Gospel, Salvation, and Other Religions - Lesson 9


Inclusivism is a theological perspective that holds that people can be saved in a way that is consistent with their own religious beliefs and practices. It has its roots in the early church, and has been adapted and developed over the centuries. In its current form, it offers a robust theology of salvation that is both inclusive and faithful to the biblical message. In practice, inclusivism acknowledges that different religious paths may lead to salvation, and encourages mission work that respects and works with the religions of those being evangelized.

Todd Miles
Gospel, Salvation, and Other Religions
Lesson 9
Watching Now

I. Introduction to Inclusivism

A. What is Inclusivism?

B. History and Development of Inclusivism

C. Theology of Inclusivism

II. Inclusivism in Practice

A. Inclusivism and the Bible

B. Inclusivism and Theology

C. Inclusivism and Mission

III. Conclusion

  • This lesson provides an overview of the various aspects of Theology of Religion, and explores the complexities of engaging in dialogue with other religions.
  • You will gain an understanding of the exclusivity of Christ and its implications for other religions, as well as the challenges to exclusivity presented by atheism, theological pluralism, and other religions. You'll also learn how to engage other religions and live out Christian witness in a pluralistic world.
  • This lesson will provide you a deeper understanding of how Jesus is the central figure of Scripture, and how Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled in the New Testament.
  • You will gain insight into the similarities and differences between the religions of the Ancient Near East and the religions of the Bible, looking at concepts such as Hebrew monotheism, the theology of salvation, and the theology of creation. You'll also explore how mythology and evil are portrayed in both the Ancient Near East religions and the Bible, as well as how the Bible incorporates cultural elements from the Ancient Near East religions.
  • You will gain insight into the implications of polytheism from a biblical perspective and understand the nature of God and the roles of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
  • In this lesson, you will gain a better understanding of the New Testament and its relationship to other religions. You will gain insight into the theological messages found in the various books of the New Testament, and learn how the New Testament relates to other religions in terms of Jesus, salvation, evangelism, and relationships.
  • This lesson you will receive an overview of universalism, its historical context, and its implications for the Bible and theology. You will learn the different types of universalism and examine the biblical passages related to universalism, as well as the theological perspectives on universalism.
  • You will gain an understanding of what pluralism is and how it has evolved over time. You will also explore the challenges to pluralism and the implications it has for religious dialogue and multiculturalism.
  • In this lesson, you will gain an understanding of inclusivism, its history and theology, as well as its application in missions. You will learn that inclusivism is an approach to theology that respects and works with different religious paths, and offers a robust theology of salvation that is both inclusive and faithful to the biblical message
  • This lesson will teach you about the presence and role of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, including Ancient Near Eastern Religion, the Old Testament, the Pentateuch, Wisdom Literature, and Prophets.
  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the person and nature of the Holy Spirit, the role and ministry of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, the process of receiving the Holy Spirit, and the gifts and fruit of the Spirit.
  • This lesson provides an overview of the critical questions related to the gospel, salvation and other religions, and the importance of asking them. It explores questions of homogeneity, essentialism and pluralism with definitions and examples.

With Todd Miles, Ph.D. Western Christianity’s interaction with world religions used to be, for the most part, overseas. Today, “religious others” often live next door. At a changing time when one public prayer spoken during the 2009 U.S. presidential inauguration festivities was addressed to “O god of our many understandings,” the evangelical Christian church should do more than simply dismiss non-Christian religions as pagan without argument or comment. The Church needs a theology of religions that is Christ-honoring, biblically faithful, intellectually satisfying, compassionate, and that will encourage Spirit-powered mission.



Dr. Todd Miles
Gospel, Salvation, and Other Religions
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:10] In the last two sessions, we've been looking at different proposals for how Christians are supposed to relate to people of other faiths, at least with regard to their salvific potential. We looked at universalism, the idea that that all are saved. And then I gave some critique of that last session. We looked at religious pluralism, the idea that all roads lead to God, not all are probably saved, although I suppose it could be possible that some might believe that. But there's nothing terribly unique about Jesus. He is. He's one path among many. He's a way to God, but certainly not the only way to God. In this session, I want to look at a position that's called inclusive ism. And the idea behind inclusive ism is that there is no salvation apart from Christ, and his work on the cross is atoning work. And so everything that the church has always said about the sacrifice, the life, the death, resurrection, ascension of Jesus, how that affects salvation, how how God's wrath is propitious, how sinners are redeemed, how we are justified, all of that that it is a core belief of inclusive ism. And yet the door is open, that there are some who do not believe the gospel or who have not received the Gospel in order to believe it, that they might somehow be saved by this atoning work of Christ. And so you are saved by the work of Christ. But it's possible that you don't have to believe the Gospel in order to be saved by that very work of Jesus. This is inclusive ism. It is a thoroughly Christian position. There are no non Christian inclusiveness, at least of the stripe that I'm going to talk about here. And it is also and an evangelical position in the sense that there are those who call themselves evangelical who who, who, who hold inclusive ist convictions.

