Dick Fischer wrote:
> Brent wrote:
> >Dick Fischer wrote:
> >>My hesitation comes from giving what could be false hope. If Christ
> >>"the way" then there should be no other way. If there is another
> >>Scripture surely doesn't spell out many alternatives.>
> >I don't think we can tell God that these people can't be saved
> >they didn't believe in Jesus.
> I didn't say it. Christ said it.
To be precise, what Christ said was "I am the way, and the
truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me." (For now I
bypass the question of whether or not those words of the Johannine
Christ were spoken by the historical Jesus.) I.e., Jesus is the only
way to God - but this does _not_ say that only a person who has explicit
knowledge of Jesus as Lord and savior and explicitly assents to the
gospel can come to God.
The biblical claims for the uniqueness of Christ should
certainly not be taken lightly, nor should the call for faith on the
part of those who have heard the gospel and the commission to the church
to proclaim it. But we are not entitled to say that God has no way of
making the benefits of Christ available to those who have not heard the
gospel or who for one reason or another have not been able to give it
serious consideration. _How_ they might be saved through Christ can
only be speculation on our part, & such speculation should not be
indulged in with the goal of excusing ourselves from making explicit
witness to Jesus.
"Exclusive texts" like John 14:6 and Acts 4:12 are important &
shouldn't be watered down. But the same is true for "inclusive" texts
like John 12:32, Ephesians 1:10, and Colossians 1:20.
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