The Myth of Exclusionism

I know what you’re thinking. “Clear my diary because I’ve been waiting for someone to write about exclusionism. Finally!”

No, you’re probably not thinking that at all. You’re thinking, “What’s exclusionism?”

Exclusionism, in the context of grace, is a myth, a yeti. It’s a fake gospel. And apparently, I have been preaching it for years.

Since I have been in the habit of warning people about the dangers of inclusionism, some have taken to calling me an exclusionist. At first, I had no idea what they were talking about.

“Paul, I don’t know what you’re talking about. What are inclusionism and exclusionism?”

They’re a pair of yetis. One is a counterfeit gospel; the other is a strawman.

Inclusionism teaches that humanity was included in Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension. In other words, every one of us was “in Christ” when he went to the cross. Humanity, whether we believe it or not, is now seated in heavenly places in Christ. I find this hard to swallow, especially since the Apostle Paul spoke of people being in Christ before him (Romans 16:7).

Inclusionism: Jesus carried all of humanity on the cross
Exclusionism: Jesus carried some of humanity on the cross
The Gospel: Jesus carried all our sins on the cross (1 Pet 2:24)

When Jesus died on the cross, the Apostle Paul was not there. Nor was I. Nor were you. Yet the scriptures attest that we died with Christ (Colossians 2:20). When did that happen? Did it happen 2000 years ago? Inclusionism says yes, but the Apostle Paul said it happened, “When you heard and believed the gospel.”

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, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14, NIV)

Once upon a time, you were disobedient to God (Rom 11:30). Once upon a time, you were captive to the lusts of the flesh (Eph 2:3). Once upon a time, you were “foolish, deceived, and enslaved to various lusts and pleasures” (Tit 3:3). Then you heard and believed the good news of your salvation and everything changed. The moment you were sealed with the Holy Spirit and placed in Christ, you became a brand new person.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Cor 5:17)

The instant you were placed in Christ, you got a new life – his life. His past became your past. This is why Paul could say he had died with Christ even though he wasn’t at Calvary. It’s the same for all of us who have been joined in union with the Lord.

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? (Rom 6:3)

“Paul, why do I need to know about inclusionism/exclusionism?”

You don’t. Like hunting Sasquatch, it’s not a good use of your time. But there are pastors, leaders, and authors who have spoken boldly against the dangers of inclusionism and who, like me, have been branded an exclusionist for doing so. This is for them.

Calling a grace preacher an exclusionist is an oxymoron. Grace is inclusive by nature. Jesus died for every single one of us, from the greatest to the least. Jesus doesn’t exclude anyone from the table of his abundance but he invites ALL of us to partake of his feast.

“Paul, now you’re preaching works.”

Partaking is no more a work than eating and drinking. Jesus said, “Truly truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:53).

If you want to enjoy the Bread of Life, you’re going to have to partake of the Bread of Life. If you don’t, you’ll have no life in you. And that’s the bottom line: Life.

The gospel is not about inclusion or exclusion – those words are not found in the Scriptures. The gospel is about the life Jesus gave back then so that you might enjoy his life now and forever more. And where is this life? Eternal life is in Christ (Romans 6:23).

Arguing about who’s in Christ and when they were placed in Christ is a waste of time. We’ve been called to preach the gospel, and I will resume doing so with my next post. In the meantime, “peace to all of you who are in Christ” (1 Peter 5:14).

——-

Bonus Materials: In a related article on Patreon, I recap a recent discussion I had with a dozen or so church leaders on the question, “Is Inclusionism Dying?”

64 Comments on The Myth of Exclusionism

  1. Moses Kawuma // February 26, 2018 at 9:06 pm // Reply

    Brilliant Post Paul.

  2. I had never thought about it before and yes, it is a waste of time. Somehow or someway, scholars have a way of doing that. i think at times, one reason they do it is to validate their positions. The gospel is such whereas the simple can understand it. It takes the scholars to complicate it to the point where it becomes useless.

