* The message in large, bold letters on the mudflap of a tractor-trailer truck passed on I-80 somewhere between Iowa and Connecticut last November riveted my wife and me with its terse ONLY JESUS SAVES. A lively discussion ensued about the importance of the word only. Little did we realize it was the Lord's preparation for the insights in Daniel B. Clendenin's powerful presentation ["The Only Way" Jan. 12]. With hindsight, it can be concluded that the long-haul trucker was correct in his exclusiveness and diligent in his obedience to the Great Commission.
* I agree with the points Clendenin made. I just wish he had not overlooked the words of the apostle Paul. Romans 1:20 tells us God is so clearly seen in his creation that man is without excuse, and Romans 2:14-15 tells that us when the Gentiles instinctively do the things contained in the Law they reveal the law written in their hearts, an experience analogous to the new covenant.
Because God does not want anyone to be lost, because God always does that which is right, in my opinion Paul suggests that God could save those who never heard the gospel because they saw Jesus the Creator revealed in his creation and on that basis lived instinctively for him experiencing what we would call the new covenant.
On the basis of biblical evidence, I would have to answer Clendenin's question, "Yes, God can certainly save those who have never heard the gospel." I believe he would prefer that all hear the gospel. But not all have heard or will hear the gospel because of our failure to proclaim it. Should they then be lost because of our failure? It seems to me that Paul describes for us a just, fair, and loving God's alternative.
* Clendenin's ...1