Summary: When the question is asked, “Will people in other religions eventually be saved by Christ? How do we respond? Learn how to give a strong defense of the truth.
Can you visualize in your mind…a woman in a third world country is living in horrible conditions and her two sons cling to life because of the curse of AIDS. Her husband has been killed because of their countries civil war that has lasted for decades. After months of unbearable suffering because of disease, she and her sons die…only to trade one place of hell for another.
In a scenario like this, does it raise questions about the love and justice of God? Some would say that it doesn’t seem fair to that young woman and her family!
An article that I recently clipped out of the Sacramento Bee was entitled, “Theologians Opening Heaven’s Gate A Bit Wider” stated, “Both catholic and Protestant theologians are denouncing the outdated notion that eternal salvation is limited to those who believe in Christ.”
The argument is: if God really loves the whole world, He could not possibly limit salvation to just those who were blessed to be born in a different place on earth and at a different time.
What about those who have never heard the gospel, never read a Bible or stepped foot into a church, do they get to go to heaven? How do we answer this question with compassion?
Well it starts with an open mind and our preconceived ideas thrown to the side so we can deal honestly with this subject!
John Stott said, “If we come to the scriptures with our minds made up, expecting to hear from it only an echo of our own thoughts and never the thunder clap of God, then He will not speak to us and we shall only be confirmed in our own prejudices. We must allow the Word of God to confront us, to disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought….”
To answer the tough questions we must ask and answer
4 other questions:
1. Is Jesus The Only Hope For Salvation?
Several weeks ago we addressed this question…and we came to the conclusion that Christ is the only way based on the Bible’s reliability, integrity, authority and it’s reality.
John 14:6 “I am the truth, the life and the way, no one gets to the Father except by me.” Notice Jesus puts truth first!
Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
But wait, what about the O.T. folks, were they saved the same as we are? Abraham is a great example found in Romans that shows he was saved by faith in God! You could say that they were saved on “credit”, that is God overlooked their sins until Christ would die for their sins!
Romans 3:25 “…In His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed.”
“Forbearance” = to hold back. Literally God reserved His judgment starting with Adam and Eve until Christ!
Just as we enjoy a new car now and yet we finish paying for it years later! Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, David, Moses, Joshua, Daniel and all the others O.T. saints enjoyed the benefit of salvation even though Messiah would come many years after them!
So when the question is asked, “Will people in other religions eventually be saved by Christ? How do we respond?
Current theologians like…John Sanders & Clark Pinnock teach and I quote their book “No Other Name”…“The good and bona fide Hindu is saved by Christ and not by Hinduism, through the message of morality and the good life, through the mysterious person of Christ.”
They believe that other religions are a “schoolmaster” that unknowingly leads them to Jesus.
Where do they get this teaching?
a. The “Later light” theory.
After death the unsaved will be given the opportunity to accept Christ.
There are serous problems with this theology:
· “Preached” “Kerusso”= between His death and soon resurrection, Christ declared or proclaimed it as a finished work! He announced His triumph over death, sin and Satan!
· Lit. Past tense, 3rd person, indicative (already done)Key: the subject is not the spirits repenting, but Jesus’finished work on the cross.
· We have no idea what Jesus said to these souls; either demons or sinners.
· If demons, there is no salvation for them anyway!
· It is stretching the text to say that Jesus is still doing this. (eisigesis vs. exegesis)
· Mormons (baptize for the dead) and Catholics (purgatory) both teach this false doctrine.
b. There is salvation based on God’s foreknowledge.
The argument is that if the person born in a third world country was instead born in America or say Canada, God knows if they would have been saved.
Matthew 11:21,22 is used as one of their proof texts.