The Population of Heaven: A Biblical Response to the Inclusivist Position on Who Will Be Saved. By Ramesh P. Richard. Chicago: Moody Press, 1994. 170 pp. Paper, $9.99.
The Population of Heaven is a excellent response to the inclusivist positions of Clark Pinnock and John Sanders.
According to inclusivism, people don’t need to know anything about Christ to be saved. While inclusivists like Pinnock and Sanders say that people are saved by faith, they do not believe that the content of that faith must be Christ. Faith in Allah, Vishnu, or any god or gods can save, as long as the faith is sincere.
Dr. Richard evaluates the philosophical presuppositions of inclusivism and then compares this position with relevant biblical texts. He shows that inclusivism does not take into account the radically different doctrines of God in the various religions, including various monotheistic, pantheistic, and deistic ones.
The author also shows that inclusivism emphasizes the love of God but doesn’t even discuss the judgment passages in the Bible. God does condemn the content of other religions and gives specific content that must be believed in order to be rightly related to Him. Richard has an especially good section on passages which show that to be saved people must specifically trust in the Lord Jesus Christ (e.g., Acts 4:12; 10:43; John 3:16; and 14:6).
This is an excellent critique of pluralism from an evangelical perspective and I highly recommend it.
R. Michael Duffy