Does Christianity promote arrogance by claiming that we are special people?

by Matt Slick

Some people say it is arrogant for Christians to claim that they alone are going to heaven. But is it really arrogance? Arrogance is a negative display of superiority and/or self-importance, but true Christians are not claiming superiority or self-importance. They claim that trust in Christ alone is what forgives them of their sin and that all who trust in him can be forgiven as well. This is not arrogance. It is confidence in the work of Christ who sacrificed Himself on the cross.

Arrogance is against the teaching of Scripture. We are told to love God (Matt. 22:36), love our neighbor (Matt. 22:38), and that love is not arrogant (1 Cor. 13:4). In fact, Christians are supposed to consider others more important than themselves (Philippians 2:3). This is the opposite of arrogance.

It is not arrogant to say that Jesus is the only way (John 14:6), especially when we are just repeating what he said. Also, it is not arrogant to say that in God's mercy He saved us, and we know that we are saved because we are relying on what God has done and not what we have done (1 John 5:13). 

On the other hand, it is arrogant to judge Christians who are doing nothing more than depending on the work of Christ for their salvation. It is arrogant to judge them and pronounce moral verdicts upon them for their trust in Christ. 

It is also arrogant to appeal to God based on the sincerity of your own heart or the sincerity of others as though sincerity merits favor with God. It is arrogant to say that salvation is depended in part upon our wisdom by which we recognize our need for God, our ability to do good, and our abstaining from evil. Essentially, that would be saying that a person is able, through his own efforts, to please the infinite God. That would be arrogance.

It is not arrogant to recognize what God has done by choosing us (Ephesians 1:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13). It is not arrogant to say that we are saved from God the Father's righteous judgment by the mercy, grace, and sacrifice of Christ (Acts 15:11). With each of these biblical truths, it is not our wisdom or our ability that has enabled us to believe or be saved. Instead, because God grants that we believe (Philippians 1:29) and grants repentance (2 Timothy 2:25), we humbly and thankfully contemplate what it means to be forgiven by his grace. This is not arrogance. It is the opposite of arrogance.

Unfortunately, some Christians are arrogant in that they claim to be special people who "know better" than other people and speak down to them. All we can say is this is not in harmony with the Scriptures. Christians are not perfect, and they certainly make mistakes, but the issue is what Scripture says since it defines what Christianity is. We should not judge a whole religion based upon the bad behavior of a few.


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.