That question is asked by Christians and non-Christians alike. It is a question that is worth our while thinking about because we live in a culture where the idea that there is only one right way will land us with a label of "arrogant jerk". We live in a culture where people believe that truth is relative to our experience.
So what is true? Is Jesus really the only way to get to heaven? The answer is: Yes. Jesus himself said in John 14:6, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Jesus makes it very clear in many other areas of the New Testament that He is the only One who saves and He teaches that truth because He loves everyone!
If I view Jesus as only one way to get to God then I'm calling Jesus a liar. Moreover, what is the purpose of my faith? If I believe that there are other ways to be saved, why not follow them? The September 27, 2010 issue of Newsweek cited that 80% of Americans believe people of other religions can get to heaven.
So how do we respond? People tend to make two mistakes in responding to this question. 1) Some will try to argue someone else into believing it. (Non-Christians who have experienced these type of arguments would probably label such a person as an "arrogant jerk".) Just remember, you're never going to argue someone into heaven. 2) Others will retreat and try to surround themselves with Christians and never talk to non-Christians about this issue. That isn't being what Jesus wants us to be! He's called us to be His ambassadors to our world.
So how do we respond to this question?
First of all, love those who challenge our faith. Jesus does. He wants them to know the truth and when people challenge our faith that's a chance to share the facts about Jesus.
Second, know what the truth is. You can't share what you don't know. Read your Bible. Spend time talking to fellow Christians about this issue. Pray about it. Read what other people think. Be informed. We tend to shy away from this question when we're not sure about it ourselves. We need to remember the key truths of the Bible that we are all lost in sin by nature. That we all have a deep need for a Savior. That Jesus is that Savior by His perfect life, death and resurrection from the dead.
Third, share that truth lovingly. Build relationships. Listen to those who ask you this question. Gain understanding so that you can share the truth in a loving way.
May God bless you as you seek to witness His love when you are asked: Is Jesus really the only way?
-Pastor Chris Johnson, Outreach and Young Adult Pastor