Grace is Inclusive but Inclusionism is Not Grace

broken_carOne of these claims is not like the others. See if you can spot the difference…

“Believe and be saved” ~Jesus (Mk 16:16, Luk 8:12)
“Believe and be saved” ~Paul (Acts 16:31, Rom 10:9)
“You are saved. Believe it.” ~the Inclusionist

Do you know the difference between the gospel of grace and the doctrine of inclusion? Do you need to know? Yes, you do because one is good news and the other is not. The gospel of grace is the best news of all time but the doctrine of inclusion is a counterfeit to be wary of.

What is inclusionism?

The idea of universal inclusion comes in several shapes and sizes and it has been around for some time. The Mormons, for instance, hold to a doctrine of inclusion, but not all inclusionists are Mormon. Some inclusionists believe in the resurrection; others do not. But all inclusionists, by definition, agree that…

Jesus died and rose again not as one of us but as all of us and as a result everyone is as righteous and holy is he is. Everyone – whether they believe it or not – is included in Christ and is now saved and seated at the right hand of God.

You may ask, “Isn’t this universalism?”

It is not. A universalist preaches everyone will be saved but an inclusionist preaches, “Everyone was saved – they just don’t know it yet.” This is not universalism because the inclusionist doesn’t assume everyone will stay saved. “Persist in unbelief and you could yet lose your salvation.” In other words, you’re in until you’re out. Because of Jesus you were born inside the kingdom but you could yet find yourself ejected from the kingdom.

For my money, this is back to front. When it comes to the kingdom, you’re out until you’re in and then you’re in for good. God doesn’t kick his kids out of the family.

Of course, when I say things like this I am accused of elevating first Adam above last Adam. Since the two-Adam thing comes up a lot, I will address this point separately in another post.

Junk food at the table of abundance

Forgive me for being blunt, but the doctrine of inclusion is theological candy-floss. It’s insubstantial fluff that looks pretty and tastes good but, as we will see, is not good for you.

Since inclusion has become something of a hot topic you need to be able to recognize it. This is tricky because the language of inclusion is our language – it’s the language of grace. Grace is inclusive. Grace is universal. Grace is offered to everyone.

But while grace is inclusive, inclusionism is not grace. It is ungrace. Allow me to illustrate by comparing the two messages side by side:

The gospel of grace The inclusionist message
Jesus loves you and wants to share his life with you forever. Receive his love and you will cross over from condemnation to new life. In union with Christ your future is secure because those who come to him will never be cast away. Jesus married you against your will but that’s okay because once you get to know him you’ll love him. But if you decide you don’t want to spend eternity with him, he’ll kick you out of the kingdom. So get with the program and start smiling.

I admit, this is an unflattering caricature of the inclusionist message. You’ll find nothing so clearly stated in their writings. That’s because inclusionists tend to be vague when it comes to unpacking the implications of universal inclusion. On the surface inclusionism appears as a river of truth flowing with the language of grace. But drink the water and you will surely taste the ungrace that robs people of their freedom and security.

Big claims, I know. But stick with me because in this short series of posts, I will give you tools to help you to; (a) recognize the doctrine of inclusion, (b) distinguish it from the gospel of grace, and (c) decide what you want to do with it.

Please understand that my heart is not to play doctrinal policeman. This isn’t about getting our doctrinal ducks in a row. We’re all learning and I don’t claim to have it all figured out. But it seems to me that in the market for ideas, you are not being given a fair choice.

Since I started writing about this inclusion stuff, I’ve received messages like this: “I call myself an inclusionist, but what you are saying about inclusionism is horrible. I don’t believe that. I’ve never even heard that before.” That’s probably because you’re getting your theology off Facebook. If you’re only getting sound-bites and video clips you’re not getting the full story.

When I became aware of inclusionism a few years ago, I was intrigued. I went to the original sources. I read the books, heard the preachers, and approached the loudest voices because I wanted the full picture. I asked a lot of questions. And I discovered the trailer is nothing like the movie.

My concern is that when you hear about inclusionism you may not be getting all the facts. My purpose is to present a more complete picture so you can make an informed choice.

The dangers of inclusionism

I’ll be honest – I have strong views on this subject. I consider universal inclusion to be as gracious as a home invasion. I’m sorry if that shocks you, but inclusionism is shocking. Strip away the borrowed grace clothing and what remains is an appalling portrayal of God’s love and our freedom.

I might be wrong about inclusionism and if so, I will apologize. But if I am wrong, the damage will be minimal – the gospel will still be preached. But if I am right about the dangers of inclusionism, the damage could be catastrophic. That’s what we risk when we tell the lost they are safe and sound and when we tell the saint that their salvation is contingent on maintaining their beliefs.

Perhaps you have already bought into this idea of universal inclusion. If so, I hope you kept the receipt! You have been sold a dodgy car. After we take it for a drive through the highways and byways of the new covenant, its shortcomings will become obvious to you. You’ll want to cash in that clunker.

For now I simply want to remind you that the gospel Jesus revealed and Paul preached invites a response to God’s grace. When I’m talking to people who have never met Jesus, I don’t tell them, “You’re already in a relationship with him, you just don’t know it.” Instead, I use the same inviting language Jesus used (Mt 11:28, 19:14, John 5:40, 6:37, 44, 65, 7:37), and the apostles used (Acts 3:19, 20:21, 26:20). I say, “Believe the good news and come to Jesus.”

inclusionist_invitation

Faith is not a work, it’s a response and, one way or the other, everybody responds. Some look at Jesus and smile; others frown and turn away. The inclusionist is like the mall photographer saying, “Everybody’s smiling,” but they are not and it’s silly to pretend they are.

As always, the gospel of grace is our standard. It is the only message we have been commissioned to preach (Mark 16:15) and it is the only message that reveals the God’s saving power to a lost and hurting world (Rom 1:16). Any other message – no matter how appealing – ought to be rejected as an inferior alternative.

[Have you encountered inclusionism before? Are you interested in how it relates to grace? If so, would you drop me a brief note below? I’m trying to gauge the level of interest in this subject. I think it's a big deal, but that may be just me.]

Related posts:
Did all die with Christ? (And what does it matter?)
Forgive, reconciled, and saved?
Why do people need to receive the gift of forgiveness if the whole world is already forgiven?

Comments

  1. I don’t think I heard anybody talking about this subject, but I am definitely interested to know haw to stay away of this false teachings. Thanks!

