For many years Ralph Martin and Renewal Ministries have been concerned about an obscuring of the Gospel message that has led to a practical "universalism" where virtually everyone is believed to be saved no matter what they believe or how they live. In this book, based on his doctoral work, Ralph clearly presents what Vatican II actually teaches about this all important topic and its implications for the work of the new Evangelization.
The question of whether and how people who have not had the chance to hear the gospel can be saved goes back to the beginnings of Christian reflection. It has also become a much-debated topic in current theology. In Will Many Be Saved? Ralph Martin focuses primarily on the history of debate and the development of responses to this question within the Roman Catholic Church, but much of Martin's discussion is also relevant to the wider debate happening in many churches around the world.
In particular, Martin analyzes the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, the document from the Second Vatican Council that directly relates to this question. Contrary to popular opinion, Martin argues that according to this text, the conditions under which people who have not heard the gospel can be saved are very often, in fact, not fulfilled, with strong implications for evangelization.
Ralph Martin, S.T.D., is the Director of Graduate TheologyPrograms in the New Evangelization at Sacred HeartSeminary in Detroit, President of Renewal Ministries, and aConsultor to the Pontifical Council for the NewEvangelization.,
Timothy Cardinal Dolan
Archbishop of New York
"For many years we have all appreciated Dr. Martin's considerable contributions to the mission of the Church. Now he gives us a profound doctrinal foundation for understanding and implementing the 'new evangelization.' This is a shot in the arm for bishops, priests, and laity as we respond to the Holy Father's call."
Donald Cardinal Wuerl
Archbishop of Washington, D.C.
"Dr. Ralph Martin's Will Many Be Saved? contributes significantly to a richer understanding of our faith, helps restore confidence in the gospel message, and engenders a desire to share the truth of Christ's message. An important contribution to the pastoral strategy of the 'new evangelization.'"
Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.
Archbishop of Chicago
"Martin clarifies a doctrinal point that has been often obscured but must be recovered as a necessary foundation for the 'new evangelization.' This is a uniquely important book.""
Peter Cardinal Turkson
President, Pontifical Council for Peach and Justice
"Provides a refreshing reminder of the undiminished urgency and validity of the missionary mandate of Jesus to his followers to evangelize."
Archbishop J. Augustine Di Noia, O.P.
"These penetrating reflections will compel us to reassess our pastoral approach to the preaching of the gospel in our present circumstances. An important book."
Archbishop Robert Carlson
Archbishop of St. Louis
"Our response to the new evangelization will lack enthusiasm and conviction if we don't realize what's truly at stake here -- our eternal salvation in Christ. Ralph Martin's book provides much-needed clarity on these very important issues."
Bishop David L. Ricken
Green Bay, Wisconsin
Chairman, Bishops' Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis
"I highly recommend that all Catholics and other Christians concerned with salvation give this important book the attention it deserves."
Homiletic & Pastoral Review
"Martins timely and provocative study is likely to shake up the theological and pastoral establishment. . . . The thrust of the books bold thesis, however, cannot be ignored or easily denied. Universal salvation is an unofficial article of faith in the mainstream Catholic theological academy. . . . Every seminarian, priest, college professor, and administrator should read it. It may not be the best book on Vatican II released during the Year of Faith, but it could be the most important."
Journal of Theological Studies
"At one and the same time both a serious academic work and also unashamedly pastoral. . . . An engaging and informative book."
International Bulletin of Missionary Research
"Ralph Martins book is a powerful one. . . . It is clearly, passionately, and honestly written. . . . It is a book that deserves to be read by missiologists and mission practitioners. We dare to say it is one of the most significant books on mission to appear in 2012."
Reviews in Religion and Theology
"This is a book that is difficult to read for those with a liberal outlook, but it is theologically and intellectually engaging and challenging."