Aren’t all religions basically the same? Dr. James Anderson explains three key distinctions between Christianity and other world religions.
We often hear in our day people saying that all religions are fundamentally the same, that all religions are basically saying the same thing. I think someone could only say that if they really hadn’t paid attention to the major teachings of Christianity and the other world religions. There are real foundational differences between Christianity and other world religions. Let me just suggest three major areas where Christianity is distinctive.
Christianity Has a Distinctive View of God
There are real foundational differences between Christianity and other world religions.First, it’s distinctive in its view of God. The Bible teaches that God is both a personal being and an absolute being. There are religions that teach things about God, or they hold to some view of God, but their view of God isn’t as a personal being who can relate to us in a personal relationship, or God isn’t an absolute being; he’s he’s limited in some ways. Whereas Christianity teaches that God is both personal and absolute.
Christianity also teaches that God is both transcendent, he is above and over his creation, but also he is imminent, he is intimately and personally involved within his creation. And of course, one of the most distinctive Christian teachings about God is that God is triune, God is a Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who exist together in an eternal love relationship, an eternal relationship of self-glorification. That is a very distinctive and important aspect of the Christian view of God.
Christianity Has a Distinctive View of Revelation
Secondly, Christianity has a very distinctive view of revelation, that is, how God has revealed himself to us in a way that is objective, is publicly accessible, is authoritative, and is clear, clearly expressed to us. God has revealed himself in Scriptures, in written Scriptures, the Old and the New Testaments, which are the very Word of God. That is a distinctive teaching of Christianity, that God has revealed himself through those inspired Scriptures. But secondly, God has revealed himself in the person of Jesus Christ. In a historical fashion, God has come and lived among us as one of us in the person of Jesus Christ, who is the incarnate Son of God. That is a hugely important and unique aspect of the Christian faith.
Christianity Has a Distinctive View of Salvation
In the end, what is distinctive about Christianity is that it really has a gospel. It has a message of good news.Thirdly, Christianity has a very distinctive doctrine of salvation. Of course, many religions teach a way of salvation or a way of enlightenment or some way of having a relationship with God or finding eternal life. But what is distinctive about Christianity is its teaching of grace, that salvation is by grace alone. Whereas other religions teach that we have to do certain things to obtain a favorable relationship with God or to obtain eternal life, Christianity’s unique in teaching that salvation is by grace and by grace alone. It’s not about what we do, but what about God has done for us in Christ.
In the end, what is distinctive about Christianity is that it really has a gospel. It has a message of good news. The good news is that although we need salvation, and we cannot save ourselves, nonetheless, God has done it for us. God has made a gracious way of salvation for us, if we will only trust in Jesus Christ.