Christianity the Only True Religion (Bavinck)

I’m sure I don’t have to cite all sorts of resources to convince our readers that many people believe all roads lead to God. This is not a new idea. People for a long time have believed that there are various ways to heaven and that no one religion can claim exclusivity. However, Scripture does not teach the “all roads” theory. It is quite clear that there is only one true God and only one way to enjoy God’s awesome gift of eternal life. By faith in Christ – and him alone – one can have peace with God (cf. Ex. 20:3, Is. 45:5, 1 Cor. 8:6, 1 Tim. 2:5, etc.). Herman Bavinck noted this well in chapter seven of his book, The Sacrifice of Praise. The chapter is called “The Universality of Confession”. Here’s an excerpt. (Notice all the Scripture allusions in Bavinck’s comments.)

This universality or catholicity of the Christian religion is directly coherent with the unity of God, which is taught in it. God is one, and therefore His words and works can never contradict each other. All things have their relation and system in His consciousness, in His will, in His counsel. They all exist together in the Son, who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creatures, through whom and unto whom they are all created. And this Son is at the same time the Christ; the way, the truth and the life, without and outside of whom no one can come to the Father; the only name given under Heaven, that sinners should thereby be saved; the Head of the Church in whom the Father has made to dwell all the fullness, that He through Him, having made peace through the blood of the cross, might reconcile all things unto Himself, be it the things which are upon earth, be it the things which are in Heaven.

Christianity is therefore the absolute religion, the only, essential, true religion. It tolerates no other religions as of almost equal worth and worthiness alongside of itself. It is, according to its nature, intolerant, even as the truth at all times is and must be intolerant with respect to the un-truth. It will not even be satisfied by being the first of the religions, but it claims to be the only, true, full religion, which has absorbed and fulfilled all that is true and good in other religions. Christ is not a man alongside of others, but He is the Son of Man, who by the resurrection was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of Holiness, and received of the Father a name above every name, so that in that name every knee should bow and every tongue confess, that He is the Lord, to the Glory of God the Father.

In this unity is of necessity implied the universality of the Christian religion. While there is but one God, He is the Creator of all things. Because there is only one Mediator between God and man, He is the Savior of the whole world. And as there is only one Spirit, proceeding from the Father and the Son, He is the only Guide and Leader in the truth, the exclusive Teacher of the Church, the All-Sufficient Comforter of all believers.

The Holy Scriptures proclaim this universality of Christianity in the clearest and most beautiful way….

Herman Bavinck, The Sacrifice of Praise, p. 66-67.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015

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