    • roosmarcel says:

      This is the only teaching there is, Jesus is Lord, you can not make Jesus Lord of your life, there’s not such a thing in the bible, God made Jesus Lord of All, Christ came to fullfill the law the psalms and the prophets, so get that legalism out of your system and proclame Jesus is Lord and King of Kings

    • roosmarcel says:

      For as in Adam ALL die, so in Christ ALL will be made alive. (Paul)

  2. Aitee Abraham says:

    No longer, then, do we judge anyone by human standards. Even if at one time we judged Christ according to human standards, we no longer do so-2cor5:14-16GNT
    There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.Gal3:28KJV
    Paul,thanks for this post but all these name you mention is not the gospel we’re all one in Christ because Christ died for all,was buried for all,was raised for all and is seated for all-the gospel has nothing to do with factions(christian,believers,universalist,inclutionist etc) you mentioned,what matter is for God so love the world including the unborn generation…the Lamp of God that taken aware the sin of the world…
    if your idea of grace is “Believe and be saved”,Believe and enter Christ then your study of faith will follow your belief system which will implies work.Paul, are you saying that you were born again the day you believe instead of 2000yrs ago?waiting for your clarification in reply.thanks

  3. Hey Paul, thanks for sharing your thoughts on inclusionism. It is really surprising me how many of the “grace” crowd are moving towards the inclusionistic side of things. It really troubled me some months back when I really became aware of it and what inclusionism essentially is saying “All are saved and some just don’t know it yet (sleeping).” In other words, faith is not necessary unto salvation. Obviously, as you know there are SO many scriptures that are in conflict with this idea, but the handful that seem to support inclusionism are the only ones brought up time and again. Its interesting to note as well that inclusionism will inherently appeal to the “grace crowd” more than other facets of Christianity because we do place much emphasis on God’s goodness and unconditional love. In my opinion inclusionism plays a lot off the idea that a good God would not send anyone to everlasting torment, thereby taking that thought and running out to their “logical” conclusion and saying that He doesn’t at all, and not only that, hell or whatever name we want to use for hell doesn’t even exist in any form, its all a myth!

    I don’t know brother, to me there are just too many scriptures that we would have to just throw away or completely ignore in order for inclusionism to work. But hey, we could just say the Bible is invalid and that it is chock full of errors and that would just take care of that for us then wouldn’t it?! haha.

    Cheers bro and thank you for being one of the few to really honestly delve into this and spend serious time thoroughly searching it out.

    • We could just say the Bible is chock full of errors and that would just take care of that for us then wouldn’t it? ha ha wow that is exactly what they’re doing. I believe it’s correct to say there are many errors in the good ole K.J.V. and many of the newer translations too. But to get the bible to say what this new doctrine of inclusion is saying we would honestly have to redo the ENTIRE bible and pray nobody ever finds the real manuscripts. i have been listening to alot of different people and some of them are very good in so many things they say but then they give it that twist,” all humanity is in union with Christ” at the end and i say ,” huh?” I am still always a little confused at what exactly they are saying. I’m beginning to think that in itself should let me know something is wrong.

  4. “That’s what we risk when we tell the lost they are safe and sound and when we tell the saint that their salvation is contingent on maintaining their beliefs.” I agree, this shocking and dangerous.

    Before your posts on hell I would not have been very interested in this. After seeing those comment threads, I think it would be very helpful to shed some light on inclusionism and univeralism. I discovered in those threads, as you said, the language that is used sounds like the gospel of grace at first, but beneath the surface it’s quite different and even dangerous.Thank you

  5. Debbie Winkelmann says:

    Yes I would like to hear more! :)

  6. janet cadieux says:

    Thank you for clearing up for me what ‘inclusion’ means. I would not call myself one of those, due to the fact that because I do not believe a ‘believer’ could ever lose their salvation. I find the confusion comes from understanding what salvation itself is, and how it is made secure. As I see it, salvation is a free gift given to all men, by HIS work on the cross, but that salvation is not ‘secure’ until we believe the good news. Once we believe the good news, we cannot EVER unbelieve, because He promises to keep us, no matter what.

    I see in the bible that the word ‘salvation’ is an ongoing event…began by Jesus Himself, but, freewill is what secures our salvation. (the choice). Being cut off the Vine, will occur for those who choose to not believe. I am a staunch believer in once saved, always saved, when the person has made the choice to beleive.

    So, what would you call me? I certainly do not fit the mold of inclusionism, nor do I fit the mold of universalism, but, I do believe salvation itself was given to all men, as a free gift, without the aid of any human hands, by the work of the cross alone, but, this is when God demanded all men repent and believe, or be cut off.

    I wanted to respond, so as to make sure you do not think I believe that a believer could be cut off, EVER.

    • pilgrim66 says:

      Hi Janet….just wanted to add this thought: He promises to “keep” (as you said) those who _hear_ His voice and _follow_ Him.

      The idea comes from the familiar, but often partially (mis)quoted John 10:27-28…”My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”

      Many read this wonderful promise to the sheep of Christ’s fold as if it said: “They will never perish whether they hear and follow or not.” We have to be careful not to apply the security promised to Christ’s sheep with the inevitable insecurity suffered by those who do not hear and follow.

    • roosmarcel says:

      In John 3(16) Christ proclamed all those who believe in Me, in John 12 it says nobody believed (that jesus was the Christ), so Christ had to die for our unbelief, the original sin of Adam, but the last Adam was faithfull to the end and payed the price for the sin of the world. Is the gospel too good to be true? Yes and no, it can only be understood with the heart not with the carnal mind.

  7. Michael and Kimberly says:

    Paul, yes, yes, and a resounding yes! We also were intrigued by this doctrine when some close friends of ours became involved and introduced us to it. We have also been introduced to, and have heard in person, some of the “loudest voices”, read some of the books, and have seen many blogs on the subject. We have had many discussions and debates over it. We came to the same conclusion as you, that there are some significant differences between this message and the gospel of grace found in the Bible that we read. We also feel that the promoters are vague on the surface, and that the message is not presented “complete”, but instead comes under the guise of grace when it is not.

    After an initial period of indignation, resistance, and heated debating, we have found ourselves far less willing to fight over this, chalking it up instead as another (very carefully said) false doctrine right up there with Calvanism, universalism, and the like. We see very little difference in construction, for example, between this doctrine and hyper-sovereign Calvinism, we see a reinterpretation of Scripture similar to the way the Jehovah’s Witnesses have done, and many other details preached which, although there may be some Scriptural basis for them, lead to incorrect conclusions.

    So we find that we are more prone now to simply continue to preach, speak, and communicate the simple message of grace by faith. We appreciate your boldness on this subject!

  8. thanks for sharing your insights on this subject with us. You are an instrument of the Holy Spirit talking to many many people through this venue, and defending the purity of the Gospel. Have you considered how to answer the argument that you are applying marriage metaphorically, in its western concept and the Jewish marriage tradition of 1st century was “arranged ” by the father?(ie irresistable grace) also consider Romans 9:13-18

  9. Thank you once again for helping to clarify what is moving through the midst of the body. I have seen how a specific body has come into the revelation of God’s grace and then heard this message and turn towards it, as though it were more revelation about grace. There are so many scriptures that can help us avoid falling prey to this, but many of those who want to believe in this doctrine refuse to accept these scriptures as fact. Ironically these were people who fought for the truth of scriptures to reveal the message of grace. Blessings my brother.