    • Marjorie Keenan // March 1, 2018 at 5:58 am // Reply

      T.F. Thompson I couldn’t agree more. The Holy Spirit was sent to comfort us and lead us into all truth. Now I know why Scripture says that we need that no man teach us but…

  3. Jerome Caballero // February 26, 2018 at 10:32 pm // Reply

    Brother Paul,
    Thank you for this insight and your writings that I enjoy reading. Can you give some insight about teachings that concludes or encourages the listener to respond, do potential list of positive action to “appropriate” our faith/belief in respond to the sermon.In my understanding based on my personal filter of “REST”, I think it is anti grace and does not elevate or promote the works of Christ. Please enlighten me.
    Your brother in Christ,
    Jerome

  4. No one is excluded from making their own choice.

  5. Paul hi

    You write “Partaking is no more a work than eating and drinking”. But if it is something we individually choose to do (or choose not to do), then (whether or not you call it a ‘work’) it gives rise to boasting (eg ‘I was smart enough to take the offer; others weren’t). Defending God’s sovereignty and His monergism is not easy but it is essential.

    I can see that “Truly truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:53) can suggest synergism but it is a description not a prescription. Behind all such phrases we should be mouthing a quiet “and whether this happens or not is solely up to the Holy Spirit”. This removes us as an initial or primary cause; we remain an instrumental cause only.

    • I am sorry but every time I see this argument about faith being a boastful work it sounds so silly. I have never had my kids boast about how they opened their Christmas presents or about getting ice cream to eat. Choosing to partake of Jesus is just opening your mouth to eat food someone else bought an prepared or tearing the wrapping off a present someone else bought and wrapped. It has no room for boasting. Boasting requires having accomplished something. Faith isn’t accomplishing anything. It is simply mentally agreeing that you have/had a problem and that God fully provided the solution. Letting the lifeguard save you from drowning has no room for boasting.

      • Thanks, Momzilla, for some real life examples that hit the nail on the head for me. May these garrison me the next time the enemy tries to convince me to search myself instead of searching my Lamb to see if He is altogether lovely and perfect at faith.

      • Great analogy! Faith is simply the response to grace, so that we then can walk in works that then should be accomplished, Ephesians 2:10. “So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God.” Hebrews 6:1 NLT. We should be about good works that God has for us that believe! Just as Jesus did, “who went about doing good…” which spoke volumes more of him than words. But though he was the word made flesh, we did behold that flesh as “… we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, Full of grace and truth”, John 1:14, as should we be full of same, 1 John 4:17.

  6. Thanks Dr. Paul, for I’ve been in Christ for like three years plus now, but I didn’t know of these words (inclusionism, exclusionism and universalism). My spiritual understanding gets wider everyday as I read your posts. I’m happy for this latest teaching on exclusionism. Once again, thanks for helping my spiritual life.
    More grace, sir!

    • I second this. The above article was an eye opener as to some miry places. I feel that this article and timing of it was crucial and just identified and steered me out of two nasty bear traps. Thank you, E2R.

      I am really grateful that God has taken the time and skill to richly impart the grace gospel to Paul so that Paul can filter doctrines floating around through the purifier of grace and share those revelations with readers.

  7. Thank you

  8. I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I’ve been protesting this for quite some time.

  9. Priscilla Cooper // February 27, 2018 at 12:50 am // Reply

    How do you explain , eat of His flesh and drink His blood? Thanks.

  10. I have been wrestling with this concept for the past week or two, and have only just begun to gain understanding. Your words here bring much clarity – my recent conclusions have been along exactly the same lines! Thank you, and bless God for perfect timing!

  11. Brandon Petrowski // February 27, 2018 at 2:44 am // Reply

    Very well said. Thank you for writing this post. 🙂

  12. Great post, Paul. The first time I heard inclusion, I thought “what about all the distinctions made in the NT?” The authors (primarily Paul) make distinctions between the saved and lost, church and world, believers and unbelievers, and so on. This is part of the real gospel.
    “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” Romans‬ ‭8:9‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

    • Thanks for sharing another confirming verse. Jesus is a gentleman who doesn’t force oneness with Him on anyone. You get to choose to be in or out. This is also a favorite verse on the subject: “He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life” (1 John 5:12).

  13. Paul, I love what you’re sharing and it resonates with me so strongly. However, I have trouble articulating the view without ending up in the historical reconciliation camp. Maybe you can help me?

    All sin was forgiven at the cross, right? That’s something God did, as the offended party. So there really is this free gift of Grace that he extends to us. Am I right in saying that partaking of the good news is as simple as saying “Oh my gosh, thanks!!”? Is this so different from the inclusionist’s recognition of salvation?

    If all sin has been forgiven, then what is it that separates people from Christ? Surely it can’t be sin that is held against them. Is it a failure to recognize that their sins are forgiven? Help me think clearly about this!

