|About the Book|
There are those who will be saved and those who will be lost. The traditional Christian perspective teaches us to place the entire human race among those who will be lost unless we have reason to think differently about some people. This assumption is so basic, so commonly held, so well accepted that it seems insolent to even question it.Which of the following two reflects the message of ScriptureA. All persons will be finally lost except those who the Bible declares will be saved.B. All persons will be saved except those who the Bible declares will be finally lost.Premises A and B are prescriptions for the eyeglasses we choose to wear. The question is which of these two premises (A or B) is the biblical prescription? B poses many questions.This book is intended to overcome the problem of having never-ending questions blot out the evidence there may be for adopting premise B. Here I must ask for the indulgence of the reader. Please hold your questions in abeyance until after the first four chapters of this book have been read and seriously considered. Do this even though your questions may be pressing for immediate answers! The reward for doing so will be that all the remaining chapters of the book need not be read in sequence.View the remaining chapters as a buffet waiting to be tasted at your leisure. They are a smorgasbord of thoughts, each waiting to respond to your particular and oftentimes very urgent questions. Your questions can be answered by consulting the extensive textual and topical indexes found in the back of the book.EVANGELICAL INCLUSIVISM is the teaching that all persons are elect in Christ except those who the Bible expressly declares will be finally lost, namely, those who ultimately reject or remain indifferent to whatever revelation God has given of himself to them, whether in nature/conscience (Rom. 1 & 2) or in gospel presentation.Evangelical Inclusivism is based upon these four biblical facts:1.The so-called universalistic texts speak of a certain-to-be-realized salvation as Calvinists have consistently maintained, and they do so in terms of all persons as Arminians have always affirmed (see Chapter 1).2. All persons, except Jesus Christ, are liable for and polluted by the imputed sin of Adam (inherited sin). However, the Scriptures neither teach nor imply that anyone is consigned to eternal damnation solely on the basis of their sin in Adam apart from actual, willful, and persistent sin on the part of the person so consigned (see Chapter 2).3.We must accept the so-called universalistic texts as written. We may allow only those exceptions that are necessarily imposed upon these passages from the broader context of the Scriptures as a whole (see Chapter 3).4. Jesus saved sinners, once for all, by making the supreme sacrifice 2,000 years ago. We speak of this as objective salvation. The Bible means something altogether different when it says that Paul set out to save some (1 Cor. 9:22). The Holy Spirit saves sinners by using human agents to bring the gospel to them. We refer to this as subjective salvation. A great amount of confusion results when this distinction is lost sight of (see Chapter 4).The late J. Robert Spangler, editor of Ministry Magazine, said this about my previous book: I carefully read your book, Whats Good About the Good News? I must confess it has done something for my heart and my attitude toward the whole human race. He was moved by the scriptural principles found in that book. These same principles form the basis of this study. May those who study this volume undergo a similar experience.