[00:02:13] It's very widespread. There are probably people in every church who have inclusiveness, convictions. And and it could also be perhaps it's a majority position in some churches. It's a it's a powerful presence in the evangelical church. And it's at the popular level, the church level, the academic level. Evangelical voices are now calling into question the necessity of actually having to believe the gospel in order to be saved. Now, remember, as I said this, these folk are firmly committed to the work of Christ as the basis of salvation. But now there's the idea that that actually having to have heard of the death and resurrection of Jesus as the basis for salvation and believing that, well, perhaps that's not necessary in all cases I'm going to be interacting with to inclusiveness in particular. And these are the most prolific writers, Amos Young and Clark Pinnock. Amos Young, for instance, affirms the distinction between salvation is ontologically secured through the personal work of Jesus, that it actually had to happen in reality. But it doesn't have to be epistemic access, that is, that you don't have to believe it through the preaching of the gospel or other providential means of God. There's a difference between those two. Inclusiveness suggests not all agree on how individuals are saved. Apart from conscious faith in Jesus, there's no consensus on that at all. But they all agree that those who have never heard the Gospel can be saved in some way. That's at least analogous to how the Old Testament figures who trusted God and yet didn't know the particulars of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus because they it hadn't happened yet. They were unable to believe the Gospel because it wasn't accessible to them. And so Clark Penick notes that even though it has only seldom been proposed that the Spirit of God might be present in the religious sphere of human life, many inclusive and inclusive guests are currently suggesting that non-Christian religions may be not only the means of natural revelation of God, but also the locale of God's grace given to the world because of Christ.

[00:04:29] And in that it's anticipating something that we'll look at in the very last section of this session, the work of the Holy Spirit salvific in other religions. Now, the churches as historically not held to any sort of idea of inclusive ism, it's always been very negative with regard to the salvific potential of other religions. So, for example, early in church history, Ignatius, the bishop of Antioch, he declared, Be not deceived, my brethren. If anyone follows a maker of a schism, he does not inherit the kingdom of God. If anyone walks in strange doctrines, he has no part in the past. That is the work of Christ Irenaeus. Another early church father fought heresy valiantly, especially Gnosticism. He said this. Where the church is, there is the Spirit of God and where the Spirit of God is. There is the church in every kind of grace, But the Spirit is truth there. So speaking here about the about the saving work of the Spirit, applying the work of Christ to individuals, but that happens in the context of the church. And when you are saved by the spirit, then you are drawn into the Church of Jesus Christ. The grievous condemnation of all with the possibility of salvation outside the church came from Cyprian who said this. They cannot live out of it since the house of God is one and there can be no salvation to any except in the church. And so this is the principle that guided the church for about 2000 years extra, actually. S.M. Nicholas Silas, that is no salvation outside the church. Now, the Roman Catholic Church has held steadfastly to this, although even now, as since Vatican two and then Pope John Paul, the second they begin to open up the possibilities of God saving people through and by means of of other religions.

[00:06:28] But for the most part, the church, just those who name the name of Christ, have have have held to the idea that you have to believe the gospel in order to be saved. It has to be preached. What hope is there if people don't hear the gospel? But that's been that's beginning to change now, especially in the last 50 years. There are more and more people who are beginning to question this idea. Now, why might those who are convinced that there is no salvation, apart from the work of Christ, begin to think that maybe you don't actually have to believe in that work in order to be saved? Well, here are some arguments for inclusive ism first, and optimism of salvation for the world. Inclusiveness are convinced based on the unbounded and universal love of God, that that we ought to at least be hopeful that most in the end will be saved more than we anticipate. They'll quote texts like Luke 1329, where Jesus tells the parable and says, People will come from east and west and from north and south and recline at the table in the Kingdom of God. In Revelation chapter seven, verse nine, we see this sort of thing anticipated again. After this I looked and behold a great multitude that no one could number from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages. Standing before the throne and before the lamb clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands. That's a lot of people. And so inclusiveness will maintain that God's universal salvific will. We've touched on those verses in the past with other with other proposals. But this universal salvific will enables Christian to have deep hopefulness for the nations, including those who haven't heard the gospel.

