Suppose there is a man that subscribes to a traditional, Protestant worldview as described by the Apostle's Creed (i.e. Lutherans, Anglicans, Presbyterians, etc).

Suppose this man has an acquaintance that holds non-Christian beliefs (i.e. pagan, new-age, whatever...).

The Christian man also subscribes to relativism, saying that "whatever you believe is right for you," and claims that the non-Christian will go to heaven if he is faithful to his own religion or morals.

Are there any scholars, commentaries or books that address and explore the implications of Christian relativism (e.g. Someone that adheres to both a Christian worldview and a relativistic/postmodern worldview) on individual's salvation?

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    I believe that this question has the potential of being a good one...but currently has too many open ended variables. Its a bit too philosophically open. "According to straightforward reading of the scriptures.." has lead to thousands of different denominational camps. Maube perhaps narrow it down to "what would a primitave Baptist say..." or "a member of the PCA say?"
    – user5286
    Jan 3, 2014 at 0:29
  • I have gotten similar responses to my other questions before and I have to say that they are always a little frustrating. I don't want to narrow it down so much because I am interested in all perspectives. Why should I intentionally exclude any scholars or traditions if they have well-thought-out opinion?
    – Jeff
    Jan 3, 2014 at 1:07
  • Also, I suspect that though there may be differing opinions among the different camps, there really are only two positions, "Damn him!" or "He's cool", with only subtle shades of reasoning within each.
    – Jeff
    Jan 3, 2014 at 1:08
  • Added stronger requirements for protestantism.... very begrudgingly... after reading some threads about this topic on the meta :(
    – Jeff
    Jan 3, 2014 at 1:21
  • Hmm... trying to rescue this question. Just updated it with a different question in the last paragraph.
    – Jeