Monday, October 05, 2009

BEARING THE CROSS Octavius Winslow

In light of this powerful article below by Octavius Winslow, first consider these distrubing words between Robert Schuller and Billy Graham (source: Television interview of Billy Graham by Robert Schuller, on May 31, 1997. The following segment is an exact transcript of an excerpt close to the end of the broadcast. Reported by The Christian News, October 20, 1997, page 15.):

SCHULLER: Tell me, what do you think is the future of Christianity?

GRAHAM: Well, Christianity and being a true believer -- you know, I think there's the Body of Christ. This comes from all the Christian groups around the world, outside the Christian groups. I think everybody that loves Christ, or knows Christ, whether they're conscious of it or not, they're members of the Body of Christ ... I think James answered that, the Apostle James in the first council in Jerusalem, when he said that God's purpose for this age is to call out a people for His name. And that's what God is doing today, He's calling people out of the world for His name, whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world, or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ, because they've been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus, but they know in their hearts that they need something that they don't have, and they turn to the only light that they have, and I think they are saved, and that they're going to be with us in heaven."

SCHULLER: What, what I hear you saying, that it's possible for Jesus Christ to come into human hearts and soul and life, even if they've been born in darkness and have never had exposure to the Bible. Is that a correct interpretation of what you're saying?

GRAHAM: Yes, it is, because I believe that. I've met people in various parts of the world in tribal situations, that they have never seen a Bible or heard about a Bible, and never heard of Jesus, but they've believed in their hearts that there was a God, and they've tried to live a life that was quite apart from the surrounding community in which they lived."

SCHULLER: [R.S. trips over his tongue for a moment, his face beaming, then says] I'm so thrilled to hear you say this. There's a wideness in God's mercy.

GRAHAM: There is. There definitely is."

One must ask this question of these two men: how wide do you think is the narrow road?

Bearing the Cross
By Octavius Winslow

"And He, bearing His cross, went forth to a place called Golgotha." John 19:17

There is no incident in our Lord's passion which, to a heart quickened with spiritual sensibility, is more replete with holy instruction, or more deeply, tenderly touching than this- Christ bearing to Calvary the cross upon which He was to suffer. It unveils such a profound abasement, and yet such a depth of love- it portrays a stoop of the Majesty of heaven to earth's lowest degradation- so marvelous, and yet, is the measurement of grace, so vast, the fact stands out, amid the many marvels of our Lord's death, one of the most touching and significant of all. To compel the criminal to bear the wood upon which he was to be impaled, was one of the severest elements of degradation in the Roman punishment of crucifixion. To this our Lord was subjected, "And He, bearing His cross, went forth." Little did they dream, as they bound the fatal wood upon His shoulder, by whose power that tree was made to grow, and from whom the beings who bore Him to the death drew their existence. So completely was Jesus bent upon saving sinners by the sacrifice of Himself, He created the tree upon which He was to die, and nurtured from infancy the men who were to nail Him to the accursed wood. Oh the depth of Jesus's love to sinners! Lord! the universe in its accumulation presents no love like Yours! Your love, eternal as Your being, saw from everlasting the cross of Calvary, and yet You did not falter in Your purpose, nor modify Your plan of saving lost sinners by the sacrifice of Yourself. You saved others, Yourself You would not save!

Our present subject, while it presents one of the most affecting portraits of our Lord, equally delineates what should be the portrait of His disciple bearing the cross after Jesus. We proceed to guide the reader's thoughts first, to the study of the Divine Original, and then, to the consideration of the human copy.

The burden borne by our Lord on this memorable occasion was the literal, actual cross upon which He was to agonize and die. What a touching proof have we here of His literal and actual humanity! The bearing of that cross upon His chafed shoulders, His weariness and fainting beneath its weight, proved Him to be (sin always excepted) very man of very man, bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh. Replete with consolation is this fact to the burdened believer. Perhaps Jesus has laid upon you some cross- it may be the shame and the loss of His own; your heart is sad, your spirits sink, you stagger and swoon beneath the burden. But study this touching incident in your Lord's life, and receive the instruction and accept the soothing it affords. Your Lord knew what it was to droop beneath the cross, and do you think that He has no regard, no compassion, no sympathy with you at this moment, as, weary, exhausted, and faint, you bear the load God has laid upon you, carry the cross Christ has imposed, toiling on in obedience, suffering, and service?

