The Gospel of Inclusion

In recent months, one phrase has popped up in several conversations; the “gospel of inclusion.”  With discussions within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America revolving around human sexuality and the ministry policy changes of CWA 2009, inclusion has been one of many buzz words.  But this notion of the “gospel of inclusion” has been nagging at me.  I’ve never really paid much attention to such speak, at least not until recently.

A friend (Lutheran of course) used this phrase a few days ago, and she used it in such a context that I really got the impression that she believed in a “gospel of inclusion.”  Having heard this phrase so much lately, I asked what she meant and where she had learned it.  Frankly, I was surprised with her answer because she learned it in Sunday school (Lutheran of course).

I decided to do a little reading.

For those who do not know, the gospel of inclusion was first preached by the Rev. Dr. H. Dale Jackson (Baptist) who believed the message of the gospels, as presented within the New Testament, is exclusive.  He became universalist in his preaching and teaching.

Later, the Rev. Carlton Pearson began publicly preaching an inclusive message that all people, regardless of their religious (or non religious) views would gain salvation through Christ.  Only those who willfully rejected God’s grace would not be saved.

The gospel of inclusion:

A. The death of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection paid the price for all of humanity to have eternal life in heaven, without any requirement to repent of sins and receive salvation.

B. Belief in Jesus Christ, is not necessary for a person to go to heaven. Salvation is unconditional, granted by the grace of God to every human being.

C. It is presumed that all of humanity will have its destiny in heaven, whether they realize it or not.

D. All of humanity will go to heaven regardless of their religious affiliation, including those who believe in false religions or adopt any other form of religious persuasion, or who have no religious persuasion.

E. Only those who have “tasted of the fruits” of real intimacy with Christ and have “intentionally and consciously rejected” the grace of God will spend eternity separated from God.

F. There are persons in some type of hell, but the emphasis is “to get away from the picture of an angry, intolerant God. I don’t see God that bitter.”

Looking back on the last few years, I realize that many Christians seem to believe in this gospel of inclusion.  Several young persons whom I have been teaching also seem to believe that God would not condemn anyone, but rather will save all people.  I wonder, has this teaching actually found its way into the ELCA?  If so, how?

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8 Responses to The Gospel of Inclusion

  1. Thank you for sharing this. Although I am not Lutheran but as a Christian saved by grace, I am perplexed at how slowly the Christian faith has gotten so contaminated with strange teachings which people, especially the youth are quickly embracing. If the problem is here with us, then its TIME for the church to get on her knees and pray. Perhaps…things might be different. God bless you.

    • 1.eyed.jack says:

      bwahahahaha….after composing several paragraphs for a hour the cat jumped on the keyboard and sent it into cyberspace…….

      Long story short is the “gospel of inclusion” is nothing more than the “easy button”.
      It reqires no decision, no responsibility, no change of lifestyle. Who wouldn’t be impressed with that gravy train? Like the Shamwow, it doesn’t hold water.

  2. I have never heard this preached so inclusively, so to speak, as you write about this belief. I’ve heard it said that the bible says believe and be saved, but that the Bible doesn’t speak so specifically about those of unbelief or those never presented with the Gospel, therefore we can’t know God’s mind about this. That isn’t quite the same thing.

  3. Pr. Lance Henderson says:

    Actually the Bible does speak about the unbelief in an unflattering light.

    Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned

    Mark 8:38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

    John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

    Even that famous “Gospel in miniture” John 3:16 is the preface for more on the topic.

    John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

    If you really want to see more, just pick up a Chick’s Tracks next time you are in a rest stop. Chick isn’t my brand of theology and puts the focus in the wrong place, but those little magazines do list plenty of scripture that points to the effect of unbelief.

    As for those to whom the gospel has never been presented, I’ve always considered that something God will sort out, not me.

  4. Pr. Lance Henderson says:

    oop…it’s Chick Tracts…my bad, Chick Publications

  5. Diane says:

    Chick isn’t my brand either.

    • PC says:

      So, according to the Gospel of Inclusion, since I believe in Jesus Christ I am unconditionally saved, and therefore there is no need for me to attend church and contribute to its unnecessary ministry? Sweet!

  6. revdw1 says:

    Good to see you again PC!

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