m narrower than that. I don’t even think some of them are going!”
In truth, I know of no one who believes only their denomination is going to heaven. (We may be narrow, but we’re not ridiculous.)
How narrow are we? Narrow enough to quote the following Scriptures and then to announce that we believe them and are ordering our lives by them….
“Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). There is only one name of salvation. Only one: Jesus.
“I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved: (John 10:9). There is only one door to salvation. Only one: Jesus.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6). There is only one way to God. Only one: Jesus.
“No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son, and those to whom the Son wills to reveal Him” (Luke 10:22). There is one way to know God. Only one: Jesus.
“For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14). There is one sin offering. Only one: Jesus.
“So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many” (Hebrews 10:28). There is one sin offering. Only one: Jesus.
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all” (I Timothy 2:5). There is one go-between. Only one: Jesus.
“No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man” (John 3:12). There is one authority on heaven. Only one: Jesus.
There will come a day, we are told, when…
Every eye shall see Jesus.
Every knee shall bow before Him.
And every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (See Philippians 2:10-11 and Romans 14:10-11)
So, the problem is not with us, actually.
The problem–if narrowness is indeed a problem–is with the Lord Jesus Himself. He said these things, and we’re merely taking Him at face value and believing them and building our lives on them.
Truth tends to be narrow, we are told. In the medical field, the surgeon follows a narrow routine for all he/she does to save the life of the patient. In chemistry, formulae are exact and not given to the free expression of the whims of the chemist. In science, numbers are exact, even infinitesimal.
Only in religion does it seem people want to throw out any regard for truth and let everyone design his own faith and believe any hodge-podge he pleases, and the rest of us have to honor it as “right for him, though not for me.”
Into that kind of morass, the Lord Jesus comes saying things like: “Before Abraham was, I am.” And, things like “I am the only one who has been to heaven, therefore I’m the only one who knows.” And, “No one can introduce you to the Father except me.”
People react against that, today as they did when the words were first spoken.
What we must not do is categorically reject Jesus’s words simply because we find them objectionable. At the very least, the seeker should investigate Jesus to see whether His words and His claims could be the actual truth. And how to do that?
The starting place–as it always is with this sort of thing–is to consult the primary source. In this case, that would be the words of Jesus. And this would take us to the New Testament, beginning with the first page of Matthew’s Gospel.
One must be warned however. This word is alive. It claims that, actually, in Hebrews 4:12 and John 6:63. As C. S. Lewis once said, “A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading.”