  10. Ron Webber says:

    Great discussion. Sometimes I get concerned about black and white thinking (my not-always so-helpful-default) as being too rigid and not taking into account some of the mystery of God, leaving room for differing interpretations, etc. Though there is certainly the highest place reserved for Truth! Does believing and receiving truth make anything true that already was? There are elements of transactionalism at different points in these debates amongst people I respect, some or all of which may be the truth! I do like the “freedom to chose” idea in life and accepting a marriage proposal, but get stymied over “being made alive in Christ when I was dead in my transgression”, and being “chosen BEFORE the foundation of the world.” Did I gain my adoption and get my made alive and sonship status by believing and receiving it? I’m hearing that I was forgiven and reconciled at the cross, but saved and adopted upon believing and receiving. Could I, in my darkened understanding, choose and make my new life happen? I guess if the HS quickened me. I have been debating these for 2 years in my mind and I’m getting weary! have seen both sides and see elements of good news on some of each of these points. Not all gracers or inclusionists can be lumped together. I’ve never been called a fence sitter, but I lay down my desire for complete understanding and trust in Him and His love for all my current unknowns. Some enjoy a good debate to firm up their convictions, others get stressed and discouraged over the tones and attitudes strong disagreements can bring. The HS guides each of us into truth. Enjoy and respect your passionate blog!

    • I think this is a great comment. I would love to hear what paul has to say about your response Ron. I have seen both sides and would love clarity. :)

  11. Dear, Thanks for the post, inclusion sounds grace and very logical. The fact that Jesus died according to the wisdom of God is taken as a unilateral step to save all without their knowledge or belief. It puzzles when some preach that even scripture could be wrong bringing doubtful logic sound more relevant, Jesus is the alpha and omega of faith, those who believe will not perish.

  12. Joe A.Serge says:

    If we reject Christ’s atoning sacrifice through Calvary’s cross to lift our condemnation and as a result perish, doesn’t that suggest Jesus failed to save those the Father in eternity gave Jesus to save?

    • This is a very interesting topic for me because this theology was introduced to me through a near and dear family member. He calls it Trinitarian Theology. I have studied his beliefs for 5 years now and it still seems to contradict itself. First of all I think we all individually have to believe in Christ and accept His sacrifice for our sins. I believe God calls us through His Holy Spirit and we have a choice to make whether we will choose Eternal Life with Christ or Death. Rom. 10:9,10. (Read) When are we saved or included “In Christ”…Eph. 1:13 And you also were INCLUDED in Christ when YOU HEARD THE MESSAGE OF TRUTH, the GOSPEL OF YOUR SALVATION. When YOU BELIEVED, you were MARKED in him with a SEAL, the PROMISED HOLY SPIRIT. Christ died for all, He did all that could be done for our salvation, we can’t do anything to add to what He did, but we do have to make that decision whether we will believe or not. God want all people to be saved but He will not force anyone. I Tim. 2:4. (Read) Chose “us” Christians, not the whole World, Eph. 1:4, For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love
      See Eph. 1:1 to see to who the letter of Ephesians was written to. God DOES OFFER salvation to ALL! Titus 2:11 (Read). Just my thoughts…

  13. Well said. I think it’s a big deal too. Not to argue but to help people who are discovering grace know where the boundaries are. My biggest issue with inclusionism (good distinction) is the born again experience is invalidated. The new creation reality and indwelling of God’s spirit happens at the point of belief yet it’s unnecessary if we’re all included. Something Jesus said must happen is thrown away. One person said it’s funny how that was just “Nick at night” and there was no one else around. Well, the Holy Spirit must have been listening because it’s in the book. I appreciate your posts.

  14. Just my 2 cents on the subject.

    It seems to me that the real issue with inclusionism is that it could cause sinners to miss the greatest news about being a Christian, that is that by coming to Christ we can rest IN THIS LIFE and don’t have to wait on God’s return. Now I admit that I am very near to being a Universalist, I think that in the end everyone will have a chance to accept Christ as Lord and Savior but that some will chose (even when seeing him on the judgement throne) to walk away from him (Did Thomas not doubt until he saw the wounds?). With such a belief it is not Heaven that I long for but peace with Christ HERE AND NOW!.

    When the Holy Spirit came to us it brought the peace of heaven with it. Believers choose to live in that peace, unbelievers choose not to.

  15. if you compare it to other religion,its the same story,its yours,but dont screw up, or your out,not a good foundation to work from. interesting how people will accept conditional salvation, [the nature of the beast]. in us,and when we begin to renew our mind,and realize,that he is the only one that can maintain our salvation. the light comes on and like Andrew Wommack says,when you find out that you cant maintain it, you say [ AND GEE I WAS DOING SO GOOD.] I think ive said this before,but hey its worth repeating …………. A little something I never knew Satan. of hebrew origin [the adversary ,accuser etc we knew this ,there is a note in reference to
    Chaldee origin corresponding to MA’BAD (with the definite affix); the accuser, i.e. The devil — Satan, if you look up MA’BAD, The definition is [ WORKS]…I thought that was interesting,if Im understanding it correctly.
    .

    • Tom Winzenburg says:

      Earl – I just listened to a great message by a guy named Jeff Turner that addresses exactly what you just referenced re Satan and Works. Google him and his ministry Sound of Awakening and look for his message titled “Satan….” Jeff talks fast and it is a fairly long message, but I think you’ll really enjoy what he says! (stay with the message through the end)

  16. Great article Paul – really insightful and helpful. I think a lot of the confusion comes with our language of “saved” and “unsaved” in the church. The problem is that the Bible uses “saved” in different ways.

    Jesus saved us from our sins, but that doesn’t mean we are saved INTO all God has for us and have the Holy Spirit in us and sealing us. That requires me to accept His gift of grace and faith. So is everyone saved? Well from sins yes… from the consequences of not accepting their forgiveness? No.

    • Something you almost never talked about these days is the idea that we are saved from God’s wrath – it’s very un-PC, yet this is what Paul says we are saved from in Romans 5:9. God’s wrath was poured out on sin at the cross (Rom 8:3). On account of Adam, sin was a problem. On account of Christ, sin is no longer the problem.

      Paul said God’s wrath is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness – it’s right there after our favorite gospel verse (Rom 1:18). For hundreds of years we have tried to deal with God on the basis of sin, which is an old covenanty thing to do. (Not saying sin isn’t destructive.) But God deals with us on the basis of Christ, which is a new covenanty thing to do. I guess the question is not, are you a sinner or not? But are you a Christ-er, or Christian, or not? It’s not, what have you done with sin? But what have you done with Christ? God’s wrath is revealed not against sinners, per se, but those who scorn Christ.

      • Absolutely Paul – beautifully put.

        I’ve stopped using the saying saved/unsaved as it puts blame on God.

        I don’t like putting “blame” on anyone but I think believer/unbeliever puts it firmly in our court anyway you cut it. :)

        Thanks so much again for sharing so brilliantly!

    • Well said Phil, well said. Love your writings and posts as well bro. Blessings!

  17. Diana Komavli says:

    Very well said, Paul. I think many people have an idea that all roads lead to the same place, no matter what their beliefs are. This would counter any need for Jesus. As Christians, we need to think for ourselves based on what God’s Word says, and not just “drink the KoolAid” because then “I’m okay, you’re okay”. God is not willing that any should perish, but that’s exactly what’s happening because our society is teaching secular humanism. There is one Truth, it is absolute, and it is Jesus. And He wants everyone to know Him, and to come to Him.

  18. Thanks Paul! I gain much insight on inclusionism from your sharing. Most of the churches in the East are facing the problem of law/legalism; inclusionism is not really a hot issue over here.