We have already adverted to the humiliating aspect which this fact in our Lord's history presents. It is too significant to pass superficially over. Every view of our Lord's humiliation is a view of His love. The greatest indignity, as we have remarked, in the death of the Roman malefactor, was to compel him to carry the gibbet to the place of execution. To this degradation did Jesus voluntarily subject Himself. "He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." But why this degradation? That He might illustrate the depth of His love, and teach His followers that in all the humiliation they pass through in confessing His name and bearing His cross, He enfolds them in the robe of His sympathy, and sustains them by the arm of His grace. If such the humiliation to which our Lord cheerfully submitted, and such the springs of sympathy which gush from His compassionate nature, who would shrink from the shame and the loss of bearing the cross after Jesus? What assuring words has He spoken! "Whoever confesses me before men, him will I confess before my Father which is in heaven." But we pass to the more spiritual and gospel truth involved in the incident of Christ bearing His cross.

But for sin there had been no cross. When our blessed Lord traveled to Calvary, weary and faint beneath the cross, there was a sorrow in His heart, a moral crucifixion of the soul, greater and severer far than this- the sorrow and the weight which the transfer of all His people's transgressions to Him, as their Substitute and Surety, involved. Listen to His touching language- "My soul is sorrowful, even unto death." What was the cause of that grief from which He would not escape? The bearing of sin! Nothing but sin supplies a solution of the mystery of His deep, unparalleled soul-sorrow. The sorrow had not been His by experience- had not the sin been His by imputation. Thus our Lord endured, not the punishment only, but the actual sins of His people. What injustice would there be in punishing the innocent for the guilty, had not the innocent party stood in the place of the guilty party. This our Lord did. Substitution is the great doctrine of the gospel- the substitution of the innocent for the guilty. "He was made sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." Behold then, beloved, your sins laid by transfer upon Jesus. The teaching of the Bible is not, as some suppose, that we lay our sins upon Christ- that were a difficult, an impossible act, but the teaching is, that Jehovah laid our sins upon Him. "The Lord [JEHOVAH] has laid upon Him the iniquity of us all." The Father did this in His everlasting love, from all eternity. In the eternal purpose of the Triune God the sins of the elect were laid upon Jesus, and He undertook to bear and die for them. If God the Father had not laid our sins upon God the Son, no power of ours had ever prevailed to effect the task. In accomplishing our reconciliation, Christ acted for God on the one part, and for man on the other. And if God had not consented that His people's transgressions should all meet upon Christ, actually binding upon the sacrificial victim with His own hands the burden, there had been no reconciliation. Hence our salvation, with all the blessings that flow from it- Jehovah the Father laying upon Jehovah the Son His Church's sins.

And now your faith has to do with an accomplished fact, and not with an impossible task. It is to accept the truth that God Himself laid your sins upon the soul of Jesus, as Aaron the priest took all the transgressions of all the children of Israel and laid them upon the head of the goat, and then sent him away into the wilderness. "And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions and all their sins, putting them [the actual iniquities and transgressions] upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness. And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities into a land not in habited." (Margin, a land of separation.) You have, perhaps, under an enlightened and spiritual sense of sin- distressed and despairing- for months endeavored to uplift the crushing weight and lay it upon Christ, and every effort has failed. Let me gently lead you to the foot of the Savior's cross. Behold in faith the sinless, spotless Lamb of God as having already borne that weight, as having suffered for those sins, as having died for those transgressions, and accept the precious truth that it was God's eternal love that laid them all on Jesus, and that nothing is left for you to do but to believe in Jesus, that He saves to the uttermost all that come unto God by Him.

Thus, as we have remarked, you have, in the momentous matter of your soul's salvation, to accept an attested fact, and not to propose a hopeless task. Your soul-distress for sin, your spiritual consciousness of guilt, is to impel you, just as you are, to the cross, there to look and believe and be saved. If you lose sight of the truth that God laid your sins upon Christ, you lose sight of the love of God towards you; and, losing sight of the love of God, you lose sight of the fountain from where flows all your springs of peace and joy and hope. The comfort which this view of Christ's bearing sin imparts, distances all measurement. If God has laid your sins upon the Son of His love, you may rest assured that He will never lay them a second time upon you; since, if Christ has borne them and atoned for them to Divine justice, they never again can be found. What, then, are you to take to Jesus? For what are you to repair to the foot of His cross? You are to take to Jesus the conviction of sin; the spiritual, enlightened confession of your guilt- that terrible and crushing burden that weighs you to the earth- you are to take to Him your sense of condemnation, your dread of death, your fearful apprehension of eternal wrath. Brought by the Holy Spirit to see and feel your condemnation under the law, you are to repair to the cross and behold Jesus "made a curse for us," and see your sins all laid upon Him, condemned in Him, pardoned through Him, and by Him cast into eternal oblivion.