[00:08:10] Now, what drives this optimism amongst inclusiveness? Well, two different impulses, I think. The first is based largely on the doctrine of God, in particular the idea that God loves all people and is going to love all people fairly. And that is and it usually boils down to this God has to love everyone the same or it's unfair. And so how can it be that this God of perfect love who loves all people? How could he condemn some who have never had the opportunity to respond to the Gospel? Listen to the words of Pinnick. We have to confront the traditions of certain varieties of conservative theology that present God as miserly and that exclude large numbers of people without a second thought. This dark pessimism is contrary to Scripture and right reason. Not only does it contradict the prophetic hope of a large salvation, it is a cruel and defensive doctrine. What kind of God would send large numbers of men, women and children to hell without the remotest chance of responding to his truth? This does not sound like the God whom Jesus called the Father. It's a very good articulation of this inclusiveness ethos. So the love of God. The second impulse for an optimism of a possibility of salvation for the world is is a little more recent. And it flows out of religious pluralism where inclusive us are unable to believe that the grace of God could be limited within the confines of the church. In the past, that was easier to believe when all you heard about the nations was what you read in National Geographic magazine. But now there are neighbors. And we find that many of them are kind and decent and good parents and and very good citizens.

[00:09:55] Is it really the fact that the grace of God would be confined just within the church of Jesus? Let me give a quick response to these to these impulses. Clearly, the promise of the gospel is that multitudes. Will be saved and that multitudes from every nation will gather in the end before the throne of God in praise of Him. But these scriptures, even the ones that I cited, that speak of multitudes, don't say anything about relative proportions. I would suggest, as I read Scripture, that the only indication I have of relative proportions is the number of the saved will be relatively small compared to the number of those who are not saved. When teaching on the kingdom, Jesus said Enter through the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the road is broad. That leads to destruction and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult? The road that leads to life and few find it. There are no biblical texts that teach that the number of the saved will outnumber the number of, but will outnumber the unsaved. Scripture, I don't think, supports this sort of optimism. In fact, I think it gives us reason to think that that that despite our best missionary efforts and despite the work of the Spirit of God, that in the end most will take that path of rebellion, that path to destruction. The second parameter that guides inclusiveness first, when optimism of big numbers of those who are saved. Second is that there's a very high view of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, and this is what keeps them orthodox, Christian and evangelical. Jesus Christ is the one mediator between God and man. But this doesn't entail that one should have a negative attitude towards world religions or cultures.

[00:12:00] It doesn't require that Christians be exclusive in their interactions with religious others. Inclusiveness are adamant that you are saved only on the basis of the work of Christ. However, as I said before, that doesn't necessarily mean to the inclusiveness that you have to possess. Conscious faith in Jesus High Christology very, very important. And it is absolutely a fact that there is no salvation except through Christ. But the question is, do you have to possess a conscious belief in Jesus in order to benefit the redemption that was bought from him? So, for example, Amos Yong, he's unconvinced by the primary proof texts of exclusiveness, some that I talked about in the first few sessions here. He says, for example, chapter four, verse 12, where Peter preaches that there is no other name under heaven or on earth by which you must be saved. He says, is that we should read that more as an ontological statement about there's no salvation possible except through the work of Jesus. But not saying anything about a epistemological necessity, it doesn't say that you have to believe that in order to be saved, even though it's true that there is and I'm quoting him here, there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved. Does this entail that that name must be consciously confessed? Amos Young will also look at passages like John Chapter three, verses 16 through 18 for God so loved the world that He gave his only son that whoever believes in him should have eternal life and should not perish. For 74, God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him, whoever believes in him is not condemned.

[00:13:45] But whoever does not believe is condemned already because he is not believed in the name of the only Son of God. They include Thomas. Look at that passage and they say, You know, I think that that refers to those who have been evangelized that you have to believe the gospel once it's been shared with you. But if you've never heard the gospel, what about those who've never heard? I don't think that passage is like John three versus 16 through 18 apply to those individuals. There's another argument that is often used by inclusiveness, and this is the idea of pagan believers in salvation history. And and so according to the inclusiveness, when we ignore the possibility of a wider hope, of an optimism, we've undervalued, really not in the entire Old Testament, but especially the first 11 chapters of Genesis, prior to Abraham, prior to God, focusing in on one person, one family, one nation. And what these early chapters demonstrate is that God is the Lord of the whole entire Earth, and that there are what inclusive is called pagan saints or pagan believers. These would include people like Melchizedek and and Jobe. They hold up as examples of men who lived in the period of Israel's ministry, maybe even before it yet outside her covenant. Outside her sphere of influence. These examples of holy pagans, they demonstrate our need for dialog with religious others, with people outside the borders of the church today. Another example that's often cited two of them would be the Roman centurion whom Jesus praised for having great faith in the Gospels and then in the Book of Acts Cornelius. He's a pagan, according to inclusiveness. And yet and yet he finds favor with God concept of a holy pagan.

