Book Alert: Faith Comes By Hearing

Title: Faith Comes By Hearing: A Response to Inclusivism
Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson
IVP Academic
Release Date: March 2008
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback
ISBN 13-digit: 978-0-8308-2590-5
Retail Price: $23.00
Table of Contents: Yes
Intro: No
Sample Chapter: No

From IVP:

The debate swirls and feelings run deep. What is the fate of the unevangelized? The traditional position–that apart from an explicit faith in Jesus no one is saved–seems to have fallen out of favor with many evangelicals. Here is a passionate but irenic response to the arguments of those who believe that the unevangelized can (or might) be saved apart from knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Building on the insights of others, nine scholars introduce readers, even those with little background, to the ongoing discussion. Key questions–Is general revelation sufficient? Are other religions salvific? Do holy pagans exist? Must faith be explicit? Is exclusivism unjust?–are probed and answered from a biblical, theological and historical perspective.

The book’s positive thrust is summed up by editors Robert Peterson and Christopher Morgan : “God is passionately engaged in gathering people to know, love and worship him from every tribe, language, people and nation. And he has called us to join him on this mission.”

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Table of Contents:

1 Introduction by Robert A. Peterson
2 Inclusivisms and Exclusivisms by Christopher W. Morgan
3 General Revelation: Sufficient or Insufficient? by Daniel Strange
4 Exclusivism: Unjust or Just? by William Edgar
5 Other Religions: Saving or Secular? by Eckhard J. Schnabel
6 Holy Pagans: Reality or Myth? by Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.
7 Saving Faith: Implicit or Explicit? by Stephen J. Wellum
8 Inclusivism versus Exclusivism on Key Biblical Texts by Robert A. Peterson
9 The Gospel for All Nations by Andreas J. Köstenberger
10 God’s Zeal for His World by J. Nelson Jennings
11 Answers to Notable Questions by Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson

Initial Thoughts:

The issue of inclusivism is one that I have invested a great deal of time and study, and I am eagerly awaiting the opportunity to read the essays from the contributing authors. Undoubtedly, there will be some essays stronger and more substantive than others, but that is the nature of an edited work. I will go ahead and tell you now, however, that the price of the book is redeemed in Dr. Wellum’s essay alone. It is superb. Also check out Strange’s essay as I believe he has the most convincing critique of inclusivism, in particular Clark Pinnock’s pneumatological inclusivism. The issue of “holy pagans” (also called noble savages or pagan saints) is a key argument for inclusivists, so I am intrigued to see whether Kaiser can definitively address the arguments posited by proponents of inclusivism. Whether you are an exclusivist or inclusivist, this book will certainly be a resource you will refer back to for years to come. Hopes are that there will be continued scholarship and treatment on this subject matter as the perennial debate is one found on the lips of skeptics and scholars alike.


“The fate of those who have never heard the gospel is one of the great mysteries of our faith. Christians have long speculated about whether and how God may have spoken to those who have not been exposed to the church’s preaching of salvation through Christ alone. This book deals respectfully with the different views of the subject which are found among evangelical believers while seeking to remain faithful to the teaching of Jesus himself. It is a model of how we should discuss such a delicate matter and come to a decision which upholds the uniqueness of the one and only Savior of mankind.”
—Gerald Bray, Research Professor, Beeson Divinity School

“A helpful, scholarly critique of inclusivism by various evangelical authors.”
—Donald G. Bloesch, Professor of Theology Emeritus, University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa

“No greater challenge faces the church of Jesus Christ than religious inclusivism–the belief that sincere people of many religions have enough truth to be saved from spiritual ruin. In an age of tolerance for all that does not seem to hurt or inhibit, no note sounds more discordant than an exclusivistic requirement of faith in Jesus Christ. Yet–with patience, respect and biblical rigor–Morgan, Peterson et al. show such an exclusive claim is in the Bible. Nothing could be more insensitive and arrogant than repeating this claim–unless it is true. Then, nothing could be more gracious and necessary than this book’s message.”
—Bryan Chapell, President, Covenant Theological Seminary

“For those who are more interested in faithful alignment with what Scripture says than in sentimentality on this extraordinarily challenging subject, this is now the book to read. Courteous in tone yet thoroughly engaged with those who take contrary positions, the contributors lead us with exegetical care, theological poise and pastoral sensitivity through a thicket of common objections. I warmly recommend this book.”
D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“These thoughtful, irenic and informed essays provide an important response to more ‘inclusivist’ perspectives on the question of the destiny of the unevangelized. This is a helpful contribution to a complex and controversial set of issues.”
Harold Netland, Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Intercultural Studies, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“Faith Comes by Hearing: A Response to Inclusivism is a refreshing voice in an increasingly confusing evangelical literary output on matters pertaining to human religions. This timely book is a very helpful guide to Christians who want to seriously examine the biblical and theological issues for themselves. Useful to specialists and nonspecialists.”
Tite Tiénou, Dean and Professor of Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Additional Related Resources:

The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism by D.A. Carson
The Possibility of the Salvation of the Unevangelized: An Analysis of Inclusivism in Recent Evangelical Theology by Daniel Strange
Is Jesus the Only Savior? by Ronald Nash
Who Will Be Saved? Defending the Biblical Understanding of God, Salvation, and Evangelism edited by Paul House and Gregory Thornbury
Is Jesus the Only Way? by Phillip Graham Ryken
The Population of Heaven: A Biblical Response to the Inclusivist Position on Who Will Be Saved by Ramesh Richard
What of the Unevangelized? by J. Oswald Sanders
“Restrictivism” by Ronald Nash in What About Those Who Have Never Heard? edited by John Sanders
“A Particularlist View: An Evidentialist Approach” by R. Douglas Geivett and W. Gary Phillips in Four Views of Salvation in a Pluralistic World edited by Dennis Okholm and Timothy Phillips

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One Comment on “Book Alert: Faith Comes By Hearing”

  1. A New Covenant – FAITH is the Strait Gate and the Narrow Way –

    There is a “new covenant” (Heb.10:16-17, Jer 31:33) brought forth by one sacrifice, the blood of Christ Jesus (Eph.2:13, Heb.13:12), that writes the law in the hearts of Jews and Gentiles in Christ (fellow heirs and of the same living body – Eph.3:6, Col.1:24) the church of God (1 Cor.10:32, 1 Cor.1:2, 1 Cor.15:9, Gal.1:13).

    The “new covenant” brings us to the strait gate and the narrow way which few people find (Matt.7:14 below), which is to live by FAITH (Gal.3:23-26 below).

    Matt.7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

    GAL.3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

    GAL.3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

    GAL.3:25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster (Gal.3:24 above, Mal.4:4).

    GAL.3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith (Gal.3:25 above) in Christ Jesus.

    Pat (ndbpsa ©) Bible Prophecy on the Web

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