While all Christendom admits the fact that Christ died upon the cross, how widely different the interpretation of that fact? We accept the only scriptural and rational one which supplies a solution of the mystery, "Christ died for the ungodly." "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." "Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many." "Who His own self bear our sins in His own body on the tree." Can any truth be presented more forcibly, or in a light more luminous, than the doctrine which these touching words convey- the sacrificial nature of our Lord's death? Hold fast this essential doctrine of your faith- it is for your life. There is no present spiritual life, and there can be no future eternal life, apart from a humble, believing reception of the atonement Of the Son of God. God will not save the sinner at the expense of His honor, or exercise mercy at the sacrifice of justice. The atonement of the Son of God so harmonizes His perfections, as to render it easy, honorable, and illustrious on the part of God to embrace in His love, extend His mercy, and exercise His grace towards the greatest sinner. Were He to save the sinner on the basis of mercy without an equivalent to His moral government, it would be an outrage on justice, and a dishonor to holiness, and a violation of truth. But the atoning work of the Son of God- the God-man, Christ Jesus- meets the whole case- it honors the Holiest and it saves the vilest. "Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved."

And how resplendent does the love of Jesus appear from beneath this dark cloud of His profound humiliation. The marvellous fact of His bearing His own cross can only be understood in the light of LOVE. It was, in fact, LOVE bearing the instrument of its own torture and death. The cross of Jesus is the symbol, the badge, the expression of Divine love. It is love's manner and escutcheon. Love died to save, confronting death in its most painful and degrading form. God the Father so loved that He gave His Son- God the Son so loved that He gave Himself- and God the Spirit so loves that He takes of the things of Jesus and shows them to us. Love, and love only, supplies the solution of all that Jehovah has done from everlasting in the covenant of redemption. Behold, then, your Savior bearing His cross, trembling and fainting the place of suffering, and doubt not His love to you. Has He laid upon you a burden beneath whose pressure your tender spirit faints? His love bore a far heavier one for you; and will sustain you while you learn the lesson and reap the blessing of this discipline. Would you know the heart of Jesus? Track His footsteps as, bearing His own cross for you, weary and mournful, He traveled to the sepulchral gloom of Golgotha.

Many are THE BLESSINGS which flow from this touching incident of our Lord's passion. We mention a few. Confirming, as it does, the fact of our Lord's nature as a man, it equally illustrates His human sympathy. Sinking from weariness, faint from exhaustion, and ready to succumb beneath the burden that you bear, let the thought of Christ's sympathy soothe and sustain you. No other being can sympathize with your present position- the mental depression, the bodily infirmity, the spiritual despondency- as Christ. His bearing the burden of His cross schooled Him for this identical path you now tread. It may be tortuous in its windings, cross-like in its shape, traced by tears, shaded by gloom, nevertheless the discipline of your Lord, when He went forth bearing His cross, has prepared Him for this your present path. Take your cross to the foot of His, and the spectacle of His suffering love will make your affliction light and momentary; and you shall declare with the Psalmist, "I had fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."

Few lessons gleaned from this incident in our Lord's life are more practical and precious to the believer than the assimilation into which it brings him with Christ. How frequently, in His conversations with His disciples, did the phrase occur- "taking the cross." For example- "He that takes not his cross, and follows not after Me, is not worthy of Me." "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me." An illustration of this high, spiritual privilege of the disciple of Christ is touchingly presented in the instance of Simon the Cyrenean, of whom it is recorded, "him they compelled to bear His cross."

What is it to bear Christ's cross?
It involves three ideas.

The first is, the public confession of Christ crucified before the world. It is due to our Lord, if we are really His disciples, that the world should know it. There are many who are not Christ's true disciples, who yet presumptuously assume and wear His badge. And there are not a few who are His true disciples, but who are only secretly so. "Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly." But the religion of Jesus imposes an open, public, and avowed profession of His name and truth before men. Christ was not crucified in secret, but openly in the sight of heaven and earth; and His true disciples, not ashamed of Him and His cross, of His truth and of His people, but coming out of the world, separating themselves from its worldliness and its religion, are openly, manfully, and meekly to take up His cross and follow Him; not ashamed to own themselves the disciples of that Savior whose life was poverty, whose kingdom was not of this world, whose first apostles were fishermen, and whose death was that of a Roman slave upon the cross. Oh, then, if you love Jesus, confess Him where His person is despised, His gospel hated, His name reviled; and count it your highest distinction on earth, like Simon, . to "bear the cross after Jesus."

