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Faith Comes by Hearing: A Response to Inclusivism [Paperback]

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Pages   270
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.89" Width: 6.1" Height: 0.8"
Weight:   0.95 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 1, 2008
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN  0830825908  
EAN  9780830825905  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Robert Peterson and Christopher Morgan edit essays that seek to refute inclusivism (i.e., that some who do not know Jesus but repent of their sin and respond to God in faith will be saved by the work of Christ) and set forth a rationale for the view that only those who hear the Gospel and believe in Jesus Christ will be saved.

Publishers Description
What about those who have never heard? The debate swirls and feelings run deep. What is the fate of the unevangelized? The traditional position--that apart from an explicit faith in Jesus no one is saved--seems to have fallen out of favor with many evangelicals. Here is a passionate but irenic response to the arguments of those who believe that the unevangelized can (or might) be saved apart from knowledge of Jesus Christ. Building on the insights of others, nine scholars introduce readers, even those with little background, to the ongoing discussion. Key questions--Is general revelation sufficient? Are other religions salvific? Do holy pagans exist? Must faith be explicit? Is exclusivism unjust?--are probed and answered from a biblical, theological and historical perspective. The book's positive thrust is summed up by editors Robert Peterson and Christopher Morgan: "God is passionately engaged in gathering people to know, love and worship him from every tribe, language, people and nation. And he has called us to join him on this mission."

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Christopher W. Morgan (PhD, Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary) is a professor of theology and the dean of the School of Christian Ministries at California Baptist University. He is the author or editor of sixteen books, including several volumes in the Theology in Community series.

Robert A. Peterson (PhD, Drew University) taught theology for thirty-five years at two evangelical seminaries. He is retired and currently has a ministry of editing and writing. He has written or edited over thirty books.

Gerald Bray (DLitt, University of Paris-Sorbonne) is research professor at Beeson Divinity School and director of research for the Latimer Trust. He is a prolific writer and has authored or edited numerous books, including The Doctrine of God, Biblical Interpretation, God Is Love, and God Has Spoken.

Bob Yarbrough (PhD, University of Aberdeen, Scotland) is professor of New Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. He was previously professor of New Testament and department chair at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is the author or coauthor of several books and is active in pastoral training in Africa.

Gregg R. Allison (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is professor of Christian theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is secretary of the Evangelical Theological Society, a book review editor for the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, an elder at Sojourn Community Church, and a theological strategist for Sojourn Network. Allison has taught at several colleges and seminaries, including Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and is the author of numerous books, including Historical Theology: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine, Sojourners and Strangers: The Doctrine of the Church, and Roman Catholic Theology and Practice: An Evangelical Assessment.

Anthony B. Bradley (PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary) is associate professor of religious studies at the King's College in New York City, where he serves as the director of the Center for the Study of Human Flourishing and chair of the Religious and Theological Studies program. He also serves as a research fellow for the Acton Institute. He has also published cultural commentary in a variety of periodicals and lives in New York City.

Stephen J. Nichols (PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary) serves as the president of Reformation Bible College and chief academic officer of Ligonier Ministries. He is an editor of the Theologians on the Christian Life series and also hosts the weekly podcast 5 Minutes in Church History.

Christopher W. Morgan was born in 1971.

Christopher W. Morgan has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Basics of the Faith
  2. Explorations in Biblical Theology
  3. Theology in Community

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Review  Oct 1, 2009
So far I have only read Dr. Peterson's chapter on Inclusivism and found it to be very informative and accurate.
Much Ado ...  Sep 30, 2009
This book may be helpful to you if you are not familiar with the concepts of predestination, free will (or agency) and universalism. If you are familiar with them as i am there isn't much new insight offered. Having said this, it can confirm, deny, or get you to reconsider your position if you have one. If you're looking to quickly get a new opinion on this topic, this may not be for you. If you don't mind wordiness (a lot of reading saying the same thing) then go for it as i did.
Great Collection of Essays!  Sep 15, 2008
This is a great book to understand the exclusivist point of view. People find it hard to believe that not all people will go to heaven. This books presents the biblical truth of man's sinfullness and the work of the Holy Spirit.
The case for exclusivism  Jul 24, 2008
Biblically Christianity is clearly exclusivist in its insistence that Christianity is the one true religion, and that Jesus Christ is the only means of salvation. This is not exactly what a multicultural, pluralistic society wants to hear. But it is what biblical Christians are obligated to proclaim.

While it is obvious that many non-Christians (whether religious or nonreligious) will find the exclusiveness of Christianity's truth claims to be burdensome and objectionable, there are some Christians who also question the traditional understanding.

Some evangelical Christians, for example, have sought to widen the parameters when it comes to who can be saved and how. It is to these sorts of issues that this book is addressed. Eleven meaty chapters written by nine biblical scholars tackle the many complex issues involved.

Traditionally there have been three main approaches to these issues. The exclusivist camp argues that Jesus Christ is the only Saviour, and salvation only comes in response to the Gospel of Christ. The inclusivist camp argues that Christ is indeed the only Saviour, but people can be saved apart from hearing the Gospel message. Pluralism teaches that there are many religious roads to God.

