Acts 4:12—Is Christ the only way of salvation?

Problem: Peter declares that “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” But isn’t this a narrow exclusivism? What about the sincere pagan or Buddhist? Is God going to send them to hell?

Solution: Several observations are relevant to this question. First of all, sincerity is not a good test of truth. Many people can and have been sincerely wrong about many things (Prov. 14:12).

Second, all truth is exclusive. The truth that “two plus three equals five” is very exclusive too. It does not allow for any other conclusion. The same is true of value statements, such as “Racism is wrong” and “People should not be cruel.” These views do not tolerate any alternatives.

Third, all truth claims are exclusive. For example, if humanism is true, then all non-humanisms are false. If atheism is true, then all who believe in God are wrong. Every truth claim excludes its opposite. Hence, if Jesus is the only way to God, then there are no other ways. This is no more exclusive than any other truth claim. The question is whether the claim is true.

Fourth, Jesus and the NT clearly and repeatedly emphasize that Jesus is the only way of salvation. (1) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). (2) Jesus also claimed He was the door (John 10:9), insisting that “he who does not enter the sheepfold by the Door ... the same is a thief and a robber” (v. 1). (3) The Apostle Peter added, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). (4) And Paul contended that “there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.