Recovering the Exclusivity of the Gospel, Part 2

If one need not believe in Christ for salvation, then one need not tell others to believe in Christ.

Perhaps the tepidness of our witness is not due to out-of-date methodologies or insufficient training. Perhaps the problem—at its core—is convictional; is theological. Do we really believe that persons must believe in Jesus Christ to be saved?

 

“Does it matter what you believe as long as you are sincere?” I still remember, as a boy, posing that question to my mother. It may well have been my first theological inquiry, and it was prompted by an awareness that our neighbors went to a different church.

That question I first pondered as a child reverberates through churches, homes and lecture halls today. And, as demonstrated in “No Other Name: Recovering the Exclusivity of the Gospel Pt.1,” many evangelical church members answer that question with a resounding “no.”

In an age of doctrinal minimization, one can point to any number of theological challenges facing the church. Yet, neglecting the exclusivity of the gospel comes with tragic ramifications.

No Need to Evangelize

Without a Great Commission imperative established in the exclusivity of the gospel, the logic of evangelism collapses under its own weight. If one need not believe in Christ for salvation, then one need not tell others to believe in Christ.

Dean Kelly, in his “Why Conservative Churches Are Growing,” famously chronicled this very dynamic. Kelly juxtaposed the belief system of the mainline Protestant denominations with more conservative, evangelical ones and tracked how a church’s convictions regarding the Word of God and the gospel impacts one’s urgency in evangelism. To reject or minimize the former always adversely affects the latter.

Perhaps the tepidness of our witness is not due to out-of-date methodologies or insufficient training. Perhaps the problem—at its core—is convictional; is theological. Do we really believe that persons must believe in Jesus Christ to be saved?

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