Introduction Fall 2010

Salvation Without a Savior?

Salvation is a central topic in Christian theology. Our beliefs about the nature of biblical salvation and the means by which it is attained are critically important to the Christian faith; knowing why these beliefs are so important should be a prerequisite for Evangelicals entering into interfaith dialogue. Such an understanding is the beginning point for knowing what beliefs we need to hold resolutely as we engage in dialogue with religious “others.”

Underlying every approach to interfaith dialogue are essential questions that must be examined if that approach is to be faithful to Christ and his gospel. Broadly, these questions include the nature of truth, the nature and dynamics of revelation, the work of God outside of the Church in the world at large, and a range of other issues. One in particular that causes divisions especially among Evangelicals is whether there is revelation in other religions and if this revelation is in any sense salvific. It is this question, for example, that drives the heated debate between inclusivists, exclusivists, and pluralists. How should we think about those who have never heard the gospel of Jesus, but nevertheless attempt to live in light of some form of knowledge of God revealed through creation? How we answer this question, and more importantly how we frame it, needs to be done with careful theological reflection; for how we frame it and accordingly answer it sets the agenda for our dialogue. That being said, however, we must always begin with a biblical understanding of salvation and not assume that salvation is understood in the same way among other religions.

In this issue, Dr. Christopher J. H. Wright, the international director of Langham Partnership International, presents a biblical theology of salvation seen through the lens of new creation and the eschatological consummation of salvation.