Sunday, May 04, 2008

Who Will Be Saved?

Who Will Be Saved? is the central question of my newest book, from Abingdon Press.

In the last few years, teaching and preaching in our churches, I've found a good deal of interest, and some confusion, in regard to what Christians believe about salvation in Jesus Christ.  We Wesleyans have always taken an orthodox view of how and whom Jesus Christ saves.  But we have also stressed salvation as part of the active, seeking, relentlessness of God into all corners of creation, all types of humanity.  

This book deals with issues of the scope of God's salvation in Jesus Christ, the place of other faiths in Christian views of salvation, heaven, forgiveness, eternal damnation, universal salvation and many other matters related to the main theme of salvation.  It is available now from Cokesbury.  


Craig L. Adams said...

Thanks for letting us know about this. There are so many books being published. It's good to know what you are contributing. I'll keep an eye out for this.

Paul said...

I've always found this topic interesting. The funny thing, though, is that, no matter which view one subscribes to regarding who is saved, (Origen's, Barth's, Calvin's, or Wesley's, etc.) one's BELIEF doesn't change the reality. We really don't know (can't empirically verify) who's "in" and who's "out", so why bother making any dogmatic claims on the issue?

Craig L. Adams said...

The comments over @ Cokesbury give one the impression that this book is simply one more attempt to defend universalism, however. I think the idea of the universality of grace is certainly Wesleyan, but universal salvation seems really problematic to me.

B'ham Billy said...

salvation = mystery

but I might check the book out anyway.

Kevin Brian Johnson said...

I am going to buy this book. I really enjoy your books. When I was baptised and joined the United Methodist Church, your books were the first ones I read.

Craig L. Adams said...

For whatever it's worth:

Grace & the Unevangelized

Mostly, this just attempts to show that the Wesleyan tradition has a distinctive approach to this issue. I also link to the Cokesbury page with Will's book.

Paul said...

I am agnostic on this issue. I believe that God wants to spend eternity with as many people as possible, and I leave it at that.

d†p said...

Curious, why do some of the posts here thik that objective justification and subjective justificaiton are incompaible?

Just because Jesus died for the world, doesn't mean that everyone in the words receives that salvation without rejecting it.

d†p said...

Bishop Willimon,

Just got your book, and was reading it this morning.

I really apprecieated the discussion about the typanum, as illustration of the church today. It reminded me of a church where I did a seminar on liturgical worship- the artwork was only on the inside of the door, but was a depiction of the sola statements, (Sola Gratis, Sola Fide, Sola Christus, Sola Sciptura, Sola Dei Gloria).

Made me think for a moment, that whatever the Holy Spirit draws un into the presence of God, to receive grace through word and font and table, we don't always understand it on the way in the door. For we are drawn by His love, working in incredible ways.

Having received it, we rejoice, even as we see Him clearer, even as we are transformed into His image, as we, like Isaiah, become His voices in a work darkened by sin.

Great book so far!

rev. dtp

P.S. Wesley isn't as bad as the National Cathedral. After all, he was brought to faith by hearing Luther's words about grace... and because of the word God proclaimed though him, many entered through the sacred portal that is Christ Jesus.

William H. Willimon said...


Thanks for your thoughtful response. You sound like a Lutheran! Are you?

All of us Wesleyans are deeply grateful that all that Martin Luther did for Wesley!


Kepler said...

Yeah, DTP is a Lutheran (as am I). PLEASE don't tell anyone. If people in our synod found out we were reading Methodist propaganda...erm, I mean literature, they'd take away our beer!

I just ordered a copy from Amazon.



d†p said...

Bishop Willimon,

Yes, I am a pastor in the LC-MS - though on the west coast. I know you have spoken for a district conference of ours, for Florida Georgia - I think.

I use the liturgy in worship, and came to the LCMS because of it. Not because of tradition - but because of pastoral care capability. That is, if the people understand what it gives them in Christ.

Thanks for the writing the book - and the blog.


(side note to kepler - why do you think so many Lutheran Pastors are aware of 2nd ammendment rights - but to protect their beer....err theology)

Kevin Brian Johnson said...

I just wanted to let you know that I went to cokesbury yesterday and bought it. It was the LAST copy they had. I really love your books.

Anonymous said...

Bishop Willimon,

I am part way through your book and am always charmed by your use of language. I have much to learn there. I do have a problem with your dismissal of recovery as something not of salvation (p. 43); if the recovery community were not of God, the first alcoholic would not have gotten sober;and you seemingly take a stance which, unlike Barth, limits God's sovereignty.

Like Billy A suggested, salvation = mystery.

More will be revealed.

Grace and peace.

Kelly Craft

BTW, errata typo on p. 49 - irrevocable gifts reference is Romans 11:29.

d†p said...


I am not sure I have gotten to the section you are discussing, but I would draw a difference between salvation from sin, satan and death, and other forms of deliverance/healing.

I am not saying God isn't involved (though many recovery communitees depend on other gods... or think they do), but if we are talking salvation to eternity, and walking in God's presence now, then recovery from addictions is, indeed different.


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