  19. pilgrim66 says:

    I find that the same argument you use against inclusionists works just as well against your view of grace. You argue (and rightly so) that inclutionists propose a God that saves people against their wills and forces grace on those that do not love or care anything about Christ.

    Here’s the inconsistency I see: At the same time _you_ argue for the salvation of those who may have made a decision for Christ, but yet deny Him by their lives and/or works…just as the inclusionist does, but without the one-time “decision.” In both cases, however, God forces Himself on the disinterested. The language of scripture is in Titus 1: “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.”

    How is it that the inclusionist is guilty of forcing grace on those who couldn’t care less about Christ, but you are not when you promise heaven to the abominable, disobedient “Christian” who denies Christ? I surely could be wrong, but as I see it you teach just a more “exclusive” brand of inclusionism.

    • pilgrim66 Thanks for your comment. There is a clear cut difference between the gospel of grace and inclusionism. From the verse you quoted in Titus 1:16 “They profess that they know God” the word profess used is the greek work “homologeo” which means “to assent”. When we who preach grace say once you have experienced the new birth you cant lose it, it’s because when you are born again you “believe in your heart” and “confess or profess with our mouth”. But these set of people profess only that they know God, it’s just a mental acknowledgement. There is a difference between professors and possessors.

    • the abominable, disobedient “Christian” who denies Christ? ……..oxymoron or paradox? actually i wonder about some people, by the way they behave,but its not my call.

  20. Paul,

    yes. I have encountered them and i feel terribly sad to part ways with them. as most of them are friends. once upon a time we shared the same persecution. shared the same food. and yes, i supported them until they started preaching something else.

    however painful it is, the true gospel must be preach.

    most of the arguments are “if you are a father, you see your child on the street and a truck headed to run over your child. will you ask your child to believe? or save your child by pulling him away?”

    hard question to answer. but my answer is this

    “it is not a question of potential death. we are all dead. so the illustration is wrong”

    sorry for the long comment :)

    – grace and peace

    • Joshua Baru says:

      Good day to you savedbygrace..

      That’s a very good answer and i can relate and understand. It’s just that the way it’s answered isn’t as what the illustration intended.

      And yes, inclusion’ism’ and grace’ism’ don’t always agree with each other and contradicts at certain points. I am still struggling with both but believe that HS is leading me regardless.

      But what’s really sad about all this is losing friendships, a disconnect that runs deeper than just what we believe. I rather give up all what i know and believe so i can freely love others for God is love right?

      I might be wrong, but till then i know that God is good. And if it may be, that’s the only truth i’ll bring with me, to the graves.. ;)

      Love you savedbygrace and i pray the very best for you and loved ones..

  21. well paul, you know that i have been trying to get my head around inclusionism lol!
    having been raised mormon, it took my eyes being opened by grace to even understand that their secret temple busy-ness is all about doing the physical works for people who didnt accept “the only true gospel” while they were alive – so they can be saved from hell post-mortem… not to become “gods and goddesses” like the ones ones who did the works on their behalf, mind you, but saved from hell nonetheless.

  22. I’ve came across the “trailers” and sounds bites a lot but I’ve never bought into them. Although, I have been a little curious about it. I would very much like to hear more of what you have to say about it.

  23. Lyn Packer says:

    its great you are covering this, I have actually heard a couple of Christians say that everyone is saved they just don’t know it yet and I disagreed and said so stating what the Bible does say but I don’t really know what inclusionists believe so these articles will be very helpful

  24. I have not heard this theory before, but it most certainly is a dangerous one! I also shared this on facebook so that the message would get out. That’s why it is SO important to rightly divide the word of truth! (2Tim 2:15) Please, teach more about this, I’d like to learn more.

  25. I like the analogy of the Father and the son/daughter. We are all offspring of God. Our natural children/grandchildren are always in our love and protection, whether they feel it or not. Our children were never our enemies and our sacrifice for them is unconditional. The same with our heavenly Daddy.

    Using the anology of the bride and groom doesn’t fit concerning inclusion as it assumes each party is from a different family (insiders and outsiders). Satan never created/birthed anyone.

    • The analogy is common in inclusionists’ writings although they might prefer to say union, rather than marriage. “Humanity is in union with Christ.” The insider/outsider distinction is perhaps best illustrated in Jesus’ words: “I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”

      • Ron Webber says:

        I believe my grace pastor recently used this scripture but was interpreting it as Jesus actually knocking on the door of believers to know him more intimately by growing in our knowledge of Him as we “repent” and see more of Him for who He is.

      • I too have heard similar things. Yet Jesus said he and the Father would come and make his home with us (John 14:23). For Jesus to say he’s with us and not with us is confusing. My view is the wretched, poor, naked, and blind Laodiceans needed to repent of their self-righteousness and get saved. Jesus was speaking to people who didn’t know him.

  26. I think this subject needs to be addressed. There’s alot of confusion out there. This article is very good! :-)

  27. I think it’s important to have some level of understanding regarding what various religious sects believe. It helps us to be equipped to engage them from a foundation of Biblical truth. The Gospel is relational and filled with love, but we need to have a solid framework of Biblical truth in order to present the truth correctly.

    • I don’t know that I would call inclusionists a sect, since many of them are friends of mine. Indeed, I don’t even like using the word “they” since grace is supposed to be inclusive.

      I think we all stay on safer ground by speaking to the idea being propagated rather than those who hold it. At the end of the day, people are more important than doctrine. Consider Jesus. He died for sinners and their doctrine was all shot to hell. :)

  28. Didn’t your last comment shoot to hell the need for your article, and the importance of the divisive nature of “getting it right”, when anything can be proved from Scripture anyway? Can we not just love people? Hasn’t doctrine caused enough heartache over thousands of years? We never were saved by right doctrine. Perhaps what God did in Christ was bigger than our opinions about what he did. Perhaps we should just begin to trust that God got it right, and trust in his goodness, instead of perpetuating the formation of “camps” within the faith. It is so tribal, and the tribes are always at war. I know that I, for one, am over it. You never said a truer word than “people are more important than doctrine.”

    • I don’t think so. This isn’t so much about getting things right or wrong. This is about giving people choices and having a conversation about a topic that is evidently popular. I have an opinion on this subject, as do others on this thread. It’s not real or healthy to pretend people aren’t divided on this issue. I wouldn’t call them camps or tribes, so much as differences of opinion. We need not be threatened by different views but rather see this as an honest opportunity to love one another in spite of our differences.

      I am very open to the possibility that God did much more than we can perceive or imagine. I am less open to the notion that Jesus has been misquoted.

      • Paul I wrote my other comment to gaye before I read yours,years ago a man who was my Elder,took me under his wing used to say,God is big enough to make it all happen, and ive always believed that.he is very ABLE.

    • good point gaye , sometimes in our effort to persue the truth we make a law,I think Paul is well aware of that, his discernment is tuned,you almost have to be a diplomat, somewhere between being able to say nice doggy till you find a big stick and….. saying it in love………..and since im into Will Rogers this morning, something he said is one of my goals as a christian………I want to be the kind of person my dog thinks i am.

