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Salvation: Spectrum Of Certainty?

Soteriology is a fancy word for the study of salvation: 1- who is saved?; 2-who is left out?; 3-how does one become saved? In that arena there are basically 5 major categories. As you look these areas over, select the one that best describes you. We will begin with the largest spectrum of certainty.

Universalist- believes that every person on earth will be saved, except for the most evil humans like: Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Genghis Kahn, etc.

Pluralist- believes that as long as a person believes in their God or god, they will be saved.

Inclusivist- believes that people in all world religions will be saved by the sacrifice of Christ, whether they have ever heard of Him not. (Millennials: Born 1981-1996 (24-39 yrs) – 47% believe evangelism other faiths is WRONG!)

Exclusivist- soft- believes that faith in Christ is required, but not faithful Christian living. Hard- believes that faith in Christ & faithful Christian living are required.

Particularist- believes that only those in their particular group will be saved.

Examples- Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, a few Protestant churches, some Catholics, hard-lined Calvinists (predestination).

This may surprise you, but at least some of the 73% of Americans who profess to be Christians, believe each of these 5 categories.

There are professing Christians in America who believe that every human on earth will be saved except the few who are the most wicked. These people are universalist Christians.

There are professing Christians in America who believe that every person who believes in any god will be saved. These people are pluralist Christians.

There are also professing Christians in America who believe that regardless of their religion (Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, etc.), every person in every religion will be saved by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ because He died for everyone. These people are inclusivist Christians. 

There are professing Christians in America who believe that only those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ will be saved. All other religions will be lost; Christ is the only way. These believers are divided into two categories. One part believes that living a faithful Christian life is not necessary for salvation. The other part of these Christians believe that only those believers who are living a faithful Christian life when they die will be saved. These are exclusivist Christians.

There are professing Christians in America who believe that the people in their particular group are the only ones who can be saved, the only true believers; particularist Christians.

Isn’t that crazy; professing Christians believing all those radically different things about salvation. Yes, it is crazy. So who is correct? The Bible is clear: 1-Jesus Christ is the ONLY WAY for salvation (Jn 14:6); 2-that a person must personally put their faith in Him and repent of their sins before they can be saved (Ac 3:19); 3-that few will be saved, many destroyed (Mt 7:13-14). The only believers who stand with each of these 3 truths are: EXCLUSIVISTS.

Exclusivism is tremendously unpopular in America today. Finger pointing is usually followed by accusations of arrogance, snobbery, judgmentalness & “who do you think you are?” But exclusivism is rooted in God, who is a jealous God and will tolerate no rivals, nor will He tolerate half-hearted worship and living. If you are not an exclusivist, YOU ARE IN DANGER.

Mike Sublett is a pastor at Hi-Land Christian Church, 1615 N. Banks St., Pampa, Texas 79065. Email him at

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