John 14 and Exclusivism

John 14:6 is one of the most cited verses in favor of Christian claims of exclusivism. The passage reads, “Jesus said to them,’I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.'”

The context is significant; Thomas has just suggested that they (the disciples) didn’t know where Jesus was going, so how could they know the way?

So, Jesus’ response of “I am the way,” is in response to a question from one who has been following him. It is not offered as an answer to a question like “how many ways are there to God?” or even “Does one have to be a Christian to go to heaven?”

Jesus statement that “no one comes to the Father but through me,” though is a bit more of an issue.

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3 thoughts on “John 14 and Exclusivism

  1. I wouldn’t term to be an ‘issue’ so much as a theological premise that is consistent in the NT. I would point to the couple of passages you mentioned, but also to Peter’s apology before the Sanhedrin in Acts 4 as he says, “Salvation is found in no one else.” (v 12a).
    Let me caveat this a bit though. I also take very seriously the way that Romans 1 and 2 works with these other passages. I believe that the only work of salvation is the work of Jesus. Jesus is the only one who has accomplished salvation for anyone. Therefore, ALL who are saved are saved through and by Jesus Christ. The question in my mind is what is happens to those who have never been giving what we would deem a fair chance to hear the Gospel of salvation and respond?
    On this point I refer to God’s justice and God’s mercy. This is what I think Paul allude’s to when fleshing out Romans 1 and 2.

  2. Along with what ryan k has said…

    But doesn’t it seem that the statement, “no one comes to the Father except through me,” is not necessarily the same thing as the statement, “no one comes to the Father except through a personal vocalized profession of faith in me”?

    Seems to me that (a) God judges persons according to the revelation they had and how they responded to that, and (b) that God includes them in the salvation that he brings to the world through Jesus. I’m

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