  29. Where was all humanity when Adam sinned? In Adam. (Married to sin against our will it would seem…)
    Where was all humanity when Christ died? In Christ!
    Where was all humanity when Christ was buried? In Christ!
    Where was all humanity when Christ was raised? In Christ!
    Any choice here? Nope, Nope, Nope, and Nope…
    Who put all humanity in Christ? The Father (1 Cor 1:30) (any choice? Not yet.)
    Where was the Father during all this? In Christ Reconciling the world to Himself… (2 Cor 5:19)

    Is Christ in all humanity? Nope!! Not unless they invite Him in by grace through faith = ‘SAVED!’ (now here is the choice!! Rom 10:9-10)
    Now those who have received Christ are in perfect union with Him and can never be un-unioned (i know, not a word) for we were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise (Col 2:20). We are the Fathers beloved Son’s and He is well pleased with us!! (as He is so are we in this world 1 John 4:17)
    How someone could reject this great salvation still baffles me, but some will. Father has made it so easy. Nothing to do, only believe in Jesus Finished work for themselves!

    • Where was all humanity when Christ died? In Christ!
      Where was the ‘all’ who will accept Christ when He died? In Christ!
      All those who will reject Christ cannot be INCLUDED.
      You just need to sort out who the ‘all’ is referring to.

      • All is all! It is religion that make distinctions where there are none. Just like All your sin past, present, and future were forgiven In Christ. Go look up that Greek word for All…and remember that when Christ died ALL humanity were still sinners. Being in Christ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘saved’…therein lies choice–all are INCLUDED but some will accept Him (rest in His finished work) and some will reject Him (rest in their own works).

      • I am learning that there are different flavors to inclusionism, even on this thread. Some here are universalist-inclusionists (forgive the labelling!). You, Mark, seem to be at the other end – an inclusionist who doesn’t say everyone is saved. That kind of makes me wonder how a person can be in Christ and unsaved since Christ is definitely saved (however you define it), but that’s for another time perhaps. I’m just celebrating the differences here.

      • Michael and Kimberly says:

        I agree whole-heartedly with your point here, Paul, and believe that it is very important and needs to be considered in future blogs, specifically, the full implication of everyone being included as Mark originally commented.
        I would also like to point out to Mark that your first comment in your Reply above says “It is religion that makes distinctions where there are none.” Yet, this is one of the very first reasons I rejected these concepts, from the very first time I heard the ideas…the New Testament uses many distinctions! Saint/sinner, church/world, believer/unbeliever, etc. The general language of the New Testament is NOT the language of inclusion, at least not based on the way the message of inclusion is being preached and taught.

  30. Aitee Abraham says:

    Paul,I might not be logical about this your post,the gospel has nothing to do with Jesus life and some of His statements before the cross in the four gospel or about Paul’s life after and before he discovered that he was saved.Paul assignment was to preach in such away that all men will see that were saved so that they can believe Eph3:8-10,he made a prayer that the eyes of their heart be flooded with light so that they will know and understand that the whole world were saved,seated and in Christ already and they cannot loose that salvation even if they refuse to believe it.that is when unbelievers and believers comes in.both were saved and seated by Grace but believers are the one that see it and enjoy but unbelievers are not seeing it and they cannot enjoy it because of the blindness of their mind.2cor4:4 and Eph4:17-18.
    Your post have changed it to believe and be saved then what did Jesus do at the cross?instead of YOU ARE SAVED believe.

  31. I have come to the conclusion that ‘Jesus died not just for us but for the whole world,’ He died as sin and took away the thing that separated His creation from Him. Humanity was reborn 2000 years ago. I don’t believe you can then lose this …..I think this whole thing is much deeper than we can think it out, and this grace message has ignited the fire of discovery. I have thought very much on this subject and am delving… I like your writing. Father is taking his kids somewhere to reveal Himself to the world and we’re on the way there… tho I don’t think we’ve totally got it yet.

    • Mandy, I totally agree that Jesus took away the sin of the world. This is a great thing, worth shouting from the rooftops! Adam has been removed from the equation. But that doesn’t mean the world has been filled with the Holy Spirit. If it did, how are we to account for the various stories of this happening in the NT? People are radically changed when they encounter the Holy Spirit.

      • I’ve heard Bob George use the illustration of a man dying from cancer. If you could do only one thing for him, what would it be. Bring back life? Then he would still die from the cancer. Get rid of cancer? Then he would be a cancer free corpse.

  32. I commented on your previous post that the options and views present were limited and misrepresentative, but it seems that the same has been done here again.

    First, the word “saved” can refer to different things of the past, present, and future (as it does in the scriptures). For example (depending on your interpretation), it could mean being saved from the effects of the fall, being saved continuously as in experiencing freedom and life, or being saved from a future eschatological hell. In this article you lumped all meanings into one (probably the hell one).

    This invalidates your definition of inclusionist; you said they preach “Everyone was saved – they just don’t know it yet.” This statement is confusing in light of the various ways that the scriptures use “save.” I know of an entire inclusionist body (Grace Communion International) that believes everyone was included in the work of Christ (and thus all were saved) but not all will necessarily end up with God eternally (not all have been saved, at least yet). The point is that they use “save” in different ways. Thus, people like them have been misrepresented.

    I’ve also already commented on a lot of what is in this post, such as relying on the marriage metaphor and that everybody still responds even in an inclusionist understanding (and thus free will is still significant). I think I’ve already gone to show that the view I set forth is plausible as well.

    • I think what is confusing is offering multiple definitions of the word “saved” and telling people they are but they aren’t and need to be.

      • Not if you explain it. And it’s not that difficult to do, as I just did. Besides, if you don’t people will be confused anyways because they will read their singular definition of “saved” into the scriptures, which use the word in multiple ways. That seems like a much worse confusion.

    • If Paul made a mistake it was not saying the same thing more slowly so all the intellectuals could get on board.

  33. Jeanie Killion says:

    Yes, write more, please.

  34. Don Every says:

    Hi Paul, in response to the Grace vs Inclusion article below, you invite comments, so here are some from me (Don Every, Australia). A great part of being drawn into Father’s grace is that I no longer need to take a stand on anything to the extent I exclude all else. That being said, I am content with much I know but other stuff just won’t work out neatly, for the moment anyway. Thanks then for what you say here. This divide is part of the unresolved issues I hold in tension right now. I won’t go into it in any detail for now but I wonder if some of the verses you cite are directed at Israel and not us. That would explain their need to respond, repent, return, obey, serve, etc. As we were never in that economy and were ‘far off’, our inclusion (resulting from God’s rejection of the Jews and for a set time) is truly free and settled. Now I know that opens up some issues but I’m letting it sit for as long as is needed while I keep resting in the Father in Christ. I don’t do jigsaw puzzles but my wife and I do the weekly giant crossword puzzle in the local newspaper and we always have to let it go after doing battle several times each week. Often the answer comes with work or in a flash of recognition and other times we have to go to various kinds of helps in dictionaries. Sometimes we have to trust the compiler but don’t agree with the word he/she has chosen for the clue. That’s how I feel about issues with the faith, but I always trust Father as He makes Himself known more and more in these processes. The issue for me is exactly what occurs when I ‘receive’ Him, or is it simply setting my mind on His completed work. (metanoia? Turning?) I do that regularly, especially when I find myself taking on burdens that He is bearing and trying to fix things He has safely in hand. I know for sure I can do that. As for others, my only sure answer is to love them as if they are all deeply beloved by God – and isn’t that so! You see I don’t have all the responsibility of other people. God interacts with everyone because He’s not scared or disgusted at our imperfection. I tend to do what is asked of me, with the faith given for that thing at that time, and leave the rest to Him. So that might help Paul. Love is the key, but knowing Father’s ways as we snuggle in His arms is great too.