    • Historical reconciliation teaches that humanity was reconciled to God 2000 years ago. But reconciliation, unlike forgiveness, is a two-player game. Jesus doesn’t need your permission to forgive you and he did that already. But he does need your permission to wed, in a manner of speaking. The good news is that God holds nothing against us. The way to come home is free and clear. So come home and be reconciled. “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor 5:20).

      What separates people from Christ? Not their sins but their unbelief in the goodness of God.

      More here.

      • Tony Allen // February 27, 2018 at 6:54 am //

        Very helpful Paul, thanks. Could you clarify what “coming home” entails?

      • Repenting (changing your mind) and turning to God. “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Act 3:19). To have our sins wiped away is to receive, experience, and enjoy the forgiveness that has already been provided.

      • S M Hillstrom // July 26, 2018 at 3:41 am //

        Hello, Paul.
        I share your views on this subject, and have been called an “exclusionist” by some of my “inclusionist” friends 🙂 It seems there are only a handful of verses that inclusionists stand on, while ignoring (or calling “paradox”) the multitude of verses that clearly indicate inclusion via faith-believing (personal choice). The verse that I keep hearing bandied about is 1 Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.” I’ve pondered this verse, read commentaries, and have some opinions on it’s meaning, but would love to hear your commentary.

      • There are many times in scripture where the word all refers to a specific group, rather than all humanity. For instance, when Paul refers to Abraham as “the father of us all” (Rom. 4:16), he means Abraham is the “the father of all who believe” (Rom. 4:11). Similarly, when Paul says “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” in 1 Cor. 15:22, the word all refers to a specific group. Who are the all in question? Paul tells us in the very next verse. “But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him” (1 Cor. 15:23). Paul is saying that all those who are in Adam die, while all who are in Christ will be made alive.

        A universalist will immediately counter that this diminishes the work of Last Adam because First Adam’s family must be bigger. It’s not true. No one is punished for Adam’s sin; because of Jesus, we all get the same choice Adam had. We all get the opportunity to choose life and the scriptures speak of countless multitudes before the throne. Last Adam’s work far exceeds that of First Adam. More here.

  14. I appreciate the way you (Paul) anticipate readers’ arguments and deal with them just the way this other Paul did throughout Romans! I’d never heard these terms before, but I totally agree with your (and that other Paul’s) explanation of *when* we died with Christ. Praise God for grace!

  15. Didn’t Christ die for us 2000 years ago but we only experience this “aphesis” (release – often called “forgiveness”) when we accept His finished work?

    I agree: “Eternal life is in Christ (Romans 6:23)”. 1 Jn 1:2 calls Him “the eternal life”.

  16. You are promoting fear by warning of the ‘dangers of inclusionism’. I usually agree with you. However, I can only conclude that you do not fully understand inclusion. I have never heard Inclusionists teach what you think they teach. However, if the goal is for people to actually believe the good news…which news is ‘gooder’? 1.) “God loved you so much He did this wonderful thing for you on your behalf…” or 2.) “If you believe just right then you will be included too…” Option # 2 leaves me in anxiety wondering if I am believing just right for that ‘magical’ moment to happen. Option #1 actually supplies the faith to believe it because it isn’t dependent on anything I have to do. It is actually good news and not just potential good news, so it is much easier to believe if it isn’t dependent on me. Personally, this belief that has brought deep healing and given me genuine love for others. It brings unity that can only come from Christ. But because Love doesn’t control, a person may refuse the gift. The prodigal father told the older brother that everything was his already, yet the son refused to go into the party. Is it apples and oranges? Maybe it doesn’t matter how one approaches it, the goal is the same….believe and receive! God already took care of the problem when “he was in Christ reconciling the World to himself…” He is “ the Savior of ALL men, especially of believers.”

    • In the city where I live, there is a company that makes its business promoting a fear that doesn’t exist, and then selling a solution to that fear. I’m reminded of this unethical practice every time I hear this argument for inclusionism. The gospel is an announcement of something God has done. It it not an invitation to sit a faith exam. The gospel reveals Jesus and you either see him or not. Those who see the Lord usually have no difficulty at all in turning to him, for he is the most lovely and attractive Person of all. Who gets the credit for our turning? How can it be us when Jesus is so irresistible.

      As to your first point – that I don’t have a good grasp of inclusionism. Please read this. Thanks.

