Inclusivism Exposed

Bible-candle-light-reading-1439638-mLast year I addressed a false teaching that seems to have gained some traction among Evangelical Christians—inclusivism. As a reminder, that view rethinks salvation, so “while no one is saved apart from the redemptive work of Jesus, it is not necessary either to know about the gospel or to believe in Jesus for salvation.” (See “The Way Of Salvation” and “The Way Of Salvation: An Addendum”).

Since then I’ve been mindful of the numerous places in Scripture that refute the concept that someone could love God and seek to know Him but remain ignorant of the gospel. In those earlier posts, I stated that such an idea was inconsistent with God’s character, and I cited in discussion comments, at least, that James lays out God’s promise to draw near to those who draw near to Him.

In other words, God is not going to let someone who wants to know Him floundering in the dark. Believing this, I have still been surprised at the host of passages that make clear God’s promise to rush to those who choose Him.

I started with Proverbs 2:

For if you cry for discernment,
Lift your voice for understanding;
If you seek her as silver
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will discern the fear of the LORD
And discover the knowledge of God. (vv 3-5)

If you look, then you’ll discover. In reality, then, there are no hosts of pagans or Muslims or any other religion loving God and wanting to know Him but remaining ignorant of Jesus. How could there be? Each of those would put the lie to this passage.

Or how about this in Jeremiah:

‘I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.’ (24:7)

Some people might quibble that this verse is addressing Jews returning to Israel after the exile. That’s true, certainly, but all Scripture is for our profit, and the passage refers to “My people.” God’s promise would seem to be for His people regardless of place and time—He will give us a heart to know Him.

Here’s another one. Jesus said this, recorded both in Matthew and Luke:

“All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” (Matt. 11:27)

I don’t know how much clearer Christ could be: The Son reveals God the Father; He’s the only One who knows the Father and it would stay like that unless He disclosed Him to us.

There’s more:

“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3)

Eternal life is conditioned on knowing: knowing God and knowing Jesus Christ.

John repeats this truth in his first letter:

And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. (1 John 5:20)

Understanding from the Son lets us know that He is true, that were are in Jesus and that being in Jesus is what eternal life means. In fact, “This is the true God.” Any concept of God apart from Jesus is false.

Sincere Buddhists or pagans or Hindus are not saved. We might as well say sincere atheists are saved.

It’s actually cruel to suggest that someone who is separated from God by his sin is doing just fine by sacrificing his chicken on a high place outside his village in the sincerity of his heart, desiring to know God; or that by sincerely working toward enlightenment, he’ll actually be saved.

That’s like telling someone he isn’t going to die. Well, no actually he will die because we all face death, unless we’re caught up with Christ when He returns. Meanwhile, the person thinking he isn’t going to die, is living as if he isn’t going to die. He’s not taking care of his health or making a will or doing anything to prepare spiritually for life after death. By believing a lie, he’s neglecting what he needs.

Anyone without Christ needs to get that message—Christ shows us who God is; Christ is the door to eternal life. Inclusivism is nothing more than a human invention at best, and a demonic one at worst. It’s a lie, and telling dying people lies is cruel when what they need is saving truth.

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Published in: on January 28, 2015 at 6:18 pm  Comments (5)  
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5 Comments

  1. Becky

    Great post. You know, it’s true that if somebody, anybody, anywhere is truly seeking to know HIm..He will find a person to share the gospel with him. I used Rahab as and example of that in a post I did. Think about it..that whole city knew all about the advancing Israelites They all had a head knowledge of HIm. But did you ever wonder why the spies went to her house and not somebody else’s? I think it is because she was truly seeking. And God sent those men directly to her.

    Of of our churches actually has a mission in Mongolia…Fellow just felt called to go to Mongolia of all places. Really? Why would that happen if not God needing a man to go find that person in Mongolia who was seeking HIm?

    Another great post Becky, thanks.

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  2. You really shine when you do stuff like this Rebecca. Very good indeed. I remember that conversation last year. .You ladies handled that situation splendidly. Left me without much to say. (and THAT takes some doing 😉 )

    Inclusivism has a few proponents in history, but it is absolutely void of scriptural support. There is no such thing as a clandestine Christian who finds out they are one when they die.

    Don’t forget Romans 10.

    8-But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9-because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10-For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11-For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12-For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13-For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

    14-How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?c And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15-And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16-But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17-So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

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  3. We have many Croatians in this area of Texas. I have heard numerous testimonies of dreams they have had in which Jesus told them to come to America so they could find a relationship with God. They never heard the name of Jesus before their dream! It’s fascinating to see how he works in countries where missionaries are not allowed. His Spirit knows no boundaries! However, it is still only through Christ that they come into relationship!

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    • I love that! God makes a way, even through dreams!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Timely post…

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