Another idea involved is, a willing and cheerful endurance of whatever sufferings, afflictions, and trials our Lord may see fit, in His infinite wisdom and love, to lay upon us in the profession of His name and the service of His kingdom and truth. The religion of Jesus involves the bearing of a cross. We should keep in mind the sentiment of Augustine, "My Love was crucified." All service, therefore, for Him whom our souls love imposes a cross, demands a self-denying spirit, the abnegation of our own will, and the doing and the suffering of our Lord's. And oh, how pleasant a thing it is to make any sacrifice- if we dare dignify our poor service by such a term- for Him who sacrificed Himself for us! Love to Jesus- love enkindled at the altar of His own- will impart lowliness to the loftiest service, and dignity to the most common things done in His name.

The third idea is that of crucifixion of sin. "Those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh." "I am crucified with Christ." The sacrificial death of our Lord upon the cross not only obtained for us reconciliation with God, but it supplied a personal and effectual motive for the mortification of sin and the subjugation of the powers and passions of the soul to the supremacy of Jesus. And he who, by the power of the cross, thus crucifies sin, may appropriate to himself spiritually the language which Paul employed literally- "Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus." "I have in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." As Owen observes, "Nothing but the death of Christ for us, will be the death of sin in us." In bearing thus the cross of Jesus, the believer dies unto sin and lives unto holiness. It is a dying daily, or daily crucifixion. And never can the child of God look simply to the cross, beholding His sins all nailed there, without associating the crucifixion of Jesus for his sins with the crucifixion of his sins. In the solemn light of that cross he reads, "Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." "Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God our Father."

Thus may we be found, like our Lord and Master, bearing the cross, though the path lead us to the solitude, the suffering, and the sorrow of Golgotha. It will not be that we bear this precious load alone, nor bear it long. Christ carries with us its heaviest end, and in a little while we shall lay it down for the "rest that remains for the people of God."


In light of these stirring words above, I leave you with a closing comment from Billy Graham taken from a recent interview with Jon Meacham - managing editor of Newsweek, entitled "Pilgrim's Progress."
"A unifying theme of Graham's new thinking is humility. He is sure and certain of his faith in Jesus as the way to salvation. When asked whether he believes heaven will be closed to good Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus or secular people, though, Graham says: "Those are decisions only the Lord will make. It would be foolish for me to speculate on who will be there and who won't ... I don't want to speculate about all that. I believe the love of God is absolute. He said he gave his son for the whole world, and I think he loves everybody regardless of what label they have."

this has been an encore presentation


Yankeerev said...

I struggle with this conversation because I don't know if I should be having compassion on a man who has been used by God, who, in his senior years is undermining his former platform and integrity before God -- or, is this what he truly believes.

There has to be someone who will lovingly confront Rev. Graham and let him know how he is becoming a pawn in the hands of liberals and universalists.

~Mark said...

It would seem that since we are judged on basis of whether or not we refuse the light we are given, and since Christ has been made evident in nature and conscience, that God would have a category of people who respond in such a way to the Light given as to live like followers of Christ without having heard His name explicitly.

I don't believe a person could stay in one of the world religions if he/she is attempting to truly respond to Light, because the religions push one away from the True Light.

While I can't say people who don't hear the Gospel in specific words will absolutely be saved, I can't say that they won't either.

While this is probably just a long way of sayign "I don't know", I can't rule out God pulling people toward Himself from wherever they are because that's what He did with me. At the same time I DO NOT believe that a person can be wholeheartedly serving as a Muslim, Buddhist, or any other religion and be walking toward the light.


Fact or fiction? Your opening words of a partial conversation between Robert Sculler and Billy Graham - is it fact or fiction?

If it is an accurate, truthful recording of an actual conversation then who can believe anything either of these religious leaders says these days????

Sparks said...

This is not something "new with advanced age" from Billy Graham. He has been saying this for a long time.

SJ Camp said...

This segment of their interview is genuine and I apologize I failed to "source" its validity. I have done so now and it precedes the quote.

Some good thoughts you all have expressed here. Winslow's words are especially profound and edifying.
Do not miss them by reading them quickly. Make them a devotion to your soul today.

Grace and peace,

Bhedr said...

>There has to be someone who will lovingly confront Rev. Graham and let him know how he is becoming a pawn in the hands of liberals and universalists.<

Years ago a group of fundamentalists headed by Jack Wyrtzen from Word Of Life sat down with him and lovingly confronted him on this.

