A thought experiment about restrictivism and inclusivism

One of the hottest topics among evangelical theologians (and theologically interested pastors and lay people) is the destiny of the unevangelized.  Put most simply: Does everyone go to hell who never hears the gospel of Jesus Christ explicitly communicated?  One traditional and popular answer (especially among fundamentalists) is simply “Yes.”  This is called Restrictivism.  Strict Restrictivism (I don’t really know any other kind) is defeated if there can be shown to be one individual who died and went to heaven (I’m using informal language about the after life here–I really mean “to paradise”) without ever hearing the name Jesus Christ.

As a side bar: One issue related to this is WHEN this situation became the case.  That is, everyone, including Restrictivists, believes that people could be and were saved under the “old covenant” in view of the coming of the promised Messiah of God.  So, to the best of my knowledge, every Restrictivist believes there were “saved people” in the world at the time of Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection.  Nobody I know says salvation began around 33 AD and nobody was saved before that or at that time except with explicit knowledge of Jesus Christ.  Most thoughtful evangelical theologians who are Restrictivists would say people were saved under the old covenant by God’s grace on account of their “Abrahamic faith” or trust in God’s promise or something like that.  Examples would be people like Simeon and Anna (Luke 2).

For all Restrictivists that I know the “cutting off point” was Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Since his resurrection there has been no salvation apart from an explicit hearing of the gospel of Jesus Christ by name.

Here is my thought experiment that convinces me this Restrictivism simply can’t hold up logically.  At the time Jesus died and rose there were people saved by their Abrahamic Faith (like Simeon and Anna and possibly Cornelius) “out there” in the Roman empire.  (After all, more Jews lived outside of Palestine than in Palestine during Jesus’ life and at the time of his death.)  I don’t know anyone who denies that.  But the Restrictivist must answer the question: What happened to those people if no Christian apostle or other witness reached them with the name of Jesus before they died? 

Imagine a particular person of Abrahamic faith born in, say, Alexandria, Egypt (where thousands of faithful Jewish people lived and had their own Temple and synogogues, etc.) in 20 A.D.  This person, like Simeon and Anna or Cornelius “was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him.” (Luke 2:25–about Simeon) 

Again, I don’t know any Restrictivist who denies there were such people.

The question the Restrictivist must answer is: What happened to that devout, faithful Jewish believer in Yahweh and the coming Messiah when he died, say in 50 A.D.,without ever hearing about Jesus?  (Now please don’t quibble by arguing that by 50 A.D. he would have heard of Jesus; even if that were probable, all I would have to do is move his death closer to 33 A.D–say 40 A.D.–and nobody would say every faithful Jew in the whole Roman empire and beyond had heard of Jesus by then.)

So, the question is: What did Christ’s death and resurrection do to already saved people?  A strict Restrictivist (is there any other kind?) would have to say they all went to hell and thus Christ’s death actually “unsaved them.”  Think about that.  Can anyone say that with a straight face?  Can anyone believe that about the cross?  It would flatly contradict everything the New Testament says about the cross but especially John 3:17.  I don’t know anyone who says that Christ’s death on the cross unsaved people.

But!  If the Restrictivist doesn’t say that, what does he say?  If he says our hypothetical Jewish believer in Alexandria died in 50 A.D. without every hearing of Jesus Christ and went to heaven (paradise), then he is no longer a true Restrictivist.  He has just opened the door of his own mind to some kind of Inclusivism.

Of course, one attempt to get around this is to say that God simply assured that every person he knew would accept the gospel of Jesus Christ heard it before dying.  But let’s just move our hypothetical Alexandrian Jew’s birth and death earlier a couple decades to test that.  Would anyone say with a straight face that God assured that everyone who he knew would accept the gospel heard it before dying including those who died with Abrahamic faith one week, one month, six months, one year after Jesus’ death on the cross?  That would seem to be a stretch.  Who would have taken the message of Jesus to faithful Jews and gentile God-fearers in, say, Rome or Spain one week, one month, six months, one year after Jesus’ death? 

So I asked a leading Restrictivist evangelical pastor-theologian about this and his response was “God grandfathered them in.”  All I could do was say “Huh?”  I guess what he means is that God too to paradise all who were already saved when Jesus died on the cross when they died.  But that just pushes the question back to their sons and daughters. 