    Warm regards,

    Don

  35. Inclusionists do not seem to value the born-again experience which anyone would cherish and benefit to a lot around them(its not a life limited to in a building called church) wherever they live as the fruit of their tree is of the TRUE vine.

  36. I don’t know all the “inclusionists” or what they’ve said, or how people have interpreted and misinterpreted what they have said, but I think part of the problem is some people are thinking and talking about eternal realities such as “the Lamb slain from before the foundation (or casting down) of the kosmos”, all humanity being included in Christ, us having died with Christ before we were even born, etc.

    And then others are coming along and debunking those ideas from a temporal perspective with their own “proof” texts. But in the eternal perspective time gets compressed, expanded and flipped on it’s head so the two groups are talking about apples and oranges. And It’s like a sci-fi novel where time travel is allowed. You can get into all kinds of paradoxes.

    One thing that worries me is all the people who are jumping on your bandwagon, Paul, and gushing thanks for you for warning them, etc. Where is hearing from Holy Spirit who leads us into all Truth in that? I think instead of telling people what to believe, you should be teaching them how to learn from Holy Spirit. I expect you to lay out your opinion, but maybe you could lay off so much rhetorical & dismissive language.of the other side. .

    • I take it you disagree with the post.

    • Great reply . it is true that we have a choice to make but also have no choice when you are able to see this you see how awesome our God is, it is only our restriction of him leads to our confusion.

    • I can’t speak for Paul, but it seems he assumes his reader has studied the scriptures and has a good framework from which to evaluate his opinion. Then it becomes a matter of how to quit trying to force a puzzle piece and ‘viola’, it fits perfectly in another area.

    • I agree that we all should learn to hear from the Holy Spirit, but you must agree that the Holy Spirit can also teach through people or you would not have written your comment. I believe what Paul is doing here also helps many to get free from bondages that are not teachings of the Holy Spirit.

      Blessings

  37. I am still a bit confused about inclusion verses universalism, so will look forward to seeing a series done on this. I thought they were one and the same thing. Great post. Well done again. :)

    • Universalism = all will be saved. Inclusionism = all were saved (but some may become unsaved).

      • oh ok. Quite different. Thanks for the clarity. :)

      • Ahh – that was a helpful distinction.

      • so, i am wondering if it would be correct to conclude that universalists do not believe in free will, but that inclusionists do?
        and which is it that believes that men get a second chance to be saved after death?

      • Michael and Kimberly says:

        jennie, neither really do…so without going into “why” the two say this, the conclusions are: Universalism is essentially the belief that God won’t put anyone into hell (or that hell as we think of it doesn’t really exist) so all will be saved at the end. A person’s choice does not enter into the equation, but the person may not find out about it until the very end.

        Inclusionism is essentially the belief that God saved everyone already as part of Christ’s work, so all are already saved. Again, a person’s choice does not enter into the equation, but because everyone doesn’t know it yet, someone only has to preach that good news to them so they can know about it and enjoy it.

  38. There’s no judgement intended through this discussions but in a secular society the tree is known by its fruit thus its useful to know which is real and which is duplicate to enjoy the benefits of life in Christ.

  39. I came from mixed Gospel church of Law & Grace, and my life had a revolutionized transformation when my wife brought me to New Creation Church Singapore, Ps. Joseph Prince, and so far I have not yet met nor heard any teaching on Universal-ism nor Inclusion ism, if you can tell me which churches or preachers are examples from each of both above ? Thank you

  40. By the way, I did encounter some extreme grace community in that they really divide anything between law and grace so carefully and so detail, that not to touch anything of law (work) like something very taboo. receiving Jesus for the first time (sinner’s prayer) for example, was called “work” by them. Exercising faith in Jesus is it work ?
    No I do not believe exercising faith is work, as faith is the opposite of work, although faith can produce a good fruit of work. What do you think my brother ? Thank you.

  41. I enjoyed your article and learning about inclusionism, universalism, vs grace, as well as reading through all the comments thus far. It definitely answered so many questions I had developed while noting differences of interpretations and explanatory language ALL on facebook. LOL….This was good, please share more! :)

  42. I’m enjoying the discovery of my union with Jesus. I’m enjoying the thoughts, pondering and questions that arise from my relationship with him. As a believer of 9 years I have more question now then ever before and that’s ok, He loves our questions :) I wonder if we are ever meant to get out of that “what’s this, what’s that” stage of childlike intrigue and wonder. I love that Papa is fully inclusive and universal in His Character. I had an amazing ‘born again’ experience that has been precious to me, but for me, knowing that I was always known has been far more importance, significance and life changing. How can we possibly get our heads around the truth in Eph 1:3-6 without seeing a universal, inclusive grace filled loving Father. Who intentional set his love on all of humanity. I have Realised that my point or first encounter with Papa was only my awareness of him. I’ve been on his heart forever. Ive been known and loved by him since before the foundation of the world :) thats a big deal :). Most of my life I’ve been totally unaware of that glorious truth. Most of what we read about in the bible has already taken place, thousands of years before we where even born, so surely it’s a done deal for humanity. Aren’t we all just a moment aware from discovering what has always been true and so publicly displayed on the Cross of Jesus.

    • Hi Carrie, thank you for taking the time to comment and for sharing your story. Yes, God has set his love on all of us. Indeed, that is why he made us. He loved us into existence. I want to ask a question that I hope you will receive at face value. Please know that I’m not trying to provoke – I’m genuinely curious. Here’s my question: What do you think would have happened to you if you had never been born again?

      I see only two possible answers. (Maybe you can see more). Either…
      (1) You would’ve be saved anyway, in which case you’re a universalist. (I don’t say this to be judgmental. Everyone is welcome here. I’m just trying to be clear.)
      (2) You would’ve been lost. Which makes me ask, what sort of God puts people in Christ only to kick them out later?

      These are the same questions I ask of inclusionists everywhere. Those who respond tend to be vague offering multiple definitions of words and referring to space-time paradoxes. Heady stuff! If you do respond, brevity and clarity would cause you to stand out from the crowd. But no pressure. Only engage if you think it could be fun.

      • I’m assuming I have never read the bible in my response. Although had contact with belief systems through life. I like to think that as I came face to face with the reality of God and his great love for me I would indeed get a very warm welcome as I did when I meet Papa in my Kitchen. What would be different? The delight would still shock and surprise me wouldn’t it… :) I am irresistibly lovely after all how could eternity be complete without me :). Haha if i think back to how i thought re eternity, I guess like lots of non believers i assumed that i would gain entry to Heaven, after all the funerals i attended i never heard any, not one Priest or Pastor tell the mourning family “Sorry, your loved one didn’t make the cut, they won’t be looking down on you smiling from above. It’s not good news I’m afraid”… Quite the opposite in fact. Even at that stage the Good News is still preached, and it sounded like the doors where still widely open for all to enter and I was definetly getting in :) so are unbelievers being jupped? I always felt that they must be more then I knew, saw,felt, heard or believed I just didn’t know what. so would my non discovery of the truth rule me out of living in the perfect love of God? that’s an off the top of my head answer to your question :). Maybe there are more then 2 options to the answer. I shall ponder :)

      • Paul not all inclusionists believe that salvation can be lost as you put it. I don’t. but faith sure helps us to enjoy our inclusion and mystical union with Christ.