Graham does not believe in a literal hell either. He hasn't for decades. He believes in hell but not the literal one.

Only eternity will bear out what good or bad has come from the ministry of Billy Graham. Joni whom I greatly respect has enthusiastically supported Graham for decades along with many other evangelical. I think if we stopped flowering men that compromise the truth then it would go a long way. Rebukes flow away into oblivion because men and women from the same camps that rebuke immediately offer a thousand platitudes to reward this apostasy.

donsands said...

" the atoning work of the Son of God- ... it honors the Holiest and saves the vilest"

Wonderful teaching on the Cross.

I wonder if one of the problems is that some, like Bill Graham, do not believe sin is that bad. That God's holiness isn't that holy. I don't know. Just thinking out loud.

Very sad to hear things like this. It makes the heart heavy. But the Lord is mighty, and He will build His Church. Matt. 16:18

BTW, I watched the Charlie Rose Show late last night, and he interviewed Rick Warren & Gregory Boyd. Rose did mention Billy's article in Newsweek, and Rick commented on it.

Very sad how this interview went. At least for me it made my heart heavy.

"For ever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.
Your faithfulness is unto all generations: You have established the earth, and it stands." Psalm 119:89-90

~Mark said...

Billy Graham aside, what about those who are isolated from the Word? Like I said before, I don't believe that anyone serving wholeheartedly in a false religion is moving toward Christ, but what about the individual who is responding to the Light they've been given by God?

I don't see how we can definitively say they will not see Heaven if they are responding to the Light they are given.

The Light of Christ will not allow their conscience to sit comfortably with false religions, and I experienced that in my own life. Being repelled by things and not knowing why.

I'd just like to engage that topic a bit because I've wrestled with it before and would enjoy some wise debate.

Brett Royal said...

I am at least happy to see Billy Graham talk about sin and our need for a savior. This is becoming an antiquated concept with a lot of younger preachers.

Carla Rolfe said...


you asked "but what about the individual who is responding to the Light they've been given by God?"

In exactly what way would they be responding to the light you speak of?

Would they have some sort of inner illumination that they are a sinner in need of a Savior?

Would they have some idea that Christ came in the form of man, died and rose again for full payment of sin?

Would they have any concept of repentance, sin, holiness and/or righteoussness?

If a person is isolated from the Word, there isn't any way they can know these things.

At the same time however, if by God's providence the Holy Spirit is doing a work in their hearts, I'm convinced that at some point these people will be exposed to the gospel of Christ, will believe, and will repent.

But to say that these are people that will be in Heaven simply because they responded in some way to the light, without ever hearing the gospel, never believing, never having faith, never repenting, never confessing Christ as Lord - is a rather huge can of worms, so to speak.

Just a few thoughts - I'd be interested in your ideas on (Biblically) how anyone is in Heaven without confessing Christ as Lord.


~Mark said...

Hi Carla!

"At the same time however, if by God's providence the Holy Spirit is doing a work in their hearts, I'm convinced that at some point these people will be exposed to the gospel of Christ, will believe, and will repent."

~You mean kinda like the Ethiopian eunuch, but from an even more sparse starting point than having a copy of a portion of Scripture?

"But to say that these are people that will be in Heaven simply because they responded in some way to the light, without ever hearing the gospel, never believing, never having faith, never repenting, never confessing Christ as Lord - is a rather huge can of worms, so to speak."

~No no, I'm not saying that they will, I'm asking if it is certain they (those particular individuals-not everybody) will not.

"Just a few thoughts - I'd be interested in your ideas on (Biblically) how anyone is in Heaven without confessing Christ as Lord."

~I'm still digging into the issue so I haven't formed a conclusion yet, but I thought this would be a good place to continue. The Old Testament believers were saved by looking forward to Christ, but most didn't know Who He would be or in what form He would come. They just trusted God.

I'm saying basically that I believe God has some way of dealing with the situation where a person does not specifically hear the name of Christ, but in responding to God's revealed Light (conscience directing morality, sense of God's reality, avoidance of worshipping created things instead of the Creator, having that sense of revulsion toward the false gods that may be worshipped around him or her and so on) does move toward Him.

To be sure:
1) I haven't formed a conclusion of yes/no.
2) I do believe that God has a plan of some sort for those who respond to His Light before hearing His revealed Word.
3) We must still obey the command to GO and make disciples no matter what the answer to this question is because it is a command.
4) I have heard stories from missionaries amazed at the receptiveness they've found in areas where no one has brought the Gospel before, and I believe, as you said, that God was already at work preparing their hearts and then sent the Word.

