- Inclusive view says that the Father reaches out to the unevangelized (those who do not hear the gospel) through the Son and the Spirit via general revelation, conscience and human culture (Sanders, pg. 36). Restrictivists would say that which is known about God is evident within them because God has already made it evident (Rom. 1:19-20). The gospel is essential (now) to come to a right relationship with God.
- Inclusivists say salvation for the unevangelized is made possible only by the redemptive work of Jesus, but God applies that work even to those who are ignorant of the atonement. God does this if people respond in trusting faith to God based on the light they are given through general revelation, conscience or culture (pg. 36). Restrictivists would assert that the Bible says that because of our spiritual separation from God every individual suppresses what God has made evident through general revelation and conscience and exchanged the glory of God for corruptible things (Rom. 1:20-23).
- Inclusivists say people are acceptable to God if they respond in faith however limited their knowledge is of God. God judges people on the basis of the light they have and how they respond to that light. Therefore if a person responds in faith to God based on general revelation God will save them based on the light they have been given. Restrictivists would say that some measure of personal revelation is necessary for a person to come to Christ (Rom. 10:14-15).
- Inclusivists say the issue in question, regarding salvation, is the degree of knowledge necessary in order to enter into a trusting (saving) relationship with the God of grace. The central problem of salvation is not knowledge of God but faith in God. Having a right attitude toward God is much more important than doctrinal information. Restrictivists would say that knowledge of God is critical, especially of His Son the Lord Jesus. But the key is that regardless if one examines the Old Testament or the New, God made personal revelation as the key to right relationship with Him (Rom. 10:1-4).
More next week,