“Nobody comes to the Father but by me.”
This is part of Saint John’s Gospel, chapter 14 verse 6, which is one of the most famous verses in the New Testament. It reads, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'”
It doesn’t mean that a person has to become a Christian in order to know or be with God. And yet that verse is lifted out of its context in John’s gospel and used to ‘text-bomb’ or prove that Christianity is the only possible religion. I have heard it used that way so many, many times by the most earnest of people and I have been unable to counter it or point out the error of their ways and interpretation. I no longer even try. It is a waste of time, for me and for them.
I should feel sorry for them. I ought to have patience and try to explain. But these days I tend to feel contempt for their bigoted and closed off, most arrogant attitude – as I feel when I hear similar statements from zealots of other religions about their own unassailable positions.
The whole point of John’s great work is to bridge gaps. It is a most comprehensive book that attempts to INCLUDE rather than EXCLUDE, that is EMBRACING rather than EXCLUSIVE, and it does this again and again throughout. It bridges the theological gap between Jew and Gentile and explains that the Crucifixion is not only an event that heals the division between God and Jew, Jew and Gentile, but an event that makes possible such a healing for EVERYONE and for all time. It truly is a cosmic event. Theology is but an interpretation of Christ’s deed, trying to explain it in ways that successive generations and societies can understand.
Perhaps it is best understood by:-
‘Nobody could come to the Father but for my deed. I am the way that makes access possible.’
Do read more in “The Death of the Church and Spirituality Reborn”.