    • Joan, what you say sounds painfully familiar to me and I deeply empathize. I was in a place of torment for some years wondering if I was believing properly/sufficiently/consistently enough and if I had properly “received.” That was when the enemy of my soul had somehow got me believing that faith and receiving were each a performance on my part.

      Thankfully, our Heavenly Father has and is moving me into a safe place of knowing that faith is something I receive. He did this by giving me several devotionals on the Hebrew word for faith. Its root word meaning is” to build up or support, to foster as a parent or a nurse.” Faith is there to mother me. It is a provider and nourisher, not a taskmaster. Ephesians 2: 8-9 was very helpful. Also knowing that because I’m now one spirit with Jesus, God imputes Jesus’ own perfect faith to me at all times, and I’m continually garrisoned by Jesus’ own personal faith. Hope this helps you like it helped me.

      • Since one is only given 250 words to respond, I cannot possible refute all of your posts (that I have read btw.) Examples: You say we think, “All are saved except those who will later be unsaved.” We don’t think this and I know no one who has said it. “All need to be reconciled…” Yes, of course! If not you won’t experience the gift. You would say, “God’s part is a done deal.” That is all we are saying. “Repent and believe in order to be saved.” Yes, of course, repent—turn from your way of thinking and agree with and believe what Christ believes! Be reconciled to the truth. But that doesn’t mean that God’s part isn’t already done for you on your behalf. Should he go back to the cross all over again each time someone decides to believe and do His part? You think we are saying something that we are not. We are on the same side more than you think. Your list of words for ‘unbeliever’ –yes, because they haven’t ‘come into a knowledge of the truth of what was done for them by Christ. They live out of what they believe about themselves. And your argument about subjective vs objective—I don’t think we disagree. You are barking up a tree that doesn’t need to be barked up and you are causing division. And btw, God IS better than we can ever think or imagine. Why limit Him?

      • If you have much to say on this topic, you may wish to comment under specific articles. Normally I only publish comments pertaining to the article being discussed, and this one is about the myth of exclusionism. Thanks.

  17. It seems judging God’s plan of salvation before the appointed time is a common mistake we all seem to make. I’ve been in various exclusive camps and some inclusive camps (which Paul you did not accurately describe.) (1 Cor. 4:5) God presently is taking out a people for His Name’s Sake who are destined to set creation free from its bondage to corruption. Rom. 8:20. You have completely misunderstood or misrepresented what almost everyone I know in the inclusive camp believe. Rise up and believe better things of the “Savior of the world.” John 4:42; 1 John 4:14; 1 Tim 4:9-11.

    • I hear this a lot too. “Paul, I believe in inclusionism, but you make it sound so tawdry. Obviously, you don’t understand inclusionism.” Inclusionism, by definition, says that humanity was included in Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension. You may have a different definition, but that is the mainstream take used by those who preach this stuff. We may have a poor understanding of God’s salvation plan, and I suspect in many ways we do. But any teaching that contradicts scripture as blazenly as inclusionism does, is clearly missing the target.

    • Right, “judging God’s plan of salvation before the appointed time is a common mistake”, but one universlism and inclusionism has made, as the scripture say’s there is an appointed a time for man to die, then the judgment and only God knows who will die in their sin’s (John 8:21,24) and who will relinquish them through faith (Ephesians 2:8,9) in the one who took its penalty, thus procuring its benefits!
      1 Corinthians 4:5 is merely pointing out what Paul said in Romans 5:18,19 “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation;” and again, “ For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners,” In Romans he is saying that the creation came into bondage, not of its own will (but the will of one) and thus had to endure empty futility resulting from the consequences of this sin. But now hope, with eager expectation, through faith! So,no Gods Children do not, as you say, “set creation free from its bondage to corruption”, they merely respond to the one who set creation free! Which is the second part of Romans 5:18,19; “even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” This “gift” must be received as John 1:12 further explains, “But as many as received him (the gift), to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”
      Again; “so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” Speaking here of the “many” that receive, believe, as in John 1:12 and 3:16.

  18. Excellent article! Exclusion is a huge falsehood. In America one favorite pastime is a neighborhood fish fry. People come together and fry fish and enjoy food and fellowship. Many places host fish fry’s. They are open to all. Now if you stayed home, sat on your chair complaining that you didn’t get any fish whose issue is that? No one excluded you. People who exclude themselves from open and free no strings attached invitations have no one to blame. Jesus Christ offers a free come one come all invite to feast at the table with no strings attached. You don’t have to prove yourself worthy of the invite just respond and accept it. How is the Gospel then exclusive?

