I have been under the impression that Christ's teaching is very much along the way of "Christ is the only path." If so, what's going on in this passage?

Luke 9:49–50 (KJV)
49  And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us.
50  And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.

How is this mysterious individual casting out devils without being a follower of Christ, and how is Jesus implying that this mysterious fellow is an ally?


In verse 49, as you have quoted it, this fellow is casting out demons in Jesus' name. As such, Jesus is still the one and only Way.

Jesus' point here is not that there is another name under heaven by which men can be saved, but rather that just because someone is 'not part of the group' doesn't mean they can't be a follower of Christ. In other words, it could be a support for the notion that Jesus is more important than the Institution that proclaims him.

Put another way, it is much like Paul's admonition in Phillippians, where he says he doesn't care whether Christ is preached out of selfish ambitions or good ones, as long as Christ is preached

  • Beautiful response. I never caught the "In Jesus' name" part. – user1694 Jul 30 '12 at 7:37
  • Not to mention the sons of Sceva incident in Acts which has another interesting twist on this. – user3797 Jan 19 '13 at 14:38

There are examples in the Bible of people go to God before the Christ.

2 Kings 2:11 NIV

And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

This is debatable as the Old Testament didn't really talk about people going to heaven. And some people believe that the word should have been "sky" and not "heaven"

However, since Jesus, it is the Christian tradition that he is the only way. There are several things that modern Christians sometimes forget. Such as Jesus really preached about the now. To be good people now, to love one another. It wasn't to get into heaven, but to be a good creature for the creator among others.

In the Old Testament, God did things to teach us a lesson. If it were not already written, we may say these things were bad or from Satan since they were bad.

The bible also talks about other people with "gifts" such as interpreting dreams (Jacob). So it's not unreasonable that other people had "gifts" to "casting out devils".

  • True, but the salvation in Christ is eternal, reaching back in our time to cover the saints of old who died. The NT book of Hebrews covers this principle in depth, how the OT saints were justified by faith, looking forward to the work of the Messiah. – user32 Aug 15 '12 at 4:07
  • You're suggesting that salvation in Christ is possible before the incarnation of the logos? – user1054 Aug 15 '12 at 12:34
  • Absolutely, and logically that must be true or the salvation is insufficient - that's the message of scripture, particularly Hebrews. – user32 Aug 15 '12 at 17:47
  • Jesus died once, for all mankind for all time - Hebrews 10: "12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified." – user32 Aug 15 '12 at 18:02

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