Inclusivism; the Gospel at stake

As we watch the changes taking place in the world and the church there are escalating dangers entering the church that people are not aware of or equipped to rebut. I’m referring to inclusivism which can be spoke of as the younger sister of Universalism/ interfaith.

I’m sure people get disturbed to hear it as such but that’s the truth. After all, Inclusivist’s have there own clichés for exclusivists, whom they think are so Bible fundamental that Jesus’ teachings have blinded them.

Christ commanded, not suggested for believers to go preach the Gospel message to people everywhere (Matt. 28:19-20), make them disciples by teaching them. Paul said in Rom.10:14-17. How will people believe unless someone is sent to speak, for them to hear the Gospel message?

According to inclusivists it’s not as imperative as we have thought, after all people can be saved by God’s grace Alone, without faith in the Gospel.

“Christian Inclusivists” point to the work of Christ as the only means of salvation. But it does not uphold that knowledge of Christ with the response of faith as a necessity for one to be saved. Inclusivism believes that general revelation can be salvific. Therefore, one does not need to pursue knowledge of the gospel as man responds to the light given.

Inclusivist’s do not see the gospel as a message of necessity for salvation; their nemesis, exclusivists do. They see people saved by some other means but they still attribute it all to Jesus’ atonement (like universalists do in this manner). Some even claim people having faith in God is sufficient, it is the same as having faith in Christ (disregarding what the Son of God specifically did on the cross.) Maybe you have heard statements from the pulpit or even from evangelists that say this. The Roman Catholics believe the sacraments give one grace and that God is working among all religions by his grace.

What would the Devil use if he wanted to stop people from being saved from their sins, going to heaven? Would he want to prevent them from becoming believers in Christ and follow Jesus, would he deter them from a message  that will improve their own lives, prevent others them from telling the gospel to them? Would he not want to have people think they are okay with God by doing the least possible, and obscure Jesus as THE WAY; The ONLY way?

The abused scripture

Romans 1 and 2 are often misused by inclusivists who have a very different interpretation of the Scripture.

Romans 1 does say they once knew God but one must read in context to discover the end of the matter. And one must also but this alongside the same author (and others) who give definitive statements such as the Gentiles do not know God.

The Jews in the Old Testament were a theocracy and cannot be just an example of the other nations. All other nations, cultures, religions were in unbelief, having not believed in the true God, whom calls himself specifically “the God of Israel.”

To Israel alone were delivered the law promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, the covenants and the ordinances. All signifying Christ who was to come. Paul says these were a tutor, their sins were covered until faith came. For the time, their practicing Judaism that was given by God was efficacious.

They were the elect in faith for the promised Messiah (Heb.11:13), when He came they would have full remission of sins, and salvation.

Rom.2 the "law" is special revelation revealed to Moses. One cannot take the position "those who have sinned without the law" will be saved, or "included" with those who have special revelation. For Paul states that Rom 2:11-13 For there is no partiality with God. For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified”

Both - those with the law and those without the law - perish.

Paul then explains to us that non Jews were never given the law of God, it was given to Moses and a certain people whom God led out of bondage from Egypt, the Hebrews. Rom. 2:14-15 “for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)”

In other words man was made in the image of God and has an innate understanding of what is right and wrong which the written law explains.

Romans 1 and 2 continue to Paul’s summation in Romans 3, all men are in the same dangerous position as sinners to be judged.  As John the baptizer even warned the Jewish leaders of the wrath to come, unless they repent. It is the same command Paul gave to the Gentiles in Acts 17, that all men everywhere must repent and believe the gospel of Christ.

And that it is the church’s duty and privilege: to deliver the gospel to them for the sake of saving their souls.  The church has not been commissioned to figure out the mind of God or eternal destiny of each individual man.  The church’s commission is to go and preach the gospel to all men, baptizing them and teaching them the words of Jesus (Matt. 28:28). To proclaim Jesus is the way, the only way to God (the Father).

The true believer accepts and believes that the death Christ in His death makes the only difference between being saved and lost, and they submit to it. Universal atonement advocates believe Christ's righteous act made salvation possible to all and is given to all without faith as a response, therefore everyone benefits.

The universal atonement teaching (by grace alone – without faith) confuses whose righteousness demands and ensures salvation. They are ignorant of the Biblical Christ who is the end of the Law for righteousness. They do not understand or regard the sinfulness of man and the righteousness of Christ. The Bible explains in great detail what one must do to be saved (have forgiveness of sins). Its is by the hearing of the gospel message, exercising faith (trust in the person of God who did the work).

Universal atonement advocates in vain presuppose that he, in his own works helped fulfill all righteousness, meriting everlasting life. He cannot believe that Christ alone fulfilled all righteousness, because if he did, he would understand that this righteousness of Christ must be imputed to the sinner for their salvation (Romans 5:15-19).

Being submitted to the righteousness of God means that that Christ's perfect obedience in life and death satisfied the demands of God's law and justice. God the Father that He was pleased with Christ's atonement (His blood shed and death) because of His righteousness and raised Him from the dead. As a perfect representative for man his Substitution for all sinners would be freely given eternal life by trusting in Him (Romans 6:23). It sis only by Christ's substitutionary death and resurrection that everyone “who believes” will be given a new spiritual life and raised to life physically. All those for whom Christ died will certainly be given life (Romans 6:3-5). His righteousness is imputed ONLY to those regenerated (Ephesians 2:5-10).

In Romans 10:1-4, the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul writes of those who do not know about nor believe this righteousness of God that is revealed in Christ, in the gospel are unregenerate. Using the ones who received the law, they are zealous in religion, but they are lacking knowledge which leads them to faith. Without this specific knowledge, then you are lost.

