A Primer on Soteriology
So I made a quick draft of the chart above. A “primer” means a short introduction. “Soteriology” is the study of salvation: who is saved? who is left out? how does one become “saved?”
While it is tempting to say that the chart is from “fewest saved” to “most saved” or concentric circles of salvation, to me the chart is more about a spectrum of certainty.
- Predestination: Calvinist position of only the “select few” are chosen by God, regardless of human action.
- Exclusivism: Traditional Christian position of “those who believe in Christ are saved by faith”
- Inclusivism: Most (or all) faiths worship in different ways through different avenues but all lead to God for faithful members of those faiths.
- The subform is “Christian Inclusivism” where all other religions are actually worshipping shadow versions of Christ and lead to the Christian God if they are faithful to the shadow Christ in their religion.
- Universalism: two forms
- Soft (Universal Grace): God offers salvation to all in this life or the next. Rejecting salvation leads to life without God (hell, possibly).
- Hard (Universal Salvation): God saves every person in one heaven.
- Pluralism: each religion leads to its own Heaven, many paths, many destinations.
More theologically astute people than I can critique the chart and I’ll update it if necessary. I wish I could put “notable people” in each camp but I don’t have that breadth of knowledge of all the sections.
From my reading of Rob Bell, I think he is closest to Soft Universalism as he believes in human freedom and the possibility of choosing life without God (hell).