Suppose our faithful Jewish man in Alexandria died and went to heaven in 50 A.D. without ever hearing of Jesus Christ.  He was, as the adamant Restrictivist pastor-theologian (whose name you would all know if I said it), “grandfathered in” by God.  But what about his son?  His son, born in 40 A.D. grew up to have the same Abrahamic faith in God as his father; he worshiped at the Alexandrian Temple and attended the synagogue faithfully and trusted in Yahweh for his salvation.  He repented of his sins, did his best to please God with his life, gave God all the glory for his salvation, etc., etc.  He looked forward to the coming of God’s promised Messiah even though he did not know he had already come.  His father, with identical faith to his own, died and went to heaven in 50 A.D. without ever hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ. But, according to my Restrictivist friend, he died in 70 A.D. and went to hell.  Huh?  Why would God not also grandfather him in?  And his son and everyone else throughout the whole world who ever came to have Abrahamic faith in Yahweh?  At what point did God say “Enough is enough; I’m not going to save anyone else who doesn’t hear the gospel of Jesus Christ?”

Now, one possible response to this is to say God saves all Jews who have true Abrahamic faith in God like Simeon and Anna.  Even today.   Even if they never hear of Jesus Christ.  But that would be adopting a “two covenants” model of salvation which most evangelicals reject.  And it would mean we would not need to evangelize Jews.  Very few evangelicals believe that.  I know my Restrictivist friend doesn’t believe that.  So this possible solution isn’t one most, if any, Restrictivists opt for.

I have attempted to ask many Restrictivists about this mind experiment and to date not one has answered me.  Specifically, the question is, IF you believe there is no possibility of salvation apart from an explicit knowledge of Jesus Christ, when did that become the case and what happened to people who were saved at the time of Jesus who died after him without ever hearing about him?  And if you say “They were grandfathered in,” what about their sons and daughters? 

My argument is that this mind experiment simply falsifies strict Restrictivism.  It is impossile reasonably to hold to strict Restrictivism in light of this thought experiment and the inevitable answers it brings forth.  An honest, reasonable Restrictivist HAS to admit exceptions to his Restrictivism.  And it won’t work to say “Yes, then, but no longer” because then you have to specify when the “then” ended and the “no longer” began.

My own conclusion is, in the light of this thought experiment, no reasonable and honest person can continue to embrace and promote strict Restrictivism without serious qualifications so that it is no longer really Restrictivism but becomes some kind of Inclusivism.  That they do tells me they are more committed to a conservative agenda than to being reasonable (i.e., non-obscurantist).

This is perhaps the main problem I have with fundamentalists–obscurantism.  In my experience they tend simply to refuse to face the problems with their extremely conservative beliefs and just merrily go on teaching others what they believe without admitting the serious problems.  Another example, that I expounded earlier, is strict inerrancy that appeals to the non-existent original autographs.  (For the full argument about how unreasonable that is you’ll have to go back to an earlier post.)

My experience of posing this thought experiment and the dilemma it creates for Restrictivism to fundamentalists is this: They always simply refuse to deal with it and turn to quoting Bible verses.  The ONLY answer I’ve ever gotten to it from a Restrictivism was the “grandfathered in” answer but that didn’t solve the problem because the Restrictivist didn’t even attempt to answer the question about the offspring of the grandfathered in person.

Promoting Restrictivism without admitting its serious problems seems to me the height of obscurantism–especially once one had been confronted with this conundrum.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Matt Waldron

    Thanks for the post Dr. Olson. Pastor’s get asked this question all of the time.

  • As you say, restrictivism (like inerrancy) seems to be one of those doctrines people hold to simply because it is a part of their conservative-fundamentalist theological agenda. They almost refuse to part with it because to do so would mean the crumbling of their entire system (or so many think). It’s a doctrine that their system requires in order for it to be considered fully, and truly, conservative. I guess conservatism means holding to things even if the arguments presented in favor of it are weak and full of logical inconsistencies.

