Who Can Be Saved?: Reassessing Salvation in Christ and World Religions  -     By: Terrance L. Tiessen
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Who Can Be Saved?: Reassessing Salvation in Christ and World Religions

Inter-Varsity Press / 2004 / Paperback

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The question of salvation in relation to the world religions has become especially poignant in recent years. For evangelical theology, this query becomes even more pressing in light of the millions throughout history who have never heard the gospel. This group includes: the unborn, those who never reach an age of accountability, those who never achieve the capacity to understand the gospel, those who lived before the time of Christ, and those who live after Christ's resurrection who are not evangelized.

Tiessen offers a constructive approach in his reassessment of salvation in Christ and the world religions in this engaging and accessible volume. Who Can Be Saved? is divided into two sections; the first explores the many possibilities of how and what type of people are saved, while the second views how the world religions relate to God's purposes in the world. Tiessen provides an important contribution to a Christian theology of religions, which is evangelically grounded and missiologically informed.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 511
Vendor: Inter-Varsity Press
Publication Date: 2004
Dimensions: 9 X 6 (inches)
ISBN: 0830827471
ISBN-13: 9780830827473
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

Throughout history millions have lived and died without hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Despite vigorous missionary efforts, large populations of the world today have never been evangelized. And now religious pluralism has set up shop on Main Street. The question "Who can be saved?" forces itself on the minds of Christians like never before.
  • Is there a wideness in God's mercy?
  • Does God reveal himself in a way that invites all people to respond positively in saving faith?
  • Does one have to be an Arminian to believe so?
  • Or is there a way for Calvinists to see how God might reveal and save apart from the explicit "gospel" and yet exclusively through Jesus Christ?
  • And if so, what does this say about the role of religions within the sovereign providence of God?
These are big questions requiring thoughtful care. In this intriguing study, Terrance L. Tiessen reassesses the questions of salvation and the role of religions and offers a proposal that is biblically rooted, theologically articulated and missiologically sensitive. This is a book that will set new terms for the discussion of these important issues.

Author Bio

Terrance Tiessen is Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology and Ethics at Providence Theological Seminary in Otterburne, Manitoba. He has written and

Editorial Reviews

"This book does two things impressively well: It skilfully clarifies many issues that too often are blurred in the discussion of world religions, and it argues the author's own views with gracefulness, maturity, and cogency. Professor Tiessen thus takes his proper place in the forefront of evangelical theology of religions with a book that will become a reference point for all further work in the field."
"Terrance Tiessen reshapes the paradigm for Christian thinking about religions, taking us beyond the inadequate language of exclusivism, inclusivism and pluralism, and offering fresh analyses and stimulating insights. He offers what many of us have longed for--a fully worked-out, carefully biblical and Reformed case for the conviction that the sovereignty of God's saving grace in all human history, while it is exclusively grounded in the person and work of Jesus Christ, is not exclusively limited to the church's evangelistic obedience (or lack of), presented in a way that does not thereby diminish the evangelistic mandate or motive. Tiessen disputes an 'ecclesiocentrism' that reduces the elect to a subcategory of the evangelized and argues rather that those whom God saves through evangelism will be a proportion of the wider elect. Tiessen argues with constant clarity and enviable command of historical, systematic and biblical theology, and is transparent in his own presuppositional stance. He steadily refuses to affirm or infer anything dogmatically beyond what the Bible either affirms or clearly implies, but courageously offers some fascinating original proposals for critical evaluation in areas where the Bible is silent. Few books I have read have been so doctrinally thorough, closely and cautiously argued, and thought-provoking on the twin subjects of the destiny of the unevangelized and the status and role of religions in the purposes of God."
" Who Can Be Saved? Reassessing Salvation in Christ and World Religions is a bold and significant contribution to evangelical theological and missiological thinking on a very controversial issue. Its theological depth and its missiological grounding set it apart from many other books."
"The product of many years of reading, thinking and discussion, this is one of the most satisfactory comprehensive treatments of salvation ever attempted by an evangelical in the Reformed tradition. Even those--like me--who do not share in that tradition will discover in Tiessen an immensely well-informed, trustworthy and fair-minded guide through the labyrinthine maze of questions issuing from Christian understanding of and response to the Bible's teaching on salvation. Unless I am greatly mistaken, this book will serve as the benchmark reference on the subject for evangelical teachers, pastors, missionaries and students for years to come."
"Professor Tiessen has producd a major work on a cluster of issues that are as complex as they are controversial. One need not agree with all of his conclusions to benefit from this carefully crafted theological and missiological study."
"While not endorsing all of the author's conclusions, I recommend this book as an excellent introduction to the contemporary discussion on the boundaries of Christian faith. "The strength of this theology is that it is both exclusive and inclusive. It is exclusive because it upholds Jesus Christ as the only way to salvation. It is inclusive because it sees God's grace at work in all religions and among all peoples."
"This is a sensitive, patient, sophisticated evangelical response to evangelical questions concerning the religions. Tiessen takes the biblical witness with utter seriousness--a seriousness lacking in most books on this and related subjects. Those from the Reformed tradition will be especially pleased with the nuanced attention given to problems of salvation and revelation in the religions."

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Product Q&A



Author/Artist Review

Author: Terrance Tiessen
Located in: Canada
Submitted: January 21, 2004

    Tell us a little about yourself.  I have been teaching systematic theology at Providence Theological Seminary (Canada) for 15 years. Previously, I spent 16 years as a missionary teacher in the Philippines. I grew up in India, as the child of missionaries.

    What was your motivation behind this project?  Western Christians are much more aware of other religions and have more contact with members of other religions than has ever been true. Inspite of many years of Christian missionary work among the adherents of the large ancient religions, relatively few have converted from those religions to Christianity. At the same time, religions are increasingly identified with conflict and war around the world, which is leading many secular westerners to view religiousness itself to be dangerous. Given all of these current realities, I have felt it important that Christians give careful biblical consideration to what God desires regarding our attitude to and relationships with other religions and the people who live within the context of those religions, devoutly or otherwise.

    What do you hope folks will gain from this project?  I hope that my work will stimulate people to study their Bibles carefully and to reassess their understanding of God's saving work in the world and of God's intentions concerning the world's religions and our relationship to them and their members. I hope that I will simultaneously encourage people about the magnitude of God's gracious saving work in this sinful world and motivate them to be available to God as agents of his saving work wherever he places us. On the one hand, we need not assume that God is unable to save people without us, on the other hand, we need to realize anew that Christians are God's normal means of getting saving revelation to people whom God is graciously drawing to himself.

    Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists?  John Calvin, John Murray, Herman Bavinck, J. I. Packer, Paul Jewett

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