The Uniqueness of Christianity

by Tim Chaffey

     Christianity is typically listed as just another religion in textbooks.  Students are often taught that it is just another angle on the truth or one of the many ways to God (or god(s), the All, or whatever you wish to call him/her/it).  For some, it is a way of life that you are born into.  In reality, Christianity is much different than these claims.  An entire series of books could be written on this subject alone so this article will only skim over a few points that we feel are important to mention.  Lord willing, we will have an article or more on each of these points in the near future.

     First, Christianity is monotheistic (one God).  This fact alone separates Christianity from nearly every other world religion (except Judaism, Islam, and some of the "Christian" cults[1]).  In the past two centuries, liberal theologians and historians have attempted to rewrite the record of ancient religious practices by applying the theory of evolution[2] to religious developments.  According to this revised history, mankind's religious practices evolved from pantheism and animism to polytheism.  Later, the Jews came up with the idea of monotheism, which was adopted by Christians and Muslims.  Many of these scholars view atheism and/or agnosticism as the top rung of the religious ladder.  While the theory sounds nice and believable it does not match human experience.  The biblical account has it the other way around.  Monotheism eventually gave way to polytheism and pantheism. 

     Nevertheless, Christianity's monotheism is unique in that it is Trinitarian, while Judaism and Islam are strictly unitarian.  Jehovah's Witnesses and others have consistently attacked the doctrine of the Trinity as a belief in three gods but this is simply not true.  The orthodox church teaching on the Trinity is that God is one Being in three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).  Or, to put it philosophically, one What and three Whos.  This may be impossible for our finite minds to fully comprehend but it is certainly not a contradiction.

     Christianity is also unique in its teaching that people are saved by God's grace which is received by faith in Christ's resurrection and His finished work on the cross.  Every other religion and cult teach "works righteousness."[3]  In this sort of system, a person must earn his or her salvation.  In Christianity, Christ has already earned salvation for all who trust in Him.  Salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone is often repulsive to the pride of man.  This is one of the reasons the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians that the message of the cross was foolishness to those who are perishing (1 Cor. 1: 18) and the wisdom of the world is foolishness with God (1 Cor. 3: 19).   

     Christianity's founder is unique as well.  Jesus Christ claimed to be God in the flesh (John 8: 58; 10: 30 and 18: 5).  He proved His claims by rising from the dead.  No other religious leader has ever made this claim and then backed it up.  Some have tried yet they remain in the grave.  Jesus also stands out among the founders of other religions because He lived a sinless life.  Muslims will admit that Muhammad was sinful and Buddhists do not claim perfection for Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha).   

     The Christian's holy book, the Bible, is also unique.  It is the only holy book containing a vast number of prophecies.  It has been scrutinized for centuries by countless men who wished to destroy it.  Yet it still stands and many of these former critics are now believers. 

     Finally, Christianity is unique because it is the one true faith.  This is a bold claim and an offensive one in our age of "tolerance."  But the fact of the matter is that Christianity is historically reliable, intellectually reasonable, and rationally defensible.  It is true because its founder is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14: 6).

[1] By "Christian" cults, we refer to the various groups that have spun off from the Christian faith such as the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses (although neither of these groups could correctly be classified as monotheistic.  Some of these cults do have a belief in one God but he/she/it does not match the God of the Bible.  We do not mean to imply that these groups should be considered Christian.

[2] It would be more accurate to call it the evolutionary hypothesis since in many ways, evolution is not a testable theory but a belief about the ancient past.

[3] The only possible exception would be a universalistic religion (i.e. where everyone is "saved" regardless of how they live and what they believe).  It is true that there are some groups that are considered to be Christian that teach a form of "works righteousness" however, this is not biblical.


(back to articles)