This volume argues that the consistent Biblical position is that of exclusivism. It mainly interacts with other Christians who seek to argue for the remaining two positions, especially the inclusivists. Many of the leading evangelical inclusivists are those associated with the open theism movement. Thus open theists such as Clark Pinnock and John Sanders receive a great deal of attention in this volume, along with others. Terrance Tiessen, an inclusivist of the Reformed persuasion, also gets a wide hearing.

Morgan does a good job in his opening chapter listing the various details and nuances of the main positions involved. Indeed, he admits that the three traditional camps may be insufficient, and breaks things down into nine specific positions.

Daniel Strange offers a helpful overview of the claim that general revelation (God's self-disclosure in creation and conscience) is sufficient to condemn sinners, but not sufficient to save them. The special revelation of God (his Word and Jesus Christ) is necessary to make salvation possible to fallen mankind. Key texts such as Psalm 19 and Romans 1-2 are carefully examined, along with inclusivist assessments of them.

Walter Kaiser looks at salvation in the Old Testament, and argues that so-called holy pagans or believing Gentiles were saved just as we are, by response to the specific revelation of God. True, the OT saints did not have a clear understanding of Christ and his work, but they did have Yahweh's self-disclosure in general, and his specific revelation of a promised Saviour, going back to Genesis 3:15.

Eckhard Schnabel discusses how the Bible understands other religions. He reminds us that both Israel and the early Christians believed that competing religious worldviews were false religions and manmade belief systems. They both also recognised the spiritual dimension to other religions, which includes some elements of the demonic and satanic

William Edgar examines the charge that exclusivism is unjust. In his discussion he covers a number of major issues such as theodicy, the nature of evil, the sovereignty of God and the entrance of sin into the world. He reminds us that if God saved no one, he would still be absolutely just and fair. But the fact that many are saved speaks to the great mercy and grace of God.

Other chapters examine such topics as the nature of saving faith, the necessity of preaching the Gospel, and the missionary heart of God. The authors here argue that the best thing we can do for those who are worried about the fate of those who have not heard the Gospel is to encourage them to be more active in proclaiming the Gospel to all mankind.

A concluding chapter deals with notable objections to the notion of exclusivism, such as the fairness and justice of hell, and various pastoral concerns

In sum, there is a wealth of biblical, theological and hermeneutical material covered here, which is presented in a fair and gracious manner. Extensive quotations from, and arguments by, the inclusivists are presented and carefully dealt with. The authors meticulously and graciously interact with the inclusivists, but make it clear that the exclusivist position seems to best do justice to the biblical data.

And they make clear the priority of the Christian Gospel, and the urgency and importance of worldwide evangelisation. While a number of other volumes have covered these topics, this is perhaps the best recent volume to present the biblical and theological case for exclusivism. An important and vital volume.
Thorough answers to the question of inclusivism  Apr 10, 2008
Is explicit faith in Christ necessary for eternal salvation?

Without a doubt, a question like this is provocative and elicits passion from all religious corners. Depending on the answer given, the church will either go forth in evangelistic endeavors or will jettison both the message and the mission of the gospel.

In this brand new book, nine Christian theologians give us an excellent introduction to this topic, arguing against the idea that salvation can take place apart from knowledge of Jesus Christ.

One of the editors, Robert Peterson, is a professor of theology here in my hometown of St. Louis at Covenant Theological Seminary. There are a lot of new terms to get a handle on in this discussion, so Peterson opens with an introduction that defines the terms for us:

"Pluralism is the view that all religions lead to God. It denies that Jesus Christ is the worlds only Savior. People may be saved, therefore, as adherents of Buddhism, Hinduism, or Islam, to cite the big three non-Christian religions as examples.

"Exclusivism, sometimes called restrictivism or particularism, is the view that Jesus Christ is the only Savior of the world and that one must believe God's special revelation that culminates in the gospel of Christ in order to be saved.

"Inclusivism is the view that, although Jesus is the only Savior of the world, one does not have to believe in the gospel to be saved.
For a Christian, the primary question is - regarding eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, which of the "isms" is the teaching of the Bible?

Each of the individual contributors to this book argue in favor of the exclusivist view of Jesus Christ. However, some Christians wrongly believe it is necessary for them to abandon the exclusivist position.

In an excellent online essay, theologian Dr. R. Albert Mohler, writes:
"The fact is that many persons are embarrassed by the Gospel as revealed in the Bible and taught by Christ. The central issue of offense is the exclusivity of the Gospel of Christ, And yet, Christ left no doubt about the matter. In John 14:6, Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." The first sentence is not the ground of offense. The second sentence is. The "but by Me" statement leaves no room for confusion."

A sampling of the content includes Stephen Wellum's discussion on whether saving faith is implicit or explicit, Walter Kaiser tackles the subject of "Holy pagans", and Andreas Köstenberger takes us through the New Testament teaching that the gospel of Christ is the only means of salvation for all people and hence the church must go forth in witness to the world.

The editors of this book conclude their work with a word to Christians:
"God is passionately engaged in gathering people to know, love and worship him from every tribe, language, people and nation. And he has called us to join him on this mission."

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