I'm not saying that those prepared hearts WOULD have gone to Heaven if someone hadn't brought the Word to them, just wondering if we can say that they definitively would NOT have.

This doesn't change my understanding that we are still supposed to share the Gospel as far as the sphere of influence He gives us goes, I just wonder is all.

Thanks for diggin in!

Unknown said...

Romans 10:17 (and its context 10:5-17) doesn't describe how salvation *could* or *should* happen, but how salvation ONLY happens. The Romans 10 passage exhausts all means of coming to God.

Carla Rolfe said...


good questions, all. I love this topic too, and Breuss Wane pretty much stole my thunder in replying, lol.

You asked "I'm not saying that those prepared hearts WOULD have gone to Heaven if someone hadn't brought the Word to them, just wondering if we can say that they definitively would NOT have."

We can't say any more than what the Scriptures say, and thankfully they do say plenty on this subject:

• John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

• John 10:7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.

• Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

• Ac 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

You mention the OT saints:
"The Old Testament believers were saved by looking forward to Christ, but most didn't know Who He would be or in what form He would come. They just trusted God."

The one big difference between the OT saints, and anyone else - is that they did trust God. They had what we would call the book of the law, or the Pentateuch, and believed it. That's a big (huge) difference from someone who knows nothing whatsoever of the gospel of Christ to look to and believe.

I belive His plan for those who are secluded from hearing the gospel on any kind of regular basis (i.e. living where the gospel is freely distributed v. living in a jungle or mountain tribe far away from missionaries or outside communication) is exactly the same as it is for those living in LA, or Nashville, Seattle, Boston, Paris, Peking, The Sudan, or anywhere else:

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

And a few more:

• 1Cor. 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

• 1Co 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

• 1Th 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

• Jas 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

• 1Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.


~Mark said...

"The one big difference between the OT saints, and anyone else - is that they did trust God. They had what we would call the book of the law, or the Pentateuch, and believed it. That's a big (huge) difference from someone who knows nothing whatsoever of the gospel of Christ to look to and believe."

I agree on the trusting of God, but there were many who lived before the assembling of the Scriptures. (OT) God spoke directly with the first family, but there were many between them and Moses.

I want to stress again my hope that I'm not coming across as trying to invent new ways/alternate ways of salvation, 'cause I promise that ain't my intent at all.

donsands said...

I just watched a 1982 Billy Graham Crusade on my T.V.
There is much I disagree with his theology, but I must say his message on what it means to be "born again" was very good.
He preached with authority that the Bible was THE Word of God. He preached the Word with many Bible verses. Of course this was 24 years ago.
He preached repentance, conviction, that we are all sinners, Christ died for sinners, and that He is the only way to heaven. He preached the Gospel in my opinion.
It was better than much of what we hear today.

Bhedr said...

Whenever he stands behind the pulpit the truth comes out all the time, but its the interviews and what he does sometimes that always leave me scratching my head.

These are all good coments and I agree this was a great post.

cyshift said...

I am thunderstruck...Billy Graham?! One of the greatest evangelists that has ever lived now thinks there is another way to God other than through Jesus?! Has the whole church lost its collective mind?! Is it possible that we are truly seeing the strong delusion and apostasy spoken of in Matt. 24:24, 2 Thess. 2:11, and 2 thess. 2:3?

Denise said...

I heard the audio of this interview with BG and Schuller...Robert Morey has it on one of his c.d.'s. Its even more chilling hearing Graham say what he did.

Jerry Wragg said...

John's gospel is as clear as it gets:

