The Possibility of Salvation among the Unevangelised: An Analysis of Inclusivism in Recent Evangelical Theology

Overview

In the area of systematics known as the "theology of religions," those who affirm the particularity of Christ in terms of truth, revelation, and salvation, have always had to deal with the problem of the unevangelized: those who have never heard of Christ through no fault of their own. For evangelical theologians this issue impinges on fundamental tenets of evangelical identity.

Recently the fate of the unevangelized has received detailed attention from evangelicals, and has ...

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Overview

In the area of systematics known as the "theology of religions," those who affirm the particularity of Christ in terms of truth, revelation, and salvation, have always had to deal with the problem of the unevangelized: those who have never heard of Christ through no fault of their own. For evangelical theologians this issue impinges on fundamental tenets of evangelical identity.

Recently the fate of the unevangelized has received detailed attention from evangelicals, and has been fiercely debated because of the wider doctrinal issues it raises. The position known as "inclusivism" has been most fully developed by Clark H. Pinnock, an influential and controversial evangelical theologian, known as being the leading spokesman of Arminianism and a new theistic paradigm entitled the "trinitarian openness of God." Through a detailed analysis and critique of his work, this book examines a cluster of issues surrounding the unevangelized and its implications for Christology, soteriology, and evangelical identity.

About the Author:
Daniel Strange is Friends of Oak Hill Lecturer in Culture, Religion and Public Theology at Oak Hill College in London

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Daniel Strange is Friends of Oak Hill Lecturer in Culture, Religion and Public Theology at Oak Hill College in London.