If you believe that Jesus Christ died for everyone and they are saved without faith - by grace alone, You are ignorant of the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel. God is a justifier BY FAITH, YOU ARE TRYING TO BE ACCEPTED BY YOUR OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS, YOU are coming to God another way.

As Paul makes these qualifications Rom 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” Gal. 2:16 "knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ” Gal 3:11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for "the just shall live by faith."

Gal 3:24-26 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”

Rom 5:1-2 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

Although grace has appeared to all men it is by believing, through faith that one is actually saved.

Rom 3:21-22 “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.

To the Inclusivist, Jesus is not the way to the Father but the author of the way, by grace alone. In other words one does not need to willfully acknowledge His death and resurrection for their sinfulness, only god (whomever that is to them) as they know it by general revelation.

Phil 3:9 “and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” Paul is consistent in his message as he articulates the how. It is not by being a good person, keeping the law but having faith in the righteous one who died for our sins.

Inclusivists teach, there are anonymous Christians in the world, in other religions. This mostly comes from Roman Catholic teaching. Inclusivism is the liberal view of judgment and salvation.  It acknowledges that there is no salvation apart from the work of Christ, Yet adheres to those who never heard are as safe and secure as those who have.

The Inclusivist’s are denying that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:17). They deny our part in giving the message Romans 10:1-4.

They teach persons do not need to believe the gospel, the righteousness of God is automatic to the sinner because of grace (Romans 3:21). They are ignorant of the sin and this righteousness in Christ are saved persons. They ameliorate the concept of Christs death and in so doing become impervious to the truth of their condition (and others) and offer the panacea of grace by itself as the remedy for all to be assured. A half - truth which is a lie.

Inclusivist’s diminish the need of missions and evangelism because they see those who never heard but believe in a god (whomever the god of their culture is) as being safe in the true God, just as safe as those who have heard and accepted the gospel. This ignores the imperative of the gospel being heard and received. If inclusivism is true, then we have no need to teach the gospel. But it clearly contradicts the Great Commission Jesus spoke as his last instructions to those who followed Him.

Christ cannot to save a person who cannot admit to having sinned, their need for mercy, or forgiveness by acknowledging they have offended God in so many ways. Their trust must be in the God of the Bible, the one who was the substitute for THEIR sin, Jesus of Nazareth.  To believe all who have never heard the gospel will be saved without being evangelized is one of the greater deceptions in our day, maybe in history. Then specific knowledge of Christ becomes a useless matter with no benefit.

Paul is our missionary, evangelist example, an apostle said those who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent." (Romans 10:13-15) Notice Paul's qualifications: "calling on", "believing in", "hearing about", "preaching to", and "being sent." The Gospel is heard so that one can believe.

They make the exclusivists a derogatory title; but we are Biblical inclusivists. Biblically speaking, we believe anyone from any religion or non religion can be saved if the gospel is presented, if the recipient understands the position he is in, that the cure is only found in what Jesus did, and they willfully believe it. Anyone can be saved by the gospel message. The offer of the gospel is inclusive. Christ calls all people everywhere to repent. Forgiveness in Jesus Christ is made available for all be believing in the gospel.

Exclusivists insist there must be an explicit response to the hearing of the gospel (repentance - faith) to receive salvation, to receive the forgiveness of sins, Inclusivists do not.

They ignore the clear teachings about the need for faith in Christ for our justification. That no one is saved by grace alone but grace through faith. Christ said to believe in him to have eternal life, with their promotion of grace alone this command is voided.

Sin darkens man’s understanding of general revelation. They need the light of special revelation (therefore, they are not “safe” without the gospel).  But he leaves open the possibility of salvation in the same way that Old Testament believers were saved by grace alone in faith in God as their sole savior alone, but without explicit faith in Christ as their substitute.    The appeal to many is to think God is far more loving and far more merciful (it is often called the wider mercy doctrine) than we can imagine. Exclusivism is said to harm this. Yet the word of God is the truth and we all need to submit to its communication in context and as a whole, not piecemeal portions. Church goers may feel better, have relief when they adopt inclusivism. It lets them off the hook of obeying Christ’s command, which is an imperative. Their conscience is not actively affected in taking part in fulfilling the Great Commission. It gives an excuse to those who do nothing with Christ that all is well. Want to see a dying church, find one inactive in evangelism and discipling people to grow in the grace and knowledge of their faith. The cure, they need to become evangelical.

Those who don’t profess faith in the only Son of God cannot become part of His body, the church. They may attend it and do good but they are not part of his spiritual body of which he is the head.

We can’t depend on the opinions of men. It should matter little to you what Calvin, Packer, Pinnock or Richardson say, what matters is what God said – consistently, in context. The scripture must be read, if we are to have any agreement it is must be with scripture. God is indeed merciful and He has chosen us to deliver the message of Christ to them.

If YOU believe that "Christ" died for those already in hades, that one day they will have choice, then you do not believe in the true Christ. If you believe that Jesus died for everyone and his death is applied even without faith, then you do not believe that it is Christ's work alone that makes the difference of possessing salvation. Instead, you are seeking salvation by your own righteousness. Then it is by your own effort that is your righteousness, and God will not accept that. He will only accept what the perfect man did (God the Son in man 2 Cor. 5:19).

If you think what you do, or you keep (the law) entitles you access to heaven then you are depending on your righteousness. You lack true knowledge (Romans 10:2). You need to repent of your self dependence and works, believe the gospel in where the righteousness of God is revealed.

Eph. 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” Christ is the gift that God gave, we must put our trust in HIM.

If You are a universal atonement advocate, or an Inclusivist, you need to repent of your unbelief of the word, and believe the gospel in which the righteousness of God is revealed through the person and work of Jesus Christ.


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