Inclusivism (More Than “General Revelation”)

[ This is a portion of a short critique I had to provide as part of coursework for Liberty University. ]

Although inclusivism is mistaken in believing that (with Christ’s sacrifice on the cross) general revelation is “enough,” it is correct in holding that specific knowledge of Christ’s work is not a requirement for salvation. Scripture shows the only prerequisite is faith, that some outside “the fold” keep the Law in their hearts, that God is actively looking at everyone’s hearts, and that He is never dependent on others to accomplish His will (and that He desires all be saved).

If entering heaven requires specific knowledge of Jesus, then Hebrew 11’s list of Old Testament saints is illogical—there is no way they could have confessed Christ’s name. Instead, we are saved by faith (see Eph. 2:8; Rom. 3:23-25; 30-31; 4:16; Heb. 11), and it is that faith that appropriates Jesus’ work on the cross, not knowledge of that work. When it comes to those ignorant of a Judeo-Christian God, Romans 2:14 says that there are Gentiles who do not have “have the law” but, “by nature do what the law requires” (ESV). Verse 13 ties this to being “justified” and verses 14 and 15 note that “their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when…God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus”; (emphasis mine). These Gentiles are saved without even having an Old Testament faith.

How do the unreached get faith that is acceptable to God? God searches and tests hearts and minds (1 Chr. 28:9; Ps. 7:9; Prov. 17:3; Jer. 11:20; 17:10; Rom. 8:27; 1 Thes. 2:4, Rev. 2:23). The Lord is doing a special work on everyone’s heart (1 Chr. 28:9; Jer. 17:10)—a work beyond His witness in general revelation.

Finally, God has never been dependent on anyone (or anything) to accomplish His will (see Isa. 55:11; Num. 23:19; Eze. 12:25; and Isa. 46:10). There is never any question whether God will do what He intends, and He desires all people be saved (1 Tim. 2:4). Salvation dependent on human efforts implicitly denies the Lord’s omnipotence.

God does not need man. He will find a way for those who will have faith to have faith.

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Alan is an ordinary guy, living in a small, high plains Colorado town...and humbled to be a minister of God...

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