    • Good example. Thanks John.

      • John W Reed // February 27, 2018 at 11:57 am //

        Thanks brother Paul. I get so tickled seeing the inclusionists reactions. Trust me you’re not alone. Every time without fail when we discuss the issue of inclusionism, universalism, future reconciliation or ultimate reconciliation in the context of the Hyper Grace Gospel, the response is always the same. “You don’t understand inclusion” “That’s not what inclusion is saying” “You’re misrepresenting inclusion” “You’re preaching bad news” “You’re preaching an exclusion message”.
        Yet when we look at their quotes in context, see their social media threads, and look at the books they write, we are actually being pretty generous in our description of their message. They do in fact teach faith and personal belief is unnecessary. They do teach all humanity is in Christ at this current time. That all humanity has been adopted into the family of God apart from the new birth. That all humanity have Christ’s perfect righteousness, the indwelling Spirit, and have received new life but are unaware. So salvation is not a heart transformation of the Old passing away and the New Creation life in Christ come but some mere mental philosophy accepted.

  19. Hi Paul. Love your emphasis on grace…something that once I began to understand it changed everything for me. Actually I began to “understand “ it through an intimate connection with Christ that convinced me of the overwhelming love of the Divine Mystery for me … and then, for everyone.

    All that to say: while I agree it is Christ who saves, the closer I come to him and deeper I move into the Mystery of his love, the more I am convinced he can and will exclude no one. So I think I am an inclusionist, a universalist even — and I’m not the only one (I bet one day you’ll join us, and the world will be as one).

    Just saying. Keep up the good work!

    Jaxn

    • I don’t believe Christ excludes anyone either. All are invited. All are welcome. No one who comes to him will be cast away.

      But that is not what you meant. You meant that, one way or the other, everyone comes in the end (which is universalism) or everyone has come in already, they just don’t know it (inclusionism).

      My lifelong encounters with the relentless love of God have left me totally convinced that he is capable of far more than I can imagine, and if God turns out to be a universalist, I won’t be surprised. But I cannot be a universalist given the scriptures and several thousand years of catastrophically stupid choices. I can appreciate in my head some of the arguments for universalism, but my spirit doesn’t resonate. I have also found that many who embrace universalism seem to have a greater love for universalism than for the lost. Present company excluded, I’m sure!

      Thanks for the comment.

    • Truly, grace is both Inclusive and Universal, but Inclusionism and Universalism are not God’s grace! No surprise here!

  20. Here’s an interesting… hopefully connected aside to the article here__ in John 9:30-31, the writer says, God does not “listen” to sinners [NIV for example] or God does not “hear” sinners [KJV for example]. (all paraphrased)

    Would this fit into the narrative here – regards inclusion or exclusion? It’s at least interesting also, we often don’t converse through a subject as much as we insist on our opinions being offered.

    • We all know from personal experience that God does indeed listen to the prayers of sinners, or how else would he have heard us? Jesus listened to sinners. He hung out with them and dined with them. John 9:30-31 is quoting a man who had been raised under Jewish religion and was being interrogated by Pharisees. Either he was confused about the indiscriminate grace of God or he was picking his words carefully to avoid censure.

      • Mr. Ellis – Thx for investing time here.

        Respectfully, the context in the text here is not about the overarching truth that God listens to the repentant sinner. He does. I concur.

        The sincere & intentional retort the Jewish healed man presents to the Pharisees, regards their questioning him – he does not sound encumbered by his being interrogated. He sounds confident & sure by answering boldly. Not thinking at all about the condition of an individual, regards their place with God or not.

        God listens to all people yet, the everyday machinations of sinners who are not listening to him – [thus], “he does not listen to sinners…” in John 9:31a is properly spoken.

        The interrogated man being a Jew – does not preclude him from understanding [the Grace of God] who God is or mean that he is being coy to avoid anything.

        Please note: In John 9:31b, the same man not does let the matter end with his vs 31a statement saying, a person who is pre-disposed to be a friend of God – doing his will; God listens to & hears but not the sinner who is reticent to change his mind & path – as to their relationship with God – as opposed to their personal religious experience to God.

  21. Thanks for this article, Paul. I am in agreement with you. One question I do still have is when an Inclusionist holds out Ps 69:28 and Rev 3:5 to say that ‘everyone’s’ name was put in the Book ‘at the foundation’ when/where Christ was sacrificed and then later blotted out out or not. Can you add perspective?

