Beulah Collins: Several cotton farmers were whiling away a winter afternoon around the potbellied stove. They soon became
entangled in a heated discussion on the merits of their respective religions. The eldest of the farmers had been sitting
quietly, just listening, when the group turned to him and demanded, "Who's right, old Jim? Which one of these religions is
the right one?"
"Well," said Jim thoughtfully, "you know there are three ways to get from here to the cotton gin. You can go right over
the big hill. That's shorter but it's a powerful climb. You can go around the east side of the hill. That's not too far, but the
road is rougher'n tarnation. Or you can go around the west side of the hill, which is the longest way, but the easiest."
"But you know," he said, looking them squarely in the eye, "when you get there, the gin man don't ask you how you come.
He just asks, 'Man, how good is your cotton?'"
Los Angeles Times Syndicate.
At a recent missions conference attended by thousands of evangelical students, only one third of the participants
indicated their belief that "a person who does not hear the Gospel is eternally lost."
Timothy George, TableTalk, 1992.
Matthew 18:21-35 How long would it take the slave to repay a billion dollars??
In the long run, the answer...is itself a question: "What are you asking God to do?" To wipe out their past sins, and, at all
costs, to give them a fresh start, smoothing every difficulty and offering every miraculous help? But He has done so, on Calvary.
To forgive them? They will not be forgiven. To leave them alone? Alas, I am afraid that is what He does"
(C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain).
Since Christ is the Word of God and the Truth of God, he may be received even by those who have not heard of his manifestation in
the flesh. A proud and self-righteous morality is inconsistent with saving faith; but a humble and penitent reliance upon God,
as a Savior from sin and a guide of conduct, is an implicit faith in Christ; for such reliance casts itself upon God, so far as God
has revealed himself,--and the only Revealer of God in Christ. We have, therefore, the hope that even among the heathen there may
be some, like Socrates, who under the guidance of the Holy Spirit working through the truth of nature and conscience, have found
the way to life and salvation.
A.H. Strong, Systematic Theology, 1909, p. 843, quoted in
W. Dyrness, Christian Apologetics in a
IVP, 1983, p. 106.