He Will Glorify Me: Evaluating The Pneumatology Of Inclusivists And Pluralists -- By: Todd L. Miles

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 16:4 (Winter 2012)
Article: He Will Glorify Me: Evaluating The Pneumatology Of Inclusivists And Pluralists
Author: Todd L. Miles


He Will Glorify Me: Evaluating The Pneumatology Of Inclusivists And Pluralists1

Todd L. Miles

Todd L. Miles is Assistant Professor of Theology and Hermeneutics at Western Seminary.

He earned the Ph.D. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and he is the author of A God of Many Understandings? The Gospel and a Theology of Religions (B&H, 2010).

Introduction

In Acts 4, Peter and John were summoned before the rulers, elders, and scribes in Jerusalem to explain how they had healed a man lame from birth. They responded, “Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead-by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” This conviction motivated Peter and John, and the rest of the apostles, to endure persecution for the sake of Christ and relentlessly proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations.

That simple statement of the uniqueness of Jesus did not preach well to the sensibilities of Peter and John’s audience.

Nor does it preach well in our current postmodern context. To suggest that there is only one way to be reconciled to God is seen as offensive, intolerant, and just plain rude. Nevertheless, Peter and John were correct. Based upon the biblical evidence, I am convinced that one must hear and believe the gospel in order to be saved, and that the biblical response to the question of “What about those who have never heard?” is “Go tell them!” This conviction is not shared by an increasing number of evangelicals. For reasons of their own, many are uncomfortable with the narrow exclusivity described above and are proposing different ways of interpreting the text of Acts 4:12 and others like them, to allow for a wider hope and a less restrictive stance. Further, many are turning to pneumatology as the starting point for their proposals. Believing that the church has illegitimately circumscribed the mission of the Spirit by the mission of the Son, some inclusivists and pluralists are suggesting that maintaining a relative independence of the Spirit from the Son will create the theological

space necessary to justify their inclusivist and pluralist proposals. The purpose of this article is to describe those proposals and th...

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