Sometime back I did a series on a fine book by Terry Tiessen called Who Can Be Saved?: Reassessing Salvation in Christ and World Religions
. The book is a good one, but it was not easy to blog about. But, Terry has come to us with a question, and I’m hoping we can help him. He wants to know how folks understand the “exclusivist” position when it comes to “who will be saved?” So, let’s try to help get the best definition he can get.
Here’s Terry’s post:
I want to describe the position of gospel exclusivists as accurately as I can. Below is a statement of what I take to be the fundamental principle at work in gospel exclusivism. If you are a gospel exclusivist (i.e. believe that the unevangelized can not be saved) does this correctly state your position? If not, how would you revise it to represent your position more accurately?
If you are not a gospel exclusivist yourself but have friends or colleagues who are gospel exclusivists, I’d be happy to have you run this statement by them for their editorial critique.
Statement of the Gospel Exclusivist Principle
At various points in human history, God revealed himself and his purposes in the world more fully, culminating in the incarnation of God the Son. Everyone has some knowledge of God through divine self-revelation and, in God’s justice, people are judged only according to the revelation they have received. Therefore, no one is condemned for not believing in revelation which they have not received. But, in God’s grace, he only saves people who believe in him according to the most complete revelation that he has given to human beings. At each point in human history, therefore, knowledge of the latest and fullest divine revelation is necessary for saving faith.
Please observe that I am not looking for debate about the validity of gospel exclusivism I simply want to be sure that I represent it accurately when I speak of it.
Thanks for your help,