Is Christ the Only Way?
When R.C. Sproul was in college he was asked, “Is Christ the only way?” In this brief clip, he shares how he responded.
I’ve often told the story of a very embarrassing and painful situation I had as a young college student. I’d only been a Christian a short time. I was full of zeal, and it wasn’t a secret to my professors or my classmates that I was a Christian. And one day we were in an English class in college, and the professor of this English class was a hard-bitten war correspondent from World War Two. She was a woman, and she was overtly hostile to Christianity and made no bones about it in our English class.
On this one occasion, she singled me out in front of the whole class, and she said, “Mr. Sproul.” I said, “yes.” She said, “Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to God?” Now imagine yourself in that situation if you’re Christian, where publicly somebody calls on you and said: “Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to God?” I wanted to disappear into the floorboard because I immediately felt the pressure of that confrontation. I knew that if I said yes, He’s the only way, that the wrath of this teacher was going to come down on my head without any cessation. And I also knew that if I said no, I would be guilty of treason to Christ. It was a no-win situation. And so when she said, “Mr. Sproul, do you believe that Jesus is the only way to God?” I sort of mumbled, “yes.”
Well, she heard it, and as I anticipated she exploded in fury, and she said something to this effect, she was enraged, she said, “that is the most bigoted, narrow-minded, arrogant statement I have ever heard. How can you think that Jesus Christ is the only way to God?” And I mean I turned crimson, and the rest of the class just looked at me with utter disdain because I had committed the Archie Bunkerism of all Archie Bunkerisms—of bigotry.
And I said, “Well, here’s my problem.” I said, “I didn’t come at this thing looking for the only way. I’m as American as you are. I’m not looking for some narrow view of things.” I said, “but I got to the place where I was persuaded that Jesus was, in fact, the Son of God. And then I read in the New Testament that this One, of whom I’m persuaded was the Son of God, opened His mouth and said things like this: ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except by Me.’” I understand what a universal negative is. When Jesus says “no man comes to the Father except by Me,” He’s eliminated all other possible options. Jesus, this same Jesus said, “I am the door through which men must enter.” “I am The Good Shepherd….The rest are hirelings. All of the others are thieves and robbers trying to violently break into My Father’s kingdom where they have no right.” I said, “Don’t you see that I saw that and the One who’s the Son of God and His apostles are saying to me that there is no other name under heaven through which men must be saved than through the name of Christ.” I said, “don’t you see that if I believe that Christ is one way, I have to believe that He’s the only way or else I have to believe that this One who is one way is dead wrong when He claims to be the only way. And if He’s dead wrong when He claims to be the only way, I’d be foolish to think that He’s even one way.”