- This essay was first presented as one of several on the topic of
"Evangelical Christianity and Other Religions" during the 54th annual
meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, November 20-22, 2002, in Toronto, Ontario.
- For a historical bibliography of evangelicals who have tended toward a
wider hope, see John Sanders, No Other Name: An Investigation into the Destiny of the
Unevangelised (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992), part three. As in so many other matters
in evangelical theology, there is a range of opinion about this issue: see Gregory A. Boyd
and Paul R. Eddy, Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology
(Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002), ch 12.
- The paper, entitled "Toward a More Inclusive Eschatology,"
appeared in David W. Baker, ed., Looking into the Future: Evangelical Studies in
Eschatology (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001), ch 17. A few years ago I published A
Wideness in Gods Mercy: The Finality of Jesus Christ in a World of Religions
(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992), which has been evaluated critically, nowhere more
extensively than in Daniel Strange, The Possibility of Salvation Among the
Unevangelised: An Analysis of Inclusivism in Recent Evangelical Theology (Carlisle:
- Paul F. Knitter, Introducing Theologies of Religions (Maryknoll,
NY: Orbis, 2002), 47-48.
- I have broached these ideas in Flame of Love: Theology of the Holy
Spirit (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1996), ch 6.
- This turn to the Spirit in the context of religious pluralism among
Roman Catholics is well documented by Francis A. Sullivan, Salvation Outside the
Church? Tracing the History of the Catholic Response (New York: Paulist, 1992), ch 11,
and by Paul F. Knitter, Introducing Theologies of Religions (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis,
2002), part 2.
- Millard J. Erickson, The Evangelical Left: Encountering
Postconservative Evangelical Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1997), 29, 131.
- Cited by Francis A. Sullivan, Salvation Outside the Church? 198.
- Gavin DCosta, Theology and Religious Pluralism: The Challenge
of Other Religions (Oxford: Blackwell, 1986) and The Meeting of Religions and the
Trinity (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2000).
- Jacques Dupuis, Toward a Christian Theology of Religious Pluralism
(Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1997) and Christianity and the Religions: From Confrontation to
Dialogue (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2002).
- On this theme, many will be watching the work of Amos Yong, who offered
a paper at the 2002 ETS meeting entitled "The Spirit Bears Witness: Pneumatology,
Truth, and the Religions" and who has already produced two volumes on it: Discerning
the Spirit(s): A Pentecostal-Charismatic Contribution to a Christian Theology of Religions
(Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 2000) and Beyond the Impasse: Toward a Pneumatological
Theology of Religions (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, March, 2003).
- Terrance L. Tiessen, Irenaeus on the Salvation of the Unevangelised
(Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow, 1993), 281. We must remember in this context too that the
fathers were not conscious of large groups of unevangelised people, which makes their
dilemma a little different from ours.
- Steve Charleston of the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma, "The Old
Testament of Native America," in S. B. Thistlethwaite and M. B. Engel, eds., Lift
Every Voice: Constructing Christian Theologies from the Underside (San Francisco:
Harper/Collins, 1990), 49-61.
- Moltmann, The Spirit of Life: A Universal Affirmation
(Minneapolis: Fortress, 1992), 8. On these and other leading theologians of the Spirit, I
refer the reader to Veli-Matti Karkkainen, Pneumatology: The Holy Spirit in Ecumenical,
International, and Contextual Perspective (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002), ch 5.
- John Stott is unsure when it comes to the "how" he is
convinced that the majority of the unevangelised will be saved because of Gods great
mercy but is agnostic about how God will bring it to pass. Gary Phillips calls him a
positive agnostic. See John Stott and David Edwards, Essentials: A Liberal-Evangelical
Dialogue (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1988), 320-23.
- On prevenience, see Thomas A. Langford, Practical Divinity: Theology
in the Wesleyan Tradition (Nashville: Abingdon, 1983), 32-36.
- Randy Maddox, Responsible Grace: John Wesleys Practical
Theology (Nashville: Kingswood, 1994), 32-34.
- McGrath in Dennis L. Okholm and Timothy R. Phillips, eds., More Than
One Way? Four Views of Salvation in a Pluralist World (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995),
- J. Philip Newell, The Book of Creation: An Introduction to Celtic
Spirituality (New York: Paulist, 1999), xviii, 84, 86.
- Anselm Min in Bradford E. Hinze and D. Lyle Dabney, eds., Advents of
the Spirit: An Introduction to the Current Study of Pneumatology (Milwaukee: Marquette
University, 2001), 440-41.
- Amos Yong, "The Spirit Bears Witness: Pneumatology, Truth and
Religions" (ETS, 2002) 22.
- On this issue, see Winfried Corduan, A Tapestry of Faiths: The
Common Threads Between Christianity and World Religions (Downers Grove: InterVarsity,