      • What would your answer be to the same question Paul? :) How do you see the future for all those non believers out there? You answers makes it more then a 2 point option I’m guessing :) :)

      • I guess my “working” answer would have to be John 3:16-18, as I explain more fully here.

      • If you are not born again you end the shadow you were. All life was lost in Eden, All life is given through Jesus. If you believe you are reborn you should also believe that you were dead or had counterfeit life.God does not and has never taken one life, to do this he would have to deny himself.read 2 Timothy 2:13 Everyone is a shadow of what they are meant to be I am Gods Son and choose to see as he see,s even if i do not see all , I choose to see the end from the beginning I see the realization of all potential even though i do not see all.I also believe that once you have real life it is unconditional in Jesus if it were not it would be a lie.So yes I see everyone as saved , and do not decide who is dead. I do not Judge.

      • reminds me of something Bob Mumford said years ago,[if your looking for Adam you'll always find him,we need to look for Jesus in people]…………so you are correct we should not judge.

    • Carrie – I hear exactly what you are saying.

      • :) :)

      • I read your link Paul. It left me with more questions then answer. I haven’t read C.S.Lewis story “The Last Battle”, but i have a feeling it’s on my daughters book shelf, so i will have a read with her so i can understand the context of the piece that you’ve referred to. I do see what your saying about “Hell is the prison created by an unbelieving mind”….

      • I don’t say that, CS Lewis does in his story. I merely present that as one of the alternatives to hell. (I lean towards #3 on that list.)

  43. Great post! Hey Paul I want to share something that really blessed me! A few months ago I was really bothered by this. I began to pray and a image popped in my mind. I saw a big 100 foot title wave and surfers trying to surf the wave. But effortless the large wave wiped them out. The Holy Spirit began to open it up to me. The 100 foot title wave represents this grace revolution across the earth. The surfers represent the few people who are bringing in false teachings, universalism, no hell, inclusionism exc. they are trying to ride or surf this big title wave of grace in the name of grace. But the true gospel of grace, this great title wave across the earth will wipe out those teaching and doctrines like they were never there.

  44. I am interested in Inclusionism for the same reason you are. I want to keep my relationship with Jesus based on grace without additives to adulterate. For me, it is more than being right about it (not to say being right is your motive). I was driven into depression by mixing law with grace. I almost died. I am now free but became like the once-dog-bitten kid who now is leery of all dogs. I am actively sharing my faith when Jesus sets up the occasion. I love you and deeply appreciate all you do through Christ to promote grace and expose counterfeits. Sic-um.

  45. All of these comments remind me of something i use to pray and still do when things get confusing, Lord dont let me be deceived and I believe he has NOT ,so let us pray Lord don’t let us be deceived.

  46. Very timely post Paul! I have delved into the issue a bit and would like to learn more. My conclusion about inclusion is that our inclusion in the finished work of Christ comes by way of invitation, not invasion. If I invite you to my birthday party, then I have included you. But I’m not going to go to your house, club you over the head and drag you to the party.

    FF Bosworth used to say that all God did for us in Christ, He does in us through the Holy Spirit. I agree that the inclusion doctrine goes off track when it comes to the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer. Christ’s work has been performed for all and even as all, but is not performed in all but by the Spirit.

    • “Invitation vs invasion” – what a phrase! But I think that crystallizes the issue at heart. You might say that what Adam did for us was an invasion – he violated humanity with his sin. But Christ did not remedy Adam’s trespass by violating us in the other direction. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Rather, Last Adam undid the harm of first Adam paving the way for all of us to respond to the grace and love that has been there all along.

    • well said john. i agree that it is the indwelling Holy Spirit that is the difference… i know for a fact that my experience here on earth has a big fat b.c./a.d. line drawn through it!
      life begins at conception in the natural physical realm – and this is but a dim reflection of what happens in spiritual reality. people who dont have Jesus in them cannot see the face of God and live! (ex 33:20). the Spirit is either in you because He is a part of you or He isnt. Jesus said those who posses the oil (aka indwelling Spirit of Christ) are the only ones allowed to enter in with the bridegroom… and in the story, some of them didnt enter.

  47. good day bro. Paul. am happy to open my email today to see your post. surely gladly am i. .
    why? because there have been so much “freedom” i enjoyed when i came to experience the revelation of Gospel of Grace. but being in a journey, there were moments i am confused, and bothered. thank you much and will keep reading your post. you are blessed.

  48. Thats a nice summary Paul,

    For me my discovery continues and expands and wrestles with issues such as this and my ‘jury’ is definitely still deliberating and out on this one. Once I figure the love of God out (LOL) I may be at peace with any ‘answers’ to some of these most difficult questions. I think that is why I am writing my third book now – haha – i write to try and understand myself on this incredible journey of grace!

    Peace…

  49. I think it would be interesting and funny to do a post on all the ways mainstream Christianity thinks a person passes from death to life (hell to heaven). Ie “repeat this sinners prayer after me”, “come to the alter to receive Jesus”, “now you have been baptised you are born again”, “when you fell on the floor after having hands layed on you then you received Holy Spirit and got born again”, “tarry meetings to get people filled with Holy Spirit and born again”, “I had a dream about Jesus and was born again, now I am going to heaven”. etc,etc :-)

    • I’ve actually have had a post like that on my mind for several years because it bugs me how the sinner’s prayer is so often mocked. It’s like saying, “You think you’re married because you said ‘I do’ in a church? How ridiculous to think marriage is based on saying two magic words.”

      The first moment an unbeliever responds to grace is precious and not something to make fun of. I can remember the transformation that happened in my wife when she got saved. It was radical and left those of us who knew her speechless with awe. It was totally a God-thing. I know the sinners prayer has been abused just as grace has been abused. Doesn’t make the real deal any less beautiful.

      • If you use the marriage analogy for salvation then you will have to accept the divorce option.

      • Haha. God doesn’t believe in divorce. That which he’s made cannot be unmade. That which he’s birthed cannot be unbirthed.

      • PSS: after my divorce, I said now i know why God hates divorce,because now I hate it to…….to much destruction.

      • I know, Earl, that you don’t interpret my words as condemnation for divorcees. But for the benefit of others who may have been through the pain of divorce, let me say this: God hates divorce but he surely loves divorcees. Whether you were the instigator or the victim of a divorce, your heavenly Father cares for you and will never let you go.

        I mention divorce to show that God is not like us and when he makes a union, it sticks for all time. Both Isaiah (Is 54:5) and Paul (Rms 7) describe our union with Christ as a marriage. But this is not a marriage held together with brittle human love for Paul says our union is a connate union held together by God’s unfailing love. I write more about our union with Christ in chapter 4 of my book.