[00:15:38] It works this way. There were some outside the covenant community of Israel, obviously outside the New Covenant Church of Jesus Christ, who responded to the revelation that they had and were apparently saved. And Jobe and Melchizedek, the two most prominent examples. Now, here's how it works. If God can save those who are outside the covenant community as they respond to the revelation that is available to them, why can you not still do that? Let's get more particular. Before Christ came, God saved many who had not known or believed the details of the death and resurrection of Jesus after all, hadn't yet occurred. Every Old Testament state we run into David Daniel, Abraham Moses, for example. Yet God still saved them, and their salvation is ultimately dependent upon the death and resurrection of Jesus. They just didn't know the details of how it was going to happen. Well, there are many people around the world who are in the same position epistemological. That is what they know for all they know. Jesus has never come there in the same exact position. They haven't heard of the gospel. They might as well be living back in the before Christ times. And so if the people before Christ could be saved, before they believed in the particulars of Jesus, why? Why can people not living on this side of the cross who haven't heard of the cross of Christ be saved in the very same way? Quick response to that. This whole concept of a pagan believers highly suspect. I mean, each individual that's put forward by an inclusive US was responding to special revelation. I mean, Melchizedek is called a priest of the most high God. We talked a little bit about him in the the third session I believe able and all of those who who who are cited in the Bible are responding in some way to particular revelation of the God and father of Jesus Christ, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

[00:17:40] Not not one of them qualifies as a pagan, let alone one who is who has responded to general revelation or the light that was given to them through conscience or creation. Then when we fast forward in the New Testament, you make an appeal to Cornelius where we've talked about him. I think he's a slam dunk case for ism. Remember that what the angel told Cornelius? And who was Cornelius, again? A Gentile who was convinced that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was the God of the cosmos? He had aligned himself with the covenant people of Israel. He was doing everything right. And Angel comes to him and says, Send for Peter. He can preach to you a message by which you will future tense be saved. Cornelius, who's doing everything right as far as he knows, still has to believe the gospel in order to be saved. You know, if pagan believers exist, I think we're going to have to go somewhere other than the Bible to find them. Let me pause right here for a second. Sorry to have to create some editing. How much time are we? Are you eight? Okay, great. I was going to. I didn't start my clock here. I can do this one fairly quickly. I'm not. I'm not going to cover everything in here. Okay, Let me. Let me start my watch. Okay. The most common argument for inclusive ism now is to make an appeal to the work of the Holy Spirit. And really, all inclusiveness proposals are moving in this new mythological direction. The Greek word for spirit is Numa. And so things having to do with the Holy Spirit are referred to in theology as numerological, And so numa to logical, inclusive ism is the idea that the Holy Spirit is at work saving Lee amongst those who have never heard the Gospel.

[00:19:44] I think this is the logical and necessary destination of all inclusiveness models, and so it is the most important one for us to consider. It's, it's so important that our entire next session I'm going to spend looking at the Holy Spirit and why I believe that that the person and work of the Holy Spirit actually moves us in an exclusive this direction rather than an inclusive. Direction, but that's the next session. Now, why would they turn to the Holy Spirit? Well, the Spirit is the primary member of the Trinity who's responsible for the conviction of sin and for regeneration and sanctification. And so from an inclusiveness perspective, especially if there's no human person out talking about Jesus Christ, about the gospel, who else but the Holy Spirit could possibly apply the work of Christ to those who have not heard or believe the Gospel? It seems to me that if inclusive ism of any stripe is going to maintain any sort of credibility within the Christian faith, it has to demonstrate that the regeneration of those who live on this side of the cross, but who have not believed the gospel, that that that is consistent with the work of the Holy Spirit. Again, next session I'm going to try to demonstrate why why such a belief would be inconsistent with the work and person of the spirit. Now, where does this flow from? Where does this whole idea come from that the Holy Spirit might be at work saving thee in other religions? Well, it comes from the omnipresence of the spirit. The spirit is everywhere in advance of mission to prepare the way for Jesus Christ. Any person who believes you have to believe the Gospel in order to be safe. Would, would, would fully admit and support the idea that the Holy Spirit, who is omnipresent just as God is omnipresent, His spirit is omnipresent.

