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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

RP: Packer Rejects Universalism and Inclusivism

RP is short for Religious Pluralism - a category of posts at P&P In CT's (Christianity Today) recent issue (October 2005), J.I. Packer wrote an article called "Salvation Sans Jesus" (88). The article is written concerning the document called "The Gospel of Jesus Christ: An Evangelical Celebration" and in particular the section on "Affirmation and Denials." Number four in this section, it says, "The Bible offers no hope that sincere worshipers of other religions will be saved without personal faith in Jesus Christ." Now some of you may be thinking, "Duh. Is this obvious conclusion what makes the news by great Christians scholars?" Well, if you are aware of the landscape of religious pluralism, bombs have been dropped by pluralists, inclusivists, and universalists on the matter that the Bible says that salvation comes only and uniquely in Jesus Christ through explicit saving faith. You would be surprised at the number of theologians (and conservative at that) who have exercised themselves in theological gymnastics to somehow make other ways possible for people to be saved. Sadly enough, even prominent theologians like Millard Erickson have faltered and failed in remaining faithful and consistent regarding the aforementioned quote. To have Packer make this article is HUGE, for those seeking any opportunity to discredit exclusivists/particularlists/restrictivists (all the same thing) will jump on anyone who gives any tendency or uncertainty on this matter (take John Stott for example). This short article is a clarion call to remain true to Scripture solely and refuse to cater to the culture or correctness of the day. Packer calls universalism and inclusivism arightly, calling them "speculations" and emphatically describes them as "judged failures." Universalism (chiefly promoted by Neal Punt) is the belief that eventually God will bring everyone to "share in the inheritance of Christ" through effective post-mortem evangelism of unbelievers on earth. Inclusivism (chiefly promoted recently by Clark Pinnock and John Sanders) says that other religions can be vehicles of salvation for people who never hear of Jesus Christ, but "finally" are included because of sincerity and positive responsivity to general revelation. Of course, these definitions are not really adequate, but they give you a glimpse of what they are about. In the future, I will be explaining each position specifically. In conclusion, Packer says, "The New Testament only speaks of penitents being saved through knowing about, and coming to trust, the crucified and risen Lord" (emphasis mine). Neither Jesus nor the Apostles were bluffing when they called sinners to repent and turn to Christ in faith. And neither should we. In stead of a bluff, we simply need to stick to the stuff.

3 Comments:

Blogger Jeff said...

Here! Here!
I recently heard a speach given by William Lane Craig (who I otherwise respect greatly) discussing the unevangelized heathen. He said that someone can, in theory, be saved BY CHRIST, without knowing of Him...
Wow!
Now it would be altogether different if he were trying to say that a person is saved FROM their sin...and that if a person were sinless they would make it to heaven (an important theoretical situation...we must clarify that people are condemned for their sins, not for being unaware of Christ per se). But he didn't say this, he was indicating that some could be saved from their sins by Christ's atonement apart from knowing Him, simply by being so sincerely seeking.
Well, I think we need to call it what it is. It's heresy.

9/28/2005 10:50:00 AM

 
Blogger Timmy said...

Jeff,

I have not kept up too much with William Lane Craig as of late, but you are correct that he is very controversial. While I have enjoyed reading his development of middle knowledge/possible worlds, I have many questions about him. He has written an article called "Politically Incorrect Salvation" (which I assume you could find on the Internet if you Google it.
There are a lot of buzz words and loaded phrases which need to be parsed and put in correct light in this matter. One for sure is "the finality of Christ." It sounds good, but is nothing more than a slap in the face to the supremacy and sovereignty of Jesus Christ. It is the blend of the inclusivist axioms of universality and particularity, where salvation is going to come to many more people through many other means (hence wider hope/generous orthodoxy, etc.) but eventually end up under Christ. It is bogus, unbiblical, and bad reasoning.
If you have audio of the speech by Craig, I would love to listen to it. It seems that he is following some of the logic of Karl Rahner and the "anonymous Christian".

9/28/2005 03:18:00 PM

 
Anonymous Neal Punt said...

In your Pro & Pant column of Sept. 28, 2005 you say:
"Universalism (chiefly promoted by Neal Punt) is the belief that eventually God will bring everyone to "share in the inheritance of Christ" through effective post-mortem evangelism of unbelievers on earth. Inclusivism (chiefly promoted recently by Clark Pinnock and John Sanders) says that other religions can be vehicles of salvation for people who never hear of Jesus Christ, but "finally" are included because of sincerity and positive responsivity to general revelation. Of course, these definitions are not really adequate, but they give you a glimpse of what they are about. In the future, I will be explaining each position specifically."

I have never advocaed "Universalism" as you claim. My position is similar to that of both Clark Pinnock's and John Sanders'"Inclusivism." In fact, it was after reading my books that Pinnock and Sanders publicly adopted their positions of "Inclusivism." I substantiate this claim in Posting #13 "The Beginnings of Dr. clark Pinnock’s Inclusivism" on my website www.BiblicalUniversalism.com.

You may wish to correct the above error.

Blessings, Cordially Neal

2/17/2006 09:39:00 PM

 

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