    • I don’t believe God blots out our names from his book, because (a) that would imply he makes mistakes and (b) Jesus said he wouldn’t (see Rev 3:5). I know David hoped (in Psalm 69) his enemies would “be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous,” but if they weren’t righteous they wouldn’t be in the book in the first place, would they.

  22. Good stuff, Paul. My thinking was clarified when I better understood John 16:8-11 (And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.) On the cross, Jesus took every sin onto Himself (He became sin for us) – so there remains only one sin: not believing in Him. So the HS convicts (reproves, corrects) the world of this sin. When we become believers (after responding to the conviction of the HS), the HS convicts us of our righteousness (we were made righteous in Him). And the only judgement that remains is against Satan, which is yet to come. Understanding those three things really addresses the issue of inclusion/exclusion (for me, anyway).

  23. You have not commented to mine early on. And I still hear you promoting ‘synergism’ over the sovereignty of God. You wirte

    “But reconciliation, unlike forgiveness, is a two-player game. Jesus doesn’t need your permission to forgive you and he did that already. But he does need your permission to wed, in a manner of speaking”

    Please clarify where you stand. You can’t have it both ways

  24. Thanks you Paul for another amazing post! Please pray for me. I am feeling incredibly unassured about my salvation and am feeling anxious. I honestly do have assurance in my mind, it’s just my heart that won’t rest, if that makes sense. I feel incredibly down & spiritually attacked. So please pray and God bless you brother 🙂

  25. Thank you Paul, this simple explanation of yours copied below, has clarified a lot for me. I was totally bewildered on what you were on about until I read those three lines. I’ll stick with The Gospel, and now have a better understanding of the other two.

    Inclusionism: Jesus carried all of humanity on the cross
    Exclusionism: Jesus carried some of humanity on the cross
    The Gospel: Jesus carried all our sins on the cross (1 Pet 2:24)

  26. This subject tugs at my heart in a way I can’t quite explain. In my limited understanding, I side with Paul’s article and deduce that the Gospel is not inclusionism, universalism, exlusionism, and the such. And that these are indeed distortions of the Truth. However, I do have hope that there is more to the story than we have been shown. That there is more “mystery” to reveal. That the topics scripture only hints at, when disclosed fully one day, will unveil a glory and splendor of God that makes “hyper grace” supremely inadequate in its description of how good our Father and His son, Jesus, really are. Again, this is a hope, not a doctrine. I’m just putting forth that reality is more complex than we are capable of “dealing with” and God supplies pieces of the puzzle to humanity little by little at the rate we can digest it.

    Everything was made FOR Jesus. People say “why is the universe so big?” and “why is there such beauty at the bottom of the ocean if we can’t enjoy it?” Simple, because it was not made for us. It was made for Jesus. HE is the center of the universe, not us. What the devil has sought to take and keep from Him, surely, He is able to reclaim. Humanity is obviously special to God. I believe there are a host of non-human entities that are not included in His reparation plan. God’s choice has been to leave them in their rebellion, outside of His redemptive Grace. For this reason, they are infuriated concerning our existence and the war over humanity is largely unseen and unappreciated by most Christian mainstream viewpoints. At the very least, these things open the door to the idea that mysteries not yet made plain could change our perspective about reality when God chooses to make them transparent.

    There are still unknowns. And divinely so. We can speculate… and hope. But anything resting on speculation is not the Gospel.

    • Well said, Jason. I totally agree. We must leave room for mystery for God is bigger than his book and far bigger than our comprehension. I expect we will all be surprised on that Day when the Lord is revealed. But the most glorious surprises will come from him, not the enemies’ lies, and not our reasoning.

  27. Yes. God’s enemies lie to us in ways that appeal to our reasoning. It sounds good! It’s been the snake in the garden over and over through the centuries, selling the same lie, just wrapping it in new packages for each generation. The lie is: You can be like God – without God. When it comes to this matter of inclusionism, something doesn’t smell right. On the surface, sure it sounds great – it has a shiny appeal. But look closer, and its roots are not so shiny, or appealing. I believe the hidden controlling hand of darkness is at play here. The Vatican (who’s influence is unquestionably vast) is currently working to push the idea that all religions should come under one accepting, loving umbrella. Inclusionism is a bridge builder for Christians to come in line with that mindset. As Paul is saying, in the polite way that he does, it is a Luciferin mindset. Inclusionism is the forerunner to something much worse – the sidelining, and eventual removal of Jesus all together from our faith. The devil’s ultimate goal is not to make you do naughty stuff. His plot is to subvert the rule of God and enthrone himself over humanity, taking Jesus’s place. Get that! Lucifer is going to be worshipped openly for what he is. Jesus, and God will be made out to be the bad guys. Much of society is moving quickly in this direction. We must be on watch for doctrines of demons, as they will enable this scenario.

