How should we defend the Christian faith to people who say we are being elitist?

I am finding it difficult to find my way on connect after a three month earlier absence I have signed up and I given an intro post

I wanted to ask this question relating to defending my/our Christian Faith

Question
How should we defend the Christian faith to people who say we are being elitist to Moslems who want to Love , forgive and pray for the Christchurch mass murderer as above by quoting
Jesus “I am the way, the truth and the life… nobody comes to the Father except through me”

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Hi @Billridl,

No worries - I’ve moved your post to the Daily Evangelism category so it can be seen by a wider audience.

If I am understanding your question correctly, it sounds like you have Muslim friends who think it is elitist to say that Jesus is the only way?

I suppose one way to deepen the conversation would be to ask your Muslim friends, “would you say that we must follow the teachings of Mohammad to please Allah?”

It seems to me that all religions and worldviews make exclusive truth claims.

What is unique about the claims of Jesus is that we receive his salvation as a gift after we admit that we aren’t particularly good and need forgiveness for our sins. Christians of all people are to avoid claims of being morally superior. We are forgiven and transformed by God’s grace.

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Hi @Billridl This is a great question and I am glad you asked because I have wondered how I would respond if someone asked me that.

I think Lee Strobel does a great job of answering in the following article. This also directly ties in with what @CarsonWeitnauer said, “Christians of all people are to avoid claims of being morally superior. We are forgiven and transformed by God’s grace.”

Hopefully this is helpful to you. May the Lord richly bless and equip you as you seek to make Him known to those He has placed in your path.

Thank you again for your post.

mary beth

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Hello @Billridl

It’s an honor to share my thoughts on this question.

Great question, by the way. :grinning:

First, let us digest the question.
• You have a Muslim friend
• Your Muslim friend assumes that we are being elitist by quoting the verse you mentioned.

I want to give 2-3 lines of thoughts you can think about.

1.) We are living in 3 kinds of cultures. Theonomous, a culture where God’s law is embedded in our hearts. Heteronomous, a culture where superior caste dictates the law for the many. Autonomous, a culture of self-governance (self-law)

Here’s the thing, we are living in an autonomous culture, the moment you share your faith to your muslim friend, they reject it and say we are elitist, and possibly inject their own faith to us - switching autonomous to heteronomous.

2.) When we share Jesus, especially the exclusive claim in Him to our friend, always present the truth and beauty of Him. John 14:6 is very exclusive claim of Jesus, it is truth that we need to share, but we also need to project His beauty so that others may be attracted.

3.) When we share the truth, always be loving. To share the truth is important, but it is more important that our motivation is love. Argument alone cannot win the heart of your friend, always be loving and build relationship, so that they will give us the platform to share our faith.

Being elitist is very different to being “truthful.”
Elitist mean you are being superior to your claim and forcing someone to believe to your belief as well.
Being truthful means you are presenting the truth to your belief with love. And even though they reject it, you still respect their decision and embrace them.

Thank you for giving your time to read this.
I hope these thoughts help you.

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You know @Billridl - that’s a good point that @CarsonWeitnauer made about all religions being “elitist” in the way that your Muslim friends are using the word. They’re no less insistent that salvation is through Allah than we are that it’s through Christ - no less than Buddhists, Hindus, Atheists or any other group is that they’ve got the real truth.

But here’s a big difference (and it’s why I think their accusation of “elitism” doesn’t really apply to Christianity) - every other faith promotes some version of salvation (enlightenment, freedom, paradise) being available only to those who are somehow “good enough”. This encourages flawed men to overestimate their worthiness, turn a blind eye to their failures, and cultivate a good front - the very essence of self-righteousness. When Ephesians 2:9 says that salvation is not of works lest any man should boast, the implication is that salvation by works naturally encourages men to boast.

But the Christian faith emphasizes that salvation is only available to those who are “bad enough”! The publicans and harlots enter the kingdom before the scribes and Pharisees. The Publican who smites his breast crying, “God be merciful to me a sinner” goes down to his house justified rather than the self-righteous man who thanks God that he’s better than others. The Great Physician does not call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. And the only elite One in our eyes is the Savior Himself. All the rest of us are just sinners saved by the very same grace that every sinner in the world can be saved by.

And only a religion of grace could be that way - it is completely antithetical to the whole concept of salvation by works.

I would phrase it that Christianity is as exclusive as other religions, but not as elite.

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