May 08, 2024

Is It Arrogant to Say Jesus Is the Only Way?

R.C. Sproul
Is It Arrogant to Say Jesus Is the Only Way?

Is it arrogant to believe that Jesus is the only way to God? Not when God has said so Himself. Today, R.C. Sproul demonstrates that we are duty bound to defend the exclusivity of Christ.


I was taking a course in English literature. I was a second-semester freshman at the time, and I had become a Christian the first semester of my freshman year. And I did not keep my Christian commitment a secret on the campus. And there were some faculty members at the college where I attended that were very hostile towards Christianity. And the person who at least manifests the greatest amount of hostility of all the faculty happened to be the professor of this English literature course I was taking. The teacher was a woman. She had distinguished herself as a journalist and as a war correspondent during World War II prior to taking on the task of collegiate teaching. I think out of her background in the war effort, she was kind of a hardened person, and she had a very great ability to intimidate students.

In the middle of a class one day, she called on me, and she said in front of the whole class, “Mr. Sproul, do you believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to God?” I thought, Of all the questions to be asked in front of the whole class, she had to ask me that one. And I went through a very severe moral crisis at that point because I knew if I answered what I believed that that would be very unpopular. But if I knew also that if I denied what I believed, I would be guilty of committing treason to Christ. So very weakly and very meekly I said to her, “Yes, ma’am. I do believe that Jesus is the only way to God.” But when I said that in that classroom, she absolutely exploded. And she started to dress me down right in front of the whole class. And she said, “That’s the most conceited, that’s the most arrogant statement I’ve ever heard from the mouth of a student.” And I offered no defense; I offered no rebuttal. I just tried to sneak down in my chair as far as I could go while she carried on in front of the whole class about how narrow-minded, conceited, and arrogant that that was.

So after the class was over, I went up to her privately, and I said, “I know that you are not enamored by the Christian faith. And I know that you were very upset by how I answered the question that you asked in class. And I’m not trying to convince you of what I believe in right now, but I would like to have the opportunity to explain to you why I believe the way I believe.” And at that point she was very kind, and she said, “Fine, you come over to my office, and we’ll sit down and talk about it.”

So I went over to see her, and I began to explain to her that I quite agreed that if the reason why I thought Jesus Christ was the only way to God was because Jesus Christ was my preference, and that I assumed that anything that I believed in had to be the only truth simply because I believed in it, then of course, that would be the most arrogant thing in the world. But I said to her, “But ma’am,” I said, “Can you understand? I’m not asking you to believe it, but can you understand that I could, in fact, be convinced that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? Is that conceivable to you that I could be persuaded by the testimony of Christendom that Jesus Christ is at least one way to God?” And she said, “Well, of course I can be convinced that you could be persuaded that He’s at least one way.”

“Could you understand that I could be convinced that He is the Son of God?” “Yes, I can see how you could be convinced of that.” And I said, “Well, don’t you see that if I believe that, and then I see that Jesus says that He is the only way to God, then I have no alternative but to believe Him. Because if He says He is the only way to God and is not the only way to God, then I doubt very much if He’s even one way to God. Because if He was God at all and was not the only way, but yet claimed that kind of exclusiveness, then He would be the arrogant one and would not be worthy at all of my devotion.” She says, “I understand.” So I began to show her that it was Jesus who made statements like “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father, except by Me.” It’s Jesus who said, “I am the door through which men must enter.” Jesus is the One who said, “I am the good shepherd. All of those who have come before Me are false hireling shepherds.” It’s the New Testament that says, “There is no other name under heaven through which men may be saved, except that of Christ.” It’s the New Testament that says, “To whom shall we go? Thou alone hast the words of eternal life.” It’s God who says, “This is My only begotten son.” And again, and again, and again, the New Testament reiterates either through the lips of Christ or through the writings of the Apostles this theme that Jesus is uniquely the Redeemer of mankind.