      • I hear ya bro,I didn’t take in a bad way,I have seen the destruction it can do, and am now seeing it happen in my family,all you can do sometimes is pray and seat back and watch,and let them know ,God still loves them,and there still in the family,funny when I went through,it was a big deal in the church, but I have seen over the years that we are so helpless,and i am seeing that any attempt to kept any law is useless.you are right,after some doubts years ago,guess what. hes still there.never left.

      • well since i have been divorced, i wont go there, water under the bridge,all is forgiven…salvation,should not be complicated, J prince said, a while back the Lord told him to stop disqualifying my people,I remember when I accepted the Lord,it was on the back of a work truck,by myself,…..for me at that time it was a simple …i accept you Jesus as my lord,period…..bam, everything in my head got quite, and within a couple of minutes at the same time i ask for the baptism in the holy spirit …….that took my breath away,I started praying in the spirit, and it freaked me out, later just to cover my tracks I ask for forgivness of sins.. I might add, i had a major rejection problem some 40 odd years ago,and the baptism in the holy spirit, and a word spoken over me, that stuck with me, was {YOU ARE INDEED MY SON] a major word of acceptance from the lord,even though I didnt see then,and in the last few years he has shown me that being baptized in the holy spirit, he was saying to me I AM WITH YOU AND I WILL NOT LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU, and that he’s always been there, now I have to watch it because im beginning to have the opposite problem, i feel so accepted, I GO BOLDLY into the throne room,and i feel like charging hell with a water pistol,and bring some back with me,,and ps: I do have to watch my mouth.

      • Amen! I would add that we don’t need to help the devil with giving people reasons to doubt their salvation. God made it real easy for us. All we have to do is respond (in this life :) ) and we receive everything Jesus paid for. I would never want to become an obstacle between someone and their Savior.

  50. Everyone has a testimony. When they got saved and what they did. When they trusted Christ. How they believed the gospel. When the grace tap turned on for them and why/how. But I believe in focussing on His testimony, “IT IS FINISHED.”

  51. Paul, there are just so many verses which deal with: You must be saved…, the argument is an emotional one. One will never win (though not the goal) with an emotional arguer. They deny they are, but the issue is they do not want to face others as lost. This is the real issue: who gets to make the rules. God vs. god.

  52. borrisjerome says:

    I’m new to the saved by Grace concept, and I do not mean this in a disrespectful way. But, if we are not saved until we choose to believe, then doesn’t that diminish what Jesus accomplished on the cross? Wasn’t the whole point that in doing so, the entire world was saved by His actions, not ours? If we weren’t all saved by His work on the cross, and can only be saved by believing, then isn’t believing a work (which then diminishes grace)?

    For example, if I read a story in the newspaper, it doesn’t matter whether I decide to believe it or not, because that doesn’t make what actually happened any less true. When Jesus died on the cross, someone either believing it or not does not make it any less true. It happened whether one chooses to believe it or not. Therefore, in saying that one has to believe to be saved … isn’t that making a work out of something that already happened (and is true)?

    Salvation by Grace by definition implies that it is fully granted by God, and nothing we do has an impact, but isn’t the act of believing a work by us? I’m sorry, I don’t mean to offend anyone, but I just find this very confusing.

    • Borris, the work of saving you was accomplished on the cross and cannot be improved upon. There is nothing you can add to God’s perfect gift. But if you reject the gift then you won’t have the gift. People don’t like do divide and draw lines yet Jesus said he came to bring division and people “will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law” (Luk 12:53). It’s not that Jesus loves some more than others for he loves the whole world. But people divide themselves by their response to his love.

      The gospel is true whether you believe it or not, but it won’t benefit you unless you believe it. This is the message of Hebrews 4:1-2 and many other scriptures. There are some misconceptions about faith. Some consider it a work but true faith is a rest.

    • Amen Borris. It’s all about His testimony not our testimony. “It is Finished”

    • Thomas Myers says:

      So this means that Adam and Eve did not choose to sin, though sin already existed if you want to go with the logic that because of Jesus’s finished works we do not have to choose to receive salvation. Does this mean that they never fell like the bible claims, or that they were already sinners because sin existed prior to their existence. Maybe God had a bad day and forced them to become sinners. Paul almost must not have gotten the point because he grieved about his brothers, the Jews who did not believe, wishing that he could take their place because they loved the law more than God which would lead the to their demise. Jesus must not understand the gospel either because he said the Holy Spirit goes about convicting those who do not believe of sin. It is interesting to note that the only people who declare something to the effect that it is not necessary to believe, are those who have already chosen to believe by faith to receive Jesus as their savior.

      • Dear Thomas, the Holy Spirit goes about convicting those who do not believe of sin, notice sin here is singular not sins. And the one sin it means here is the sin of disbelieving in Jesus Himself.

      • John,

        Thanks. I understand that the single sin that Holy Spirit convicts us of is that of unbelief in Jesus, specifically what he alone accomplished, and that does not contradict my statement. My statement was that Holy Spirit goes about convicting us of sin, which yes is only unbelief. My only point was that there are those who believe everyone has eternal life regardless if they believe it to be so or not. Eternal life itself being defined by Jesus as eternal fellowship with our Father. I cannot agree with this when you see the hearts of Jesus, Paul and others who are torn for those who do not believe. Adam chose to sin, which is unbelief and we must choose to believe in Jesus in order to participate in his life. Your testimony agrees with what I was trying to point out as well. I agree there is no magic prayer but a surrender of one’s self at some point to the reality of Jesus as Lord. And I do believe that just as we can not earn salvation we can not work our way out of it. Thanks for sharing your testimony.

      • Thank you, your word has strengthened some light. I like your statement “Adam chose to sin, which is unbelief and we must choose to believe in Jesus”, and yes and this will reverse what the first Adam did. Although the second Adam is much greater, still “choose to believe” is required.

  53. Dear Paul, I was born again when I was in the Sunday School during my Primary school, I remembered my great desire to read about Jesus at the age of 12, I loved Jesus very much. But I had never recited the standard “sinners’ prayer” at all. Then in the middle school till university, I backslide and joined the secular world. I did drugs and crimes until the law of my country in Singapore caught me and put me in jail. I was supposed to serve death penalty for my crime but God released me miraculously serving only 6 months (this is my testimony). After the release, it is obvious God has been leading me to be a pastor, and now I am pastoring a church with the Radical Gospel of Grace. My experience certainly showed that 1) I was born again not by reciting the sinners’ prayer, but by love desire for Jesus. 2) God never let His child be lost, once saved forever saved, He’d still come to help at the point of my hopelessness.

  54. joe vasquez says:

    I’m very interested. As you noted above, I too, along with the others, have found the inclusion teaching very vague. Yet nevertheless deceptive. As you, I consider this other gospel a very big deal.

  55. Very interested – Please go on, I have friends in the “Inclusionist” movement, and am interested to learn more about it, and what the bible says about grace.

  56. Nick Spangler says:

    This is very important to me. I came across this and srarted believing it, but it confused the heck out if me. Some of the big underground grace guys have been teaching this and thats how I came across it. They dont exactly come out and say thry are teaching it. Frankly it caused much confusion and doubt of everything I believe and consequently anxiety showed up in me. Thank you so much for your work.

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