I really believe it is essential that I address the foolish and insidious nature of the doctrine of inclusionism. It has to be addressed and the Biblical truth has to be proclaimed. Before we go any further though and examine this idea, I have to explain what I am talking about.
Firstly, I need to say I believe the gospel is inclusive. Anyone can be saved – no matter their gender, race, previous religion and past. None of that is a barrier to what Jesus did at the cross. However, many things are good until you make an -ism out of them. Inclusion is the same, we all love inclusion, we love everyone, we love being included. We should include people. But if you start to make it an -ism, you distort it so badly and create a teaching that is more than just wrong, it is absolutely harmful to people. As a pastor, I have seen so many people harmed by inclusionism and I want to help people not harm them, so here are my thoughts on the matter.
So, let’s outline what inclusionism teaches. It’s not easy to explain, it’s not a simple system of belief, it is rather awkward and vague. Indeed, many people who teach inclusionism are – in my opinion – deliberately vague about how they teach it because they know how much it will shock people and deep down they know that it does not match the Scripture. But I will outline the key point.
Essentially, inclusionism is the belief that after the resurrection of Jesus everyone is saved. That when Jesus died on the cross, every human died with Him and when He was resurrected, every human was resurrected with Him. So every human subsequent to the resurrection of Jesus was born saved! Or to say it another way – every person was born born again.
So, everyone right now on the planet, according to inclusionism, is born again. Every atheist, every Muslim, every Buddhist. Everyone. Everyone is already righteous, everyone is saved, everyone is in union with Christ, everyone has a living spirit. Through the complete work of Christ, everyone is a recipient of God’s grace whether they believe it or not and whether they like it or not.
So every inclusionist is a universalist – they believe everyone is saved. In inclusionism you do not need faith to be saved, you just are.
That is what inclusionism is, and in my next post, we will look at it in the light of Scripture, specifically the freedom that God has given all of us to choose life.