Jesus Creed

Adam Hamilton asks if there will be Hindus in heaven in the 12th chp of his book, Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White: Thoughts on Religion, Morality, and Politics. He opens this chapter with a widely-known (at the time) statement by arch-evangelical John Stott who said he’d never been able to conjure up the appalling vision of the inevitable perishing of millions who have never heard. Between the opposite poles of a radical exclusivism and a radical universalism, Stott hopes “that the majority of the human race will be saved.” And Stott believes: “I have a solid biblical basis for this belief.”

There are two poles of thinking here: the radical universalist who thinks all, or at least almost all, will be saved; the radical exclusivist who thinks only those who have consciously responded to the call of grace by responding to the gospel about Jesus Christ (at the conscious level).

He knows that most liberals and most conservatives have some shade of gray — that is, some kind of “inclusivism.” That is, that God “includes” those who have responded to the light they have perceived.

His defense of inclusivism includes these points:

1. Inclusivism, in contrast to universalism, allows that some will not respond and God will not force them. In other words, as he shows in his next chp, Hamilton believes in hell — the place where folks who want nothing to do with God’s will dwell.
2. Inclusivism believes that God’s atoning work for all humans is in Christ.
3. Inclusivism affirms that all salvation is by faith and not by works — it is not about how good we have been.
4. Inclusivism affirms that in God’s mercy, some will be saved who did not know Christ and who never heard of Christ.

That is, Adam Hamilton concludes with this: “I do not believe he is a God who sends billions who love him and trust him, but did not understand the truth of the gospel, to eternity in hell” (109). God, because God is God, can apply the saving merits of Christ to whomever God chooses.

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