    Sorry, I know this is not the normal E2R conversation, but I wanted to try and point out the severity of these deceptions. People just don’t know what they’re messing with. Paul, brother, you are a soldier!

    • Hi Jason, you know what? my mind was ticking along these same lines while reading this post. I was very surprised to see someone had actually written down what I was thinking. I found it kind of weird seeing my own thoughts come to life in here.

  28. Dewaine Thomas // March 21, 2018 at 3:56 am // Reply

    Hello, I’m the guy from Proverbs that answered a matter before he heard the whole matter. On “Three reasons I don’t preach repentance”, I was frankly so incensed at the title, and the Tide logo parody that I saw as a sacrilegious, smart aleck attack on the doctrine of repentance, that I didn’t bother to read the in-betweens, dropped straight to your comments about the apostles and Jesus, (didn’t even see the Spurgeon quote), and, as you know, formed a wrong conclusion of what you intended. (I had just read about the New York City Hillsong “Pastor”, and no doubt my mind was primed by that to put you in his category). When I actually calmed down enough to read (or rather, at least skim through) your post, I saw my error, but your comments were closed there, so here I am asking you to not post that comment. I agree absolutely with the Spurgeon quote. The Tide parody did indeed lend itself toward my getting my back up at the get-go. As to your post, I am, honestly, presently too tired from physical problems to put the thought required into all the points you made. So I hope it’s not premature to ask, that, just as there is a danger in trusting one’s repentance for salvation, is there not also a danger that the sinner will not understand turning from sin is indeed essential, and that they can “just believe”, and thereby have a false security, and not be truly saved?

  29. So good, Paul. How have you and I not connected more? 😉

    Was looking for some material to link to for others. I will be using your structure and references and will link back. Well done.

    Have a wonderful day in Grace.

  30. Foolish arguments, nothing more, nothing less. No one, and I mean no one understands the mystery except Papa, Son and Holy Spirit. These Arguendo do nothing more than create division. Christ came to reconcile the world to Himself, not create division. I have enjoyed many of these posts but must say I am done with this forum, it is simply one of division where people, especially Paul, claim to know all truth and there cannot be any errancy in what they proclaim. For me I will simply keep on loving Jesus and enjoy the circle dance of Love with the Divine Trinity, sharing His love with others.

    • You don’t see the irony? You desire unity but sow division and discord. You claim to share God’s love while throwing stones. You scorn the wild claims of others while making wild claims of your own. Friend, it seems the faults you find in others are closer to home than you think.

    • Dave O'Brien // November 4, 2018 at 1:13 pm // Reply

      Keith, if the truth cannot be known, then why did God waste all His time sharing it with us?

      • Marjorie Keenan // November 4, 2018 at 6:42 pm //

        God does not hide things from us. He sent Holy Spirit to teach us and lead us into all truth. Discussions like this are so important. Doctrinal issues have held many people back from the true plan of God for their lives. We can never get too much wisdom and knowledge. God says His people perish for lack of knowledge. Keep up the good work Paul. The body of Christ needs this revelation of God’s word.

  31. Dave O'Brien // November 4, 2018 at 1:16 pm // Reply

    Rom 16:7 settles the debate that all men were not in Christ when Christ died.

    • Right Dave, great observation, for “if ‘Christ be in you’, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” Romans 8:10. The bodies of the “whole world” (those whom Christ brought propitiation for sins to) 1 John 2:2, and the Apostle Paul were (as for Paul) and are (as for the world) still dead, and will remain such until they are “in Christ”, which happens when they, “…first trusted in Christ”, Ephesians 1:12, and not a moment before. Paul E. could have not chosen a better scripture than Ephesians 1:13 to explain this!
      Only thing we need be concerned with is; “How ‘then’ shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?..” Romans 10:14,15.
      And if preached right, will expose what both inclusion and exclusion really is,
      not what the gospel is about!

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