    Another area to introduce into the conversation is the role of the Spirit in salvation, particularly in relation to the unevangelized (including those in other religions). I wrote a short paper on this topic a couple of years ago from a Pentecostal perspective, arguing for a cosmic work of the Spirit that includes, but also transcends, human involvement in the salvation task. For those interested, you may find the paper (PDF format) on my blog via this link — http://jeffkclarke.com/links/ Simply scroll down to the bottom of the page. I welcome your dialogue.

    Blessings!

    • Did you by any chance find Amos Yong’s work helpful in this regard?

      • I did. Very much. Pinnock, Karkkainen were also helpful.

  • How wonderful. You have been successful at attacking the weaknesses of a system held by people who are trying to maintain a biblical emphasis that Salvation is only by faith in Christ.

    You have offered no alternative view. Neither have you offered a view that still seeks to maintain the emphasis that salvation is through faith Christ alone.

    No wonder Calvinists argue that arminianism leads to liberalism. When so many arminian theologians spend so much time speculating the problems with believing that only those who have faith in Christ can be saved. The only fruit of this emphasis for the church can be the adoption of beliefs that faith in Christ is not essential for salvation.

    I think this tendancy is what seperates modern theologians from the guys who really did the buisness with God. Wesley did not spend his time tinkering about with this kind of stuff, he burned with a passion to preach the gospel and reach the lost for Christ. Was it not Spurgeon who said “the question of what happens to those who do not hear the gospel should not be the one which consumes but rather will be the destiny of us who do hear and believe but do not make every effort to make the gospel known to to those who have not heard.” My paraphrase.

    Apologies for the bluntness of my comment, you have obviously ruffled some of my underlying fundamentalist commitments.

    On a less direct note, in your book Arminian Theology and your AoG interview. You aknowledge that every system has ‘blind spots’. ‘Unaswerable questions’. ‘Mysteries of the faith’. Every system has a point in which it leaves a question mark unsolvable by man. You concede that this is true of calvinism and arminianism. You argue that this is ok. Why not show the same regard towards those who hold a restrictivist view point? Because at the end of the day, if every system has flaws it is not really a work of great genius or piety in identifying the blind spots and rejoicing over them.

    From what I see, restrictivists are seeking to preserve the exclusivity of salvation in Christ. Something which Jesus, the Apostles and the early Fathers sought to do.

    Yours in Christ

    John (Evangelist)

    • Excuse me while I remind you that you don’t address the dilemma I posed. This doesn’t seem like a mystery to me; it is a true problem with Restrictivism that Restrictivists should address rather than just call those who ask it “liberal.” As a matter of fact, Wesley was an Inclusivist; he believed God is an equal opportunity Savior. As for Spurgeon, well, what should we make of someone who prayed “God, save all the elect…and then elect some more”?

    • John I.

      No one on this blog is saying that non-restrictivists are not seeking to preserve the exclusivity of salvation in Christ. The issue being discussed is not whether there is salvation apart from Christ–there isn’t, because no one comes to the father except through Jesus. The issue is how one can know if someone else (i.e., other than one’s own self) has had the opportunity of being saved in Christ. Answering that question involves making decisions about how people appropriate the salvation of Jesus. For example, the criminal on the cross made no oral confession of faith as we would consider it today; he didn’t do the contemporary standard prayer of conversion or understand the five (?) rules.

      John I.

  • Scott powers

    Firstly I truly believe the question should never be avoided – But when it can be addressed fairly God is the one who does restrict in so many ways? All may come ,as in “come right this way” ,as in “this path” “this gate” etc. I see no problem with the Grandfathered Jew scenario ,I would view them as Sheep who know their shepherds voice (remnant ,true Jews) as in having true revelation ,perhaps not consummation this side of meeting their shepherd .I believe these are the ones Jesus speaks to in John 6 ”knowing his voice” .He spoke to them in “various ways” -but in these last days he has spoke to us through Jesus. I think they will meet their shepherd by “knowing his voice” in the revelation they had they truly heard .
    To make this mind experiment answer the harder question insert those with only natural revelation ,as those without a shepherd.
    Also Scripture seems clear to me esoteric knowledge is not enough – we have to have something outside ourselves in the nature of revelation -What of those in our day who don’t have the “good news” ? ,and then how will they hear unless…..
    Alas I am at a loss to answer what I know is at the core of this experiment .I believe the rigid stance ,and false pride might be your objective . Not being so quick to address what we think we know absolutely as in having an equation so the sum must be X -yet scripture may be unambitious to say – We may be missing the true intent often in our absolutes perhaps?