John 3:13-15...The Son is the only One from Heaven who provides access to "Heavenly things".
John 4:10,14...The Son alone quenches spiritual thirst eternally.
John 5:21-24...The Son has been given all judgment, so that all must honor the Son to honor the Father.
John 5:37-47...No one has a relationship with God by any previous revelation without believing in the Son.
John 6:27...The Father has "set His seal" only upon the Son as the giver of eternal food.
John 6:32-40...Only those who believe in the Son will be raised up on last day.
John 6:44-51...The Father only draws His own to the Son in faith, and that exclusively through His death.
John 6:62-63...The words of Jesus are the only means by which the Spirit gives life.
John 8:14-19...Knowing Jesus Christ is the only way to know the Father.
John 8:31-32...The Son's revealed truth about Himself is the sole means to freedom.
John 8:42-43...Knowing the Father equals loving the Son, and that by means of "hearing" His word.
John 8:43-47...God's "words" are Christ's words, which are believed by all true Christians.
John 8:49-54...The Father always glorifies the Son whose word must be "kept" in order to be saved.
John 10:1-5...There is no other legitimate way into the sheepfold than Jesus, "the Good Shepherd".
John 10:7-16...The sheep will only hear the voice of the true shepherd whom the Father loves.
John 10:28-30...The Son gives eternal life which He and the Father guard as One essentially divine protector.
John 11:25...Jesus alone is "the resurrection and the life".
John 12:26...No one except those who are true servants of the Son will be honored by the Father.
John 12:32...All who will be saved are drawn by Jesus Christ to Himself.
John 12:44-50...To believe in and "behold" the Father, one must believe in the Son.
John 13:20...To "receive" God, one must "receive" the One sent by God.
John 14:6...Jesus Christ is the only possible access to the Father.
John 14:7-13...Knowing the Father requires believing the words and works of the Son, for the Father's glory.
John 14:23...Loving Christ is the basis upon which intimacy with the Father is enjoyed.
John 15:23...All other religious claims to the Father are false apart from love for Jesus Christ.
John 16:26-27...The Father's love is contingent upon one's faith in, and love for, Christ.
John 17:2...The Son has authority over all mankind to give eternal life to whom He desires.
John 17:3...Eternal life is defined as knowing "the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent".
John 17:4-11...Salvation was given exclusively to the Son by the Father, that believers would be one in Christ.
John 17:20-21...The Son petitions the Father for the spiritual unity of "all those who believe in [Him]" through the words of the disciples. Therefore, no one outside of faith in Christ is included in this prayer for unity.
John 17:22-26...The knowledge and love of God are securely "known" only through the revelation of the Son

Those who claim that God can be salvifically known apart from any knowledge of the person and work of Jesus christ are denigrating all that our Lord proclaimed in the above passages. If access to God could be gained outside of the revelation of Christ, why were the pharisees "dead" on the inside? In fact, Jesus should have simply said, "Oh, don't worry, you don't have to receive Me or My words, because your passion for God and zeal for His righteousness is all the relationship you need...we'll see you in Heaven where God will straighten out your short-sightedness".

On the contrary, the Father never provided redemption by some other means, mystical or otherwise. His plan for saving sinners has always been exclusively grounded in the revelation, person, work, exaltation, and glory of Jesus Christ!

~Mark said...

"If access to God could be gained outside of the revelation of Christ, why were the pharisees "dead" on the inside? In fact, Jesus should have simply said, "Oh, don't worry, you don't have to receive Me or My words, because your passion for God and zeal for His righteousness is all the relationship you need...we'll see you in Heaven where God will straighten out your short-sightedness"."

~Actually, the Pharisees in question didn't have a true zeal for God, but a zeal for being right and for being honored. It was all ego, and they missed the Light while having all the instructions memorized.

Jerry Wragg said...

My point wasn't that the Pharisees truly knew God, only that a claim to know the Father, whatever the motive, apart from faith in Jesus Christ receives His same corrective today as then. For all the reasons listed above from John's gospel , the clarity of the matter is unmistakeable.

donsands said...


very excellent thoughts on Scripture. Thanks.

Paul said, " concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is of the law, blameless." Phil. 3:6

SJ Camp said...

Excellent. I appreciate your thoughtful walk through of the Gospel of John. Thank you dear brother!

One other key passage from the Apostle John found in his epistle that also speaks to the exclusivity of Christ Jesus our Lord in salvation is, "1 John 2:22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 1 John 2:23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also." (ESV)

May we all finish well; remaining uncompromised in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; and not swayed by the postmodern moral pluralism of today that seeks to dumb-down the faith robbing the gospel of its glory, by turnng the narrow road a wide highway. It is sad that this kind of skewed thinking has raised its ugly head within the church and by some of its most treasured voices.

Unknown said...

I did contact The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Here was their response:

We appreciate your interest in the interview with Mr. Graham which was conducted by Rev. Robert Schuller in 1997, and for which a small video segment has been made available on the internet. We want to assure you that the intent of your message has been directed to Mr. Graham. As a ministry, we take the comments and concerns we receive seriously, and we hope to clarify Mr. Graham's position on the Biblical message of salvation.

