Who Then Will Be Saved?

Derek Ouellette —  March 19, 2010

In a book called Death and Afterlife: A Theological Introduction, Terence Nichols writes:

“I am writing from a Christian perspective and will appeal primarily to a Christian audience… Although I believe that ultimately all who are saved are saved through the work of the incarnate Logos, Jesus the Christ, I emphatically do not believe that only professed Christians can be saved. As Peter says in his speech to Cornelius, “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:34-35)” – p. 16

I think there may be some merit to this line of thinking, though I know it is a matter of great dispute.

What do you think?

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Derek Ouellette

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a husband, new dad, speaker, writer, christian. see my profile here.
  • http://web.me.com/craigadams1/ Craig L. Adams
  • http://covenantoflove.net Derek Ouellette

    Your article is really good. I find it interesting that as my theology develops quite independent from some people, it turns out we are on (or coming on) the same page. The “some people” here is a reference to Wesley.

    My (tentative) position is this: I happen to believe that there is just “one little door” – Jesus said “narrow is the way” and he said “I am the door”. But while Jesus is the only way, still, not only professed Christians will be saved.

    I haven’t worked this out in any details yet, but thanks for the link.
    .-= Derek Ouellette´s last blog ..How Did The Irish Save Civilization? =-.

  • Donna Ouellette

    There seems to be only one moment in the events of the bible that comes to my mind, that may show that someone who may not be a professed Christian may also be saved.

    The moment is when Jesus is on the cross and beside him are 2 thieves who are also being crucified along side with him…

    Luke 23:39-42

    39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.

    42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. ” 43 Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

    …After hearing this…Could it not be possible that as the man came to realize his sin, a conversion into Christianity took place that very moment?

    To put it plainly, I think that we really teeter totter on the line if we are not clear about exactly who will be saved. Yes everyone “can” be saved…but few will find salvation.

    But the word does say “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever shall believe in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”….and with that I believe that everyone “can” be saved, but must come to the saving knowledge of Christ.

    I pray that I have not offended you in any way.

    Be blessed.


  • http://covenantoflove.net Derek Ouellette

    Hi Donna, thanks for the comment. You have not offended me in any way. In fact, I agree with what you wrote and believe that what you wrote agrees with me, as I said above, there is only “one little door – Jesus said “narrow is the way” and he said “I am the door””. The issue for me isn’t “was the criminal saved?” but, “was he a professed christian” with emphasis on “professed”.

    Let me offer other examples in the New Testament of people who were “saved” but not “professed Christians”.

    –> Stephen, a deacon in the Jerusalem church and the first martyr for the Gospel (Acts 6-7)
    –> James, a disciple of Jesus, brother of John and Apostle. (Acts 12:2)

    The reason I say this is because the word “Christian” had not been invented yet (Acts 11:26 – In the case of James, the word “Christian” was invented in the city of Antioch about the same time that James was murdered in Jerusalem, it is unlikely he heard of it before he died).

    So I don’t think any “teetering” is going on here. Now the practical issue for me lands us into the discussion of infants who die or individuals with severe down syndrom – neither of which are able to “profess” Christianity. So most Christians will accept a “mystery” in the mercy of God here. So then for me this leads into the discussion of people in remote parts of the globe who have never had an opportunity to hear the gospel. Are they automatically hell bound because of where they were born? Or is there a mystery here also? This is not to suggest that everyone in a remote place will be “saved”, but perhaps this is where the Apostle Peter’s quote comes into play:

    “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:34-35)

    Perhaps this is what Paul is pointing to in Romans 2:14-16:

    “For when Gentiles who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the word of the law is written on their hearts, while thier conscious also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.”

    So given these biblical passages, that is my struggle. I could go on, I hope you see my point.

  • http://miltonalmeida.com Milton Almeida

    Terence Nichols mentions Peter in his speech to Cornelius and I, as a CALVINIST, mention Paul in his teaching about ELECTION and PREDESTINATION. The ELECT will be saved and God does not have to give us an account as to why. The parable of the workers teaches us that no matter how “early or late” you were called, you will receive THE SAME REWARD. The ELECT among many other religions, will be drawn to Christ and THROUGH CHRIST, whether we know it or not, whether God reveals to us their conversion or not, WILL BE SAVED.

    Also, even as a Protestant CALVINIST preacher, I have to say that we mustn’t forget that JESUS spoke with DEAD PEOPLE at least twice. It is not anything hard for God to reveal CHRIST to His elect at any moment He so pleases.

    We as Christians should be careful when dooming people to hell too quickly.