    Dr Olson , Thank you for your irenic stance .Your blog is so valued in a journey I would never have dreamed has taken us away from hard determinism , in part by facing some hard questions . Its been difficult ,but much easier with your input .Your in our prayers .We are Looking forward to your next book! — Scott P.

  • Ben

    Along these same lines, most who hold to strict Restrictivism also hold to the idea that babies, children – before the age of accountability, and the mentally challenged go to heaven. Of course, they would give the credit to Jesus on their behalf…so Jesus still gets the glory for their salvation though they didn’t realize it was Jesus throughout their lives. Why can’t that same logic be used towards what Paul says in Rom. 2:6-16? Is it not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob whose law their conscience is bearing witness of? If they’re following their conscience in that law while depending on a nameless God are they not going to be counted righteous? Will the blood of Jesus not cover them in light of 1 John 2:2?

  • Have you seen John Howard Yoder’s book, The Jewish-Christian Schism Revisited? While not directly related to your question, it offers some interesting suggestions with implications that would directly impact your question. In the meantime, nice post!

  • I enjoy reading each of your posts Roger as they sharpen me and make me think deeper. They stir me to call out the Lord for wisdom and revelation. I need and want to see the Lord more clearly each and every day. Thank you!

    Here are a few of my rambling thoughts on your post…
    I am Reformed in belief and also believe there is salvation only through Jesus Christ. Yes, depending on when was born one looks forward to the cross of Christ or backwards to it. It is Jesus who saves. Your hypothetical example is thought provoking and interesting to say the least :-)!

    First, your person has lived on both sides of the cross so there would only be a certain number of these folks. So no matter how the question is answered it seems to be a poor example for this discussion in our day.

    Second, you said he is saved. I take that to mean he was looking forward the promises of God’s Word being fulfilled and was saved the same way an Old Testament saint was. Using your chronology this is possible.

    Third, I believe that God in His faithfulness would send someone to instruct him in “the way of God more accurately” just like He did for Apollos with Priscilla and Aquila. I think you are wrong in ruling this out. I say that because on the Day of Pentecost there were no doubt people present from his region (Acts 2:5-12).

    I have yet to hear/read there is another way to God besides faith in the work of Christ which stays which faithful to the person/work of Christ as revealed in the scriptures.

    Blessings,
    Jacob Lee
    Reaching Africa’s Unreached- http://www.ReachingAfricasUnreached.org

    • My point was not to prove an alternative view to strict Restrictivism but only to show it has serious flaws and therefore Restrictivists should not be so adamant about it. (I was told by the editor of a “four views” book on the destiny of the unevangelized that one well-known evangelical theologian refused to acknowledge there are any Christian views besides his own–Restrictivism.)

      • Understand, I didn’t mean to sound like like there are other views which true Christians believe…in my last sentence I should have said “I have yet to be persuaded that there is another way to God besides personal faith in the work of Christ which remains faithful to the person/work of Christ as revealed in the scriptures.”

        No doubt all views have there flaws, we are finite. The real question is which ones have the least flaws and are the most biblically sound. Your question has made me think more clearly but I remain unconvinced there is a better/more bibilcal view than Restrictivism.

  • This test case never fails, and I will always remember it since being in your class a few years ago, “Who will be Saved?” In addition to the importance of affirming inclusivism, it seems a major task for the evangelical theologian is to articulate what the soteriological implications are for this inclusivism. In other words, are we thus affirming two different covenants – a possibility you alluded to? To me the next most important question remains: “What saves”, if not explicit faith in Christ? You mentioned, Dr. Olson, “He repented of his sins, did his best to please God with his life, gave God all the glory for his salvation, etc., etc.” Is this what we say for Christians and non-Christians alike then? I personally have always liked the story of the two thieves on the cross in the Lucan crucifixion – “what saves” in this case, in a word, appears to be something like brokenness or humility. Maybe by looking at Jesus’ teachings we could also add something like “a genuine love for others.” To me these criteria are not based on works-righteousness necessary, insofar as they are passive or receptive attitudes of the heart, which of course give rise to good deeds. And what prompts this attitude in people can be identified as the immanent and omnipresent Spirit of God. This is not to say that those without this “posture” are necessary condemned, nor to suggest that it is a simple formula of figuring out who’s in and out, which is a question Christianity has an ugly history of being obsessed over. This view also needs not take away from a christocentric vision. I think this idea could go a long way in getting at a universal soteriology. Weaknesses of course might be that it apparently diminishes the importance of proclamation or the centrality of the cross, but I think this is easily refutable. This kind of soteriology is very open to a more incarnational theory of atonement as well, which is wanting in evangelical preaching, and is a much higher christological theory than the common liberal, exemplary theories evangelicals are constantly warding off.