[00:21:36] The Spirit is clearly at work, convicting of sin. And so. So by any model, the Spirit of God is at work in unbelievers. That's the only reason to believe or can even an unbeliever can become a believer is if the spirit of God is at work. But the question is, do we limit the work of the Holy Spirit within the confines of Jesus Christ, the proclamation of his life, death, burial, resurrection, ascension and return? Do we do that? And so the question here that is asked by them is this and here I'm quoting inclusiveness. The whole Christological question is, after all, whether or not Christ is the savior or just a savior. But what if we were to begin elsewhere, let's say, with the doctrine of the Holy Spirit? Surely there's no doubt that the Christological question would be merely postponed, but not entirely dismissed. Yet it would be intriguing to explore in that light how the Word of God, the Logos, the Son of God and the Spirit accomplish and mediate the Salvific gift of the Father, both separately, if discernible and in tandem. It is even the case that such may be a clue toward bringing together the particularity of the gospel and the inclusivity that we find in the Spirit. How is this justified biblically? First off, an appeal to the Spirit of God as the Creator. In Genesis one, we find the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit. We find Him early in Chapter one, even before we're ever introduced to the Son or the Word of God, the Spirit is the Creator. He's the breath of life of the Almighty. The Spirit is not only the Creator, but He is the Creator. And so since he created in a cosmological sense and created all people, is it legitimate to say that his work saving in others has to be within the confines of the Ministry of the Son? That's the second major argument for turning towards the Holy Spirit.

[00:23:42] Is is what is the nature of the relationship between the between the Spirit and the son? How is it to be characterized now, inclusiveness or quick to say, you know, through all church history, we have seen the role of the spirit as being just an aspect of the Ministry of the Son. But maybe that's not fair. Maybe that's not biblically correct. Clark Pinnick reasons. If it is true that the spirit empowers the son, which we find to be the case in the Gospel, it is also true that the son is the criterion of manifestations of the Spirit. The relationship is reciprocal through and through. It was by the Spirit that Jesus was conceived and anointed, empowered, commissioned, directed and raised up. But even if we have a high Christology, which inclusiveness want to maintain, we must not subordinate the spirit to the Son because they are partners in the work of redemption. And so while the person of the Spirit of God or of the person of Jesus Christ is a is this symbol, this manifestation of God's reality in the world, the Holy Spirit, he manifests the divine presence of God throughout the entire world. And so they suggest inclusiveness suggests this. They just. Well, let us see what results from viewing Christ as an aspect of the Spirit's mission instead. Of viewing the spirit as a function of Christ. What if, instead of just assuming that the work of the Spirit is always about the Ministry of Jesus? What if we begin to read the Bible and to consider the salvific possibilities? If we flip flop it? What if we look at the Spirit as it works saving throughout the world because he is the creator of the cosmos. And then consider that Jesus and his work on the cross, which is absolutely necessary for all to be saved.

[00:25:42] What if, instead of that being dominant, what if that was just an aspect of the Spirit's mission that was necessary so that the Spirit could in fact save many, if not most? So there's a there's this idea that drives inclusive ism that the Spirit of God is at work salvific in the world. And if that's the case, why would he not be at work in world religions? I mean, consider this God is omnipresent in the world today, inclusive as, say, through his spirit. Now, why would we think that if God is omnipresent in the world through his Spirit, that the one place where the spirit of God is not active and at work would be in inhuman religions, the different religions of the world? I mean, after all, the different religions of the world are where people are trying to relate to God. Doesn't it seem backwards to think that the Spirit of God who is at work throughout the world he is omnipresent, would ignore that one area of human life where people are actually trying to relate to God so clearly to the inclusiveness. We have to consider the possibility that the Holy Spirit. Maybe it's not even a possibility. The likelihood that the Holy Spirit is at work within the boundaries of other religions. Now, why would people think this? Well, for example, inclusiveness will go to Acts chapter two at Pentecost, where Peter quotes Joel too, about the pouring out of the Spirit. What's the spirit poured out on? The Spirit is poured out on all flesh. It says, Well, all must mean all the Spirit of God must be with it. With the advent of Christ at work, saving early on all people. No, not all people will respond to the work of the spirit.

