Have you ever wondered, “How can people say that Jesus is the only way to God? Isn’t that intolerant?” If so, you’re not alone. Many people perceive Christians as just a bunch of truth-snobs. Maybe Christians should try to be more accepting after all...Or maybe you’ve thought, “I don't have a problem with other people believing in Jesus if it gives them peace and comfort, but they shouldn't go around trying to convert people!" …Or, "People can believe whatever they like, as long as they don't impose their beliefs on others." At first, this sounds very tolerant and inclusive. It sounds good because it seems to convey the idea that everyone's take on spiritual reality is equally good. It avoids committing the worst of sins: making an exclusive truth claim. I mean, isn’t there something wrong with saying that my view is somehow better than yours?
But the apparent tolerance in these perspectives is illusory. When people say that Christians ought to be more tolerant, what they are really saying is: "I have a problem with you believing in Jesus the way you do," or "you shouldn't/can't believe the way you do." Ironically, this perspective flies in the face of the very sentiment the “tolerant” person is trying to communicate. They are, in effect, saying: "My take on spiritual reality (in which everyone's beliefs are equally good) is better than yours (in which Jesus is the only way)." They are making an exclusive truth claim.
The truth is that none of us—liberal, conservative, Christian, atheist—can escape making exclusive truth claims. If we think there is anything incorrect, anything at all wrong with the other side’s view, we end up being exclusivists. So if you’re uncomfortable with saying that Jesus is the only way, or you think that there’s something wrong with sharing the gospel with others, just remember that we’re all exclusivists.