  • Aaron

    I understand why people hold to the restrictivist view – I think Piper just wrote a book against inclusivism saying that it deflates the motivation for missions. But I think that is crap – If anything calvinism has been used to deflate motivation for missions. The call would be the same for both calvinists and inclusivists – For the glory of God and being obediant to his call! Who gets saved is up to him.

  • John

    But even you are a proponent of restrictivism?
    Four billion living-breathing-feeling human beings are not Christians.
    In 2011 anyone with an internet connection has access to all of the Sacred Scriptures of the entire Great Tradition of humankind.
    All of which in a time of instantaneous global inter-connectedness is our common inheritance.
    The world is now engaged in global warfare because over what are essentially wars of mind. That is wars of competing culture-bound narratives that were fabricated hundreds and even thousands of years ago by what were then small completely insignificant (in the scale of the world altogether) self-serving tribalistic cults.

  • Jayflm

    Dr. Olson, it seems to me that strict Restrictivism is based on a particular interpretation of Jn. 14:6, which reads into the text ‘no one comes to the Father except through me’ an insertion along the lines of ‘through personal faith in me’. An open-minded reading of Scripture such as Romans 1 & 2, however, reveals a more subtle separation between the many who descend into deeper and more perverse rebellion and the few Gentiles of 2:14-16 who demonstrate that that they have the law of God written on their hearts. Paul evidently expected some who never heard of Jesus to somehow be acceptable to God, but also knew that the majority needed the confrontation with the Gospel that would call them to repentance and faith.

    I fondly recall Bruce Corley telling our NT Survey class that we would be surprised by three things when we entered heaven: That we made it; who else made it; and who didn’t!

  • One of the central tenets of Evangelical faith is conversionism. The question I would ask of your scenario is: who was converted? How were they converted?

    A person who was converted under the Old Testament would do exactly what John the Baptist did: surrender to Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Hypothetically, could such Old Testament believers continue to exist – converted – but remain isolated from the preaching of the Gospel and the Christian community? Even down to our own day? Sure. Maybe they are out there somewhere. But their salvation would not be under a different covenant. They would be saved by faith in Christ, just as we are – either in a Christ foreseen through Abraham, or a Christ proclaimed in the Gospel. Both are the same Christ, and all who have ever been converted have been converted by faith in Him, under the New Covenant (for He is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world). It is not a question of head knowledge about Christ’s identity, but a matter of living faith in Him. The proclamation of Christ would never take away the salvation of a converted Old Testament believer. Such a person would necessarily embrace Christ when He is proclaimed – because such a person has a converted heart. The preaching of the Gospel would not “unsave” any truly converted Jew, it would merely establish or discredit his claim to faith. If such people still exist today, preaching the Gospel to them will do the same.

    This does not mean that salvation is “inclusive” (in the sense that one can be saved apart from faith in Christ). My scenario is strictly Restrictivist, maintaining the core Evangelical conviction that only those who are converted through faith in Christ are truly saved (and those who are not converted by faith in Christ are lost). Does this not uphold everything that is Biblically and theologically fundamental to Evangelical faith, without opening a door to the error of inclusivistic universalism or some vague possibility of salvation outside of the Gospel?

    Galatians 3:8 “The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham . . .”

    It was the same Gospel that Paul preached, though some of the historical details were not yet revealed in Abraham’s day.

