Is Inclusivism Compassionate?

John G. Stackhouse Jr. is a professor of theology and culture at Regent College in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. He writes in a recent Christian Vision Project essay that, “it is obvious that one does not have to know about Jesus to adopt this posture that results in salvation.” Doug Wilson’s response to John Stackhouse’s inclusivist essay is excellent. In it, he makes the strong point that:

Ironically, this is why the inclusivist position requires us to start minimizing (in our own imaginations) how screwed up the world actually is. If we believe that millions of Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists are groping their way to God in the dark, then we have to look out at the world as though it were jammed full of good intentions. And the problem is that it isn’t.

So we don’t proclaim Jesus because we are fixing the problem of “not having heard about Jesus.” We proclaim Jesus because we are addressing the problem of death, genocide, hatred, murder, rape, slave prostitution, senseless war, snarling greed, and as they say on television, much, much more. The problem with the inclusivist position is not that it is eager for the people to be included — every Christian wants that. The problem is that when we define the standard downward like this, at the end of the day we find that we have included much more than the people — we have opened the door to great wickedness as well. This may sound outlandish, but there it is. Tender-hearted accommodation leads to great hardness of heart. And a hardline conservatism at this point, ironically, is tender-hearted.

So when I feel like being compassionate, do I point people to Jesus, or do I pander around their sin? What do you do? What do you believe? Let’s expose the heretic inclusivist within and kill him by the Spirit of Jesus.

(HT: JT)

PS – Stackhouse’s essay is just another reminder that not every writer (especially on the internet) who has cool graphics, an ultra-hip swagger, and a penchant for nifty God-monikers is telling the truth. Deceivers can take all kinds of forms. Emergent readers beware.


About B Treece
loved by God before I ever loved Him, saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone by the authority of the Bible alone to the glory of God alone, made to enjoy Him forever, happily married with wonder-filled children.

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