Beliefnet.com has published an exchange on the exclusivity of the Gospel. Bill Haley, pastor of the Coracle Community in Washington, D.C., argues for an inclusivist position. His argument follows the framework common to almost all inclusivist positions — expressing a vague hope rather than a careful biblical argument.
Take a look at this paragraph: For me, I hold out hope that heaven will be inhabited by those whom my theology won’t easily allow in. While I do believe that it is the forgiving blood of Jesus that is the ticket, I wonder if one has to conscientiously know that it is Jesus’ blood that saves them in order for them to be saved. I wonder about the figures in the Old Testament whom I would expect to see in heaven who, while they certainly didn’t know the name of Jesus, are saved by him. I wonder about how God has been effectually revealed to those of many tongues, tribes, and nations in miraculous ways that don’t require a human messenger. I wonder about verses like 1Timothy 4:11 that speak of the living God, “who is the savior of all people, and especially those who believe.” I assume he meant 1 Timothy 4:10 rather than 4:11. In any event, Paul is not suggesting anything like a universal salvation. Furthermore, the question about Old Testament saints is conclusively answered in Hebrews chapter 11. They were saved through faith in Christ — just like the saints who came after them. They consciously trusted God to be faithful to His promises.
Michael Youssef, pastor of The Church of the Apostles in Atlanta, GA and speaker for Leading the Way, argues for the orthodox position that conscious faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. We are saved only by the grace of God, and salvation is possible because Christ died on the cross to pay the price for your sins and for mine. And praise God He did!, affirms Youssef. Further: While our society continues to evolve, we must remember that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) He does not change. He alone is the way to God the Father, to heaven, to salvation. And nothing we can do or dream up will ever change that. Youssef offers a helpful framework for evaluating today’s various “spiritualities” as well.
R. Albert Mohler Jr.
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