For instance, when Larry King or another talk show host asks Christian guests whether they believe that receiving Christ is the only way to heaven, a “yes” answer can be taken as proof that the guest has been shown to be irrationally narrow and necessarily wrong.
Admittedly, the person asking the question may be honestly wondering about sincere people who want to know God, but who have never heard; or impaired persons who could not understand, even if they heard. And without an honest discussion of these issues the answerer also might sound simplistically naïve.
After hearing a too brief exchange, I’m often left embarrassed for the sake of Christ, and thankful that I haven’t been in the hot seat. Am often left wondering how much candor is appropriate in situations like that, or even this blog.
Will try to explain what I mean. I believe Christ alone is the way to the Father’s house. I’m convinced that no one else died for us, and that trust in anything other than the name and gospel of Christ is a false trust. Because of the mission Jesus gave to his church I also believe our responsibility is to announce the good news of his death and resurrection to everyone, regardless of whether we can answer the questions of our critics, or even some of our own. I believe we must offer the gift of eternal life in Jesus even though the Scriptures make it clear that anyone who rejects the good news of Christ will be even more accountable for what they are knowingly rejecting.
I also believe that men and women of faith in Old Testament times were saved by Christ alone, even though they had never heard of Jesus.
Beyond that there is so much I don’t know. I can hardly begin to ask the questions I have about people in situations of “unusual trust,”… where I wonder if God sees the kind of faith he will use to save them… through Christ alone. A friend, for instance, recently told me that he thinks some people reject a “caricature of Christ” rather than the real Christ– because of the way nominal followers of Jesus have misrepresented him.
The point of my raising these questions is not to raise unnerving doubts about what we know… but to encourage us to be willing to admit what we don’t know… so that in “Larry King” like situations we will show humility and grace, as well as conviction and faithfulness to our Savior.
PS After listening to the good variety of comments that follow below, I hope that, when you have time ,you will follow the thread for counterpoints and clarifications.