[00:27:35] Inclusiveness are not universalist, and yet we have to consider the possibility, if not the likelihood, that the Spirit of God is working on all humanity, not just on all Christians. If this is the case, how do we discern the work of the Holy Spirit in others? Well, this is where inclusive us are, a little bit hesitant to to say, in fact, there's a lot of disagreement because the frustration among the inclusiveness is that when we begin to consider a criteria for discerning the work of the Holy Spirit, it almost always boils down to some sort of Christological thing, usually some sort of ethical thing. People are beginning to manifest the fruit of the spirit, but it's not too long before you see fruit of the Spirit as transformation into Christ's likeness. And there's a real hesitancy among inclusiveness to say that the that the criteria for discerning whether or not the spirit is working in other religions is is focused in on the person of Jesus in any sort of way. So it gets difficult. There's a confidence, a hope that the spirit of God is at work in the context of other religions or or at least maybe not within the structure of other religions, although most inclusive US are suggesting. But at least on individuals who are growing up in different religious traditions, if the Holy Spirit is doing that, applying the work of Christ on the cross to them and saving them, how are we supposed to know this? And to be honest, there hasn't been a proposal that most agree upon. Most of the proposals shift in an ethical dimension. That is, they begin to manifest the fruit of the spirit, the kind of things that we find in the book of Galatians.

[00:29:25] So very, very difficult right now for inclusiveness to come to any agreement on on how we discern whether the spirit is working in one particular person or not. But there is a confidence that that is most likely is. Lastly, one of the main priorities of of religious inclusiveness is to make legitimate the inter-religious dialog that so dominates discussions of religious pluralism and living in this postmodern age. Dialog is always a good thing in our current context and for the inclusiveness, perhaps we ought not to engage in dialog just for the purpose of learning more about the religious other so we can effectively share the gospel with them or answer their questions about Jesus and do so in a sympathetic way, although it's at least that. But perhaps it ought to be more than that. Remember that if the Holy Spirit is at work within the contours of a religious other, perhaps even within the structure of their religion, then would it not behoove the Christian to listen to them so that we might actually possibly learn something about this God whom we worship because the spirit is at work in that individual's life? Now, it's very difficult to find any sort of biblical justification for this. And so the inclusiveness is kind of getting out over his skis a little bit, at least. But perhaps an appeal to Jesus's inter-religious dialog. He talked with Samaritans. Paul talked with people from other faiths. One common example would be the whole concept of the Good Samaritan in the parable, the Good Samaritan. Jesus uses that to speak to a Jewish audience, and it becomes evident, at least to the inclusiveness that that the Jewish people are learning, therefore, from a Samaritan. Now, there's all sorts of questions that you might that that come to mind about whether that's actually a legitimate conclusion to reach and whether the hermeneutics follows from using a parable in such a way.

[00:31:36] But remember that there's a commitment by the inclusiveness to the concept that the Holy Spirit is at work with a religious other. And so maybe there's room in our postmodern age, in our religiously pluralistic age, which suggests so dominantly, so strongly that we ought to be engaged in dialog where we can learn from one another. Maybe the Christian can actually buy into that, too, in at least to some degree, to learn from the religious other what the Holy Spirit who is at work saving in them is teaching them. This is such a significant issue, as I said earlier, that we're going to spend the whole next session looking at the work of the Holy Spirit, the personal work of the Spirit. And what I'm going to develop in the very next section is what I think is a biblical theology of the Holy Spirit. We're going to start a Genesis, work our way through to the Book of Revelation. And I think what we'll find is that, you know, it's not legitimate. It's not legitimate to view the Holy Spirit as an or to view Jesus Christ as an aspect of the Holy Spirits ministry. That, in point of fact, that the way the Bible presents the Holy Spirit, we need to see the Holy Spirit doing precisely what Jesus said of the Holy Spirit in John chapter 16, verse 14. That is, when the spirit of truth comes. He will glorify me, Jesus said. I think that that's what the Spirit of God does. Even prior to the Incarnation, through the Incarnation and in during this church age, while we anticipate the return of Christ, when we look at the person and work of the Holy Spirit, rather than creating room for inclusive ism as the numerological inclusiveness will suggest, I think the only conclusion we can draw is that we need to believe the Gospel and the Spirit of God enables that belief, enables the conviction of sin, brings regeneration, and begins to transform people into the image of Jesus Christ.

[00:33:47] That's what salvation is all about. And it's done through proclamation of the Gospel.


Log in to take this quiz.