Ben, Matt







Great theological overview

Ben uses the framework from The Gospel Coalition's article What About Those Who Haven’t Heard? as a starting point. From most exlusive to most inclusive:

1. Church Exclusivism

  • Must be a member of a certain church
  • Ultra-traditional Catholics

2. Gospel Exclusivism

  • Must be saved through the gospel
  • Reformed, John Piper

3. Special Revelation Exclusivism

  • Could be saved, for example, by a vision of Jesus
  • Non-fundamentalist conservative Evangelical, Catholic

4. Agnosticism (as to the fate of the unevangelized)

  • Not sure exactly who will make it
  • Pessimistic (not sure and no evidence indicates it) or optimistic (not sure but I hope God saves all or most)
  • Non-fundamentalist conservative Evangelical, Catholic
  • J. I. Packer (pessimistic), Hans Urs von Balthasar (optimistic), John Stott (optimistic)

5. General Revelation Inclusivism

  • More than a hope that general revelation saves
  • Fewer non-fundamentalist conservative Evangelical, Catholic

6. World Religions Inclusivism

  • Other religions can save
  • With reservations (Christians in other religions) or enthusiastic (should find God in your culture's religion)
  • C. S. Lewis (with reservations), Karl Rahner (with reservations), Hans Küng (enthusiastic)

7. Postmortem Evangelism

  • Everyone in hell will eventually be saved
  • Essentially turns hell into purgatory
  • Rob Bell, George MacDonald

8. Universalism

  • Everyone will be saved (some like Origen would even include Satan)
  • Unitarians
  • Origen (this is why he isn't a saint)

9. Pluralism

  • Everyone will be saved and Christianity is not a better way to God than other religions

Believing 1-6 are compatible with orthodox Christianity.

In Lumen Gentium, the Catholic church affirmed that #6 is possible.

47:04 There are always two empty chairs in the studio. Ben uses Jesus sitting in the room speaking as an example of revelation. We do always just leave this chair empty. No, it's not empty. What if he wanted to sit there right now? Your pants are on it. I know, my pants are hanging here, I got a laptop case. I mean, what if this was the week Jesus wanted to fill the chair? We do have two empty chairs. Just for the Father and Son; Holy Spirit's gotta stand.

Ben believes #4 (optmistic orthodox) and is sympathetic to #5 and C. S. Lewis-style #6.


Obviously I agree with what the church is teaching us here through the second Vatican Council-- I don't want to interrupt, but I just want the listeners to just know, just in case there's anyone wondering: the pants that are on the chair are a different pair of pants than the ones I'm currently wearing. That's true. Not since The Life Report have we done a show where Matt did not wear pants. That's also not true. I've always--one of my main podcasting rules has been: wear pants.


Are you an optimistic agnostic or a pessimistic agnostic regarding Matt's wearing of pants?


I don't think any of us want even our enemies to suffer for eternity. Not for eternity.

Matt believes #5. He thinks 1-5 are orthodox.