    • That is not what I understand “Restrictivism” to mean. Restrictivism has always meant (in every account of it I have ever read) that since the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ no one can be saved apart from explicit knowledge of him by name. All evangelical Inclusivists I know would be your kind of Restrictivists. That is, we all agree that salvation comes only through Jesus Christ whether we know his name or not. My entire point is that once you recognize the logical incoherence of strict Restrictivism (as I have defined it here) with the prima facie certainty of the salvation of faithful Jews after Christ’s death and resurrection you have to give up strict Restrictivism and once you do that it’s difficult not admit the possibility of other people having the equivalent of Abrahamic faith and thus being saved without explicit knowledge of Jesus Christ.

  • Scott Powers

    Were people “saved” as in salvation outside the Jewish faith before Jesus advent ? This needs to be factored in I think .

    • Good question. If I’m not mistaken Melchizedek was not of the Hebrew people or their religion but is included the “Faith’s hall of fame” in Hebrews 11.

      • Brian Small

        Melchizedek is not mentioned in Hebrews 11, but in chapters 5-7.

        • My bad. Thanks for the correction.

          • Scott Powers

            Enoch was taken . Hebrews 11

          • It’s easy enough to find people who were saved outside the Jewish faith prior to Abraham (Noah comes to mind, as well as Abel and probably Job – depending on your dating for Job). But is there a record of anyone being saved outside the Jewish faith after the initiation of God’s covenant with Abraham?

            It seems that all of the non-Jews who were saved in the Old Testament were saved by faith in the God of Abraham.

  • A few years ago, I felt compelled to abandon restrictivism for the compelling evidence of belief in postmortem conversions in the apostolic church, for example, 1 Peter 3:18—4:6, 1 Corinthians 15, and Revelation 19:11—22:15.

  • Acts 17:16–34 always challenged my previous restrictivist view. Paul preached to the Athenians in 17:29–31:
    “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

    I could never see how “In the past God overlooked such ignorance” had anything to do with past Athenians suffering eternal conscious torment.

    • I’ll also add that I don’t see how these verses might indicate that God overlooked the judgment of Athenians who died after the resurrection of Jesus, but these verses didn’t apply to Athenians who died before the resurrection of Jesus.

  • JohnM

    Roger, could you explain what you mean by “the equivalent of Abrahamic faith”? When you say “equivalent”, what would you see as qualifying, and how might it differ from actual Abrahamic faith?

    • By “the equivalent of Abrahamic faith” I mean a genuine sorrow for sin and trust in the God whose name is not yet known to save. Call it “Melchizedekian faith.”

  • BOB

    While reading through this thought experiment I began to think of the Apostle Paul when he was still known as Saul. Wouldn’t he qualify as a righteous and devout Jew who sought to live a true and authentic life according to his Abrahamic faith? If he would have died before he headed down the road to Damascus would he have gone to Heaven?

    • If so, he would have gone to that part of heaven Calvin later went to. 🙂 (Reference to one of my more controversial previous posts here.)

      • BOB

        I don’t understand the reference to Calvin (and don’t really care).

        When Paul looked back at this period of his life and wrote about it in his letters did he think that he was SAVED or LOST?

        • Please go back and read my earlier post about purgatory. If you don’t care, then let’s just drop it.

          • BOB

            I read it. I do care.

            Why would you even entertain the notion that some type of a class on how to act for those arriving in heaven (and we all have issues not just Calvin et. al.) would be needed? Sounds like an idea more in line with the Dog Whisperer than the Bible.

            Are you saying that these men weren’t good enough to get into Heaven they way they were and had to work out the last bits of bad stuff in their lives before God could issue his stamp of approval on their lives. Is anyone good enough to get into Heaven?

            I thought that when we shed this mortal body with all of it’s flaws all of those problems would go away. Why would you think that they would linger on in the presence of God? What evidence do you have for that?

            Didn’t Jesus pay the price for all of our sin? What more do we have to do to be saved?

            What does this have to do with Saul/Paul looking back at his life as a uber orthodox Jew? Did he think that he would have been held up in some type of a mental conditioning camp before going to Heaven or was he going to Hell?

            Too much imagination about what might be rather than what the Bible tells us will be.

  • MLC

    I know this is an old post, but I would like to add that after thinking about it, it seems restrictivism goes against salvation through faith alone. It adds an extra condition of knowledge required for salvation, which seems to give it a semi-gnostic soteriolgy in my opinion.