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Table of Contents


Foreword     xv
Acknowledgments     xvii
Preface     xix
The Question of the Unevangelised in Recent Evangelical Theology     1
Evangelicals and the Question of the Unevangelised: Establishing Working Definitions and Parameters of Study     3
Evangelicalism and Three Strands of Evangelicalism     3
Towards a Working Definition
Three Strands of Evangelical Theology
The Reformed/Calvinist Tradition
The Arminian Tradition
Postconservative Evangelical Theology
Defining 'Pluralism' and the 'Theology of Religions'     14
The Question of the Unevangelised in Recent Evangelical Theology     16
Introduction: The Impact of Religious Pluralism on Evangelical Theology
The Question of the Unevangelised: the Current State of the Issue
A Theological Tension
An Orthodox Evangelical 'Position'?
The Organic Nature of Doctrine
Evangelical Parameters of Study on the Question of the Unevangelised
Towards a Working Definition of the Unevangelised and Inclusivism     32
Delineating 'the Unevangelised'
Defining Inclusivism
The 'Pneumatological Inclusivism' of Clark H. Pinnock     41
An Introduction to the Thought of Clark H. Pinnock     42
Introduction     42
Reasons for Study
Methodology
A Synopsis of Part 2
Theological Presuppositions: Pinnock on the Nature of Freedom and Trinitarian Openness     47
Pinnock's Pilgrimage Concerning the Nature of Freedom
Pinnock's Espousal of 'Trinitarian Openness' and his New
Understanding of Divine Sovereignty
Two Foundational Axioms: Universality and Particularity     56
The Scope of God's Salvific Will and an Optimism in Salvation     57
Universality and Biblical Revelation
Universality and Western Theology
Universality and the Doctrine of the Trinity
The Finality of Jesus Christ: Universality through a Particular Act of Representation     67
The Person of Christ
Models of Incarnation and Kenosis
A 'Spirit Enriched' Christology
The Work of Christ
The Rejection of Penal Substitution and the Search for a New Model of Atonement
Recapitulation and the Role of the Spirit in Atonement
Summary     83
The 'Cosmic Covenant': God's Universal Saving Presence     85
From Universality to the Principle of Universal Accessibility     86
The Spirit and Creation
The Spirit and Prevenient Grace
A Wesleyan Understanding of Prevenient Grace
Pinnock's Understanding of Prevenient Grace
Prevenient Grace and the 'Supernatural Existential'
The Spirit and Christ
Christology from the Perspective of Pneumatology
The Rejection of the Filioque
'The Cosmic Covenant': Humanity's Free Response to God through the 'Faith Principle'     108
Introduction     108
The Cognitive 'Faith Principle'     110
The Analogy with Premessianic Believers
The Nature and Efficacy of General Revelation
The Nature of Faith in the 'Faith Principle'
The Ethical 'Faith Principle'     116
Excursus: An Outline of Pinnock's 'Theology of Religions'
Pinnock's 'Theology of Religions' and the Ethical 'Faith Principle
Discerning the Spirit
Motivation for Missions, the Post-Mortem Encounter with Christ and Related Issues     127
Motivation for Missions
The Rejection of the Gospel by 'Not-Yet Christians'
The Post-Mortem Encounter with Christ
The Analogy of Children who Die in Infancy and the Mentally
Incompetent
An Analysis and Critique of Clark H. Pinnock's 'Pneumatological Inclusivism'     137
The Covenant, Christ, and Confession of Christ: A Redemptive-Historical Critique of Pinnock's Inclusivism     139
Introduction: Aims and Objectives     139
Setting Out an Evangelical Theological Framework     140
Sola Scriptura
Towards an Evangelical Framework
A Redemptive-Historical Approach
An Outline for Chapters 6-9
Introduction: Approaching the Biblical Texts on these Issues     142
Dispensationalism     153
Covenant Theology     155
Outlining Covenant Theology
Defining Covenant
Unity and Diversity within the Covenantal Structure
Continuity
Discontinuity
Pre-Messianic Believers and the Nature of Saving Faith: Issues of Unity/Continuity     163
The Israelite Confession of Christ
The Analogy with 'Holy Pagans'
The Salvation of Ante-Diluvian Saints
The Use of Yahweh ('Lord') in the Patriarchal Narratives
The Noahic Covenant
Genealogical Succession and the Concepts of 'Pruning' and 'Ingrafting'
The Case of Melchizedek in Gen. 14:18-24
Post-Messianic Believers and the Nature of Saving Faith: Issues of Discontinuity/Diversity     189
The Preparatory Nature of the Old Testament
No Other Name?
The Case of Cornelius in Acts 10
Conclusion     197
Universality, Particularity and Incarnation: A Christological Critique of Pinnock's Inclusivism     199
Universality, Particularity and the Person of Christ     199
Problems Concerning Christ's 'Derivative Uniqueness'
Problems Concerning 'Spirit-enriched' Christology and Kenosis
Universality, Particularity and the Work of Christ     206
Understanding Pinnock's Model of Atonement
Understanding the 'Penal Substitution' Model of Atonement
The Spirit's Role in Atonement as Regards the Unevangelised
Summary     224
The Spirit and Son in the Accomplishment and Application of Redemption: A (Binitarian) Trinitarian Critique of Clark Pinnock's Inclusivism     226
Spirit and Son in the Historia Salutis and the Accomplishment of Redemption     226
Three Fundamental Trinitarian Truths: Homoousios, Autotheos, and Perichoresis
The Filioque
A Functional Economy: The Glorification of the Son by the Spirit
Word and Spirit in Creation
Word and Spirit in Re-Creation
The Spirit and Word Agraphon and Engraphon: Pinnock's Inclusivism and Sola Scriptura
Spirit and Word in the Ordo Salutis and the Application of Redemption     256
Salvation as Union with Christ
The Centrality of Justification by Faith
Summary     263
The Universality Axiom and the 'Problem' of the Unevangelised     265
The Universality of Sin     266
Two Different Harmatologies
Defining 'good'
An Optimism in Salvation?
Understanding the Wider Context     274
Relating Universal Accessibility to a Universal Salvific Will and a Universal Atonement
The Case for an Effective and Particular Atonement
The 'Problem' of the Unevangelised?
Concluding Remarks     286
Assessing Pinnock's Inclusivism
Towards an Evangelical 'Theology of Religions: Tasks and Topics Ahead
The Universality of Mission
Evangelical Responses to the Fate of the Unevangelised     294
Introduction     294
John Sanders' Typology of Evangelical Responses on the Fate of the Unevangelised     297
A Typology and Description of Evangelical Responses on the Fate of the Unevangelised     304
Positions of Particular Accessibility
Theme: Reformed 'Hard' Restrictivism
Reformed 'Agnostic' Restrictivism
Reformed 'Soft' Restrictivism
John Piper's Reformed Preparatio Evangelica
The Implicit-Faith View: 'Soft' Inclusivism/ 'Opaque' Exclusivism
Excursus: Particularity and Parsimony in Salvation
Non-Reformed Restrictivism
Positions of Universal Accessibility
Post-Mortem Evangelism / Divine Perseverance
Middle Knowledge
Middle Knowledge and Universally Accessible Salvation
Middle Knowledge and the Fairness of God
Positive Agnosticism
Bibliography     332
Index     351
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