Shortly after that interview in 1997 Mr. Graham responded in his newsletter: "In all our Crusades we place a prominent banner with Jesus' words, 'I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.' We put that verse there because people live in a confused world, with so many competing religious voices calling men and women to follow them. But Christ is distinctive and exclusive about the way to God. There can be no true Christianity apart from Him. While some of the ethics and idealism of other religions may run parallel to Christian teachings, the fact remains, as stated by Jesus Christ, 'No man cometh unto the Father but by me' (John 14:6, KJV). Over the years I have met people with many religious and philosophical views. Many of them have had deep commitment to their beliefs. But I have become even more convinced of the uniqueness and the truth of Christ and His Gospel. And I want to continue preaching it as long as possible."

At the time of the interview, Mr. Graham was struggling with physical symptoms related both to Parkinson's disease and a then undiagnosed problem involving fluid on the brain. These issues, in addition to his age, were evidenced by a weariness and instability in many areas of his life. We believe that, under the pressure of a live interview, Mr. Graham may have become sidetracked and acknowledged something he has never believed.

Perhaps these observations will make certain to your mind and heart what is the essence and direction of Mr. Graham's ministry. His many books, sermons, and articles from over 50 years of evangelistic ministry are also available to confirm for others his adherence to the Gospel message. We recognize that our world is full of "false teachers." Mr. Graham would be among the first to take a stand against anything that would threaten to weaken or discredit the truth of the Gospel. His earnest desire and life commitment has been, and is, to present the Gospel clearly and accurately. Be assured that Mr. Graham's heart is fixed on this one purpose. We know that, as the Lord gives him strength, Mr. Graham intends to continue to call all men and women to come to the foot of the cross and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Jamie M. Adams (pw)
Administrative Services
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

J♥Yce Burrows said...

The following link is not a site endorsement but rather includes comments and associations over many years that can be futher researched by those of interest.

~Mark ~ you might be interested in this search on general revelation vs. special revelation.

Steve, I am grateful for your continual elevation of Truth. ♥

J♥Yce Burrows said...

The 2nd link didn't fully copy and paste for me so sharing in a clickable format.

Click here

Jade said...

Thanks Laura, for sharing the letter that "The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association" gave to excuse Billy Graham's comments. But does anyone know what Schuller's excuse was? He agreed with Billy Graham's universal comment! Were they both loosing their mind? Just wondering ....

Psalm said...

Everyday I find myself completely amazed by the things Christians say. Apparently many of you are authorities about things you certainly do not know!!!!! Who are you that The one and ONLY God must serve your whims?? You know for fact that God has no power to speak to those who have never seen a bible or listened to a sermon???? I find it hard to believe that one who profess Gods unlimited power, and yet honestly believes HE can not speak in ways you can not hear, understand or detect, to people you will never meet, can say these things..... I can slow down for a few minutes from my unimportant day and watch a spider weave a web with precision and love that man only wishes he could muster. You will say " that spider did not fall from grace" Well, I would say that spider knows from where it came. Just as a song bird sings to its master throughout its entire life...... You have severely limited Gods power, and misunderstood His Son. You are hung up on the law, and misunderstand its foundation. The law is to be respected, and not used to destroy those who do not conform to your interpretation. Eat there of and you shall surely die, this can be interpreted or accepted at face value. The law is God possession, if you try to apply it upon others, you will find it around your own neck....... Judge not lest you be judged..... What ever Graham was and is, the world was a better place when He traveled and led,,, and you followed. I am so happy I left the south, the largest Payton place on earth.

I think Jesus would see with eyes wide open, and a heart of compassion, something many of the Apostles did not have........................
They know not what they do.

Jade said...

Psalm wrote:
Everyday I find myself completely amazed by the things Christians say.

The same could be said by your statements Psalm. We speak not by our own authority but only by the authority of the Word of God. It might do you some good to go and read about THE ONLY WAY by which God declared it as written in HIS WORD. Read Romans 10.

Psalm said...

Yes indeed, Romans 10 is true, but do you know that Jesus was the resurrection as He stated??

Do you also know,,, that I am a jew? Why?? Because I fly the star of David??? David as Jesus was a jew by Birth, but not by faith. You all read the psalms and quote them quit frequently, are you jews??? I think not.

If you are fooled by an icon on a page, how much easier are you fooled by Satan??

You want to save me because you think I am lost, because you think I am a Jew!!! Natural assumption of course. A star, a Jew.

The truth is, a Jew does not realize that Jesus is the Resurrection, there being the promise fulfilled.

And, a Christian does not believe that the the seed, the root and the tree are one.

Instead the Christian has created a Jesus that they can accept and elevated Him to a place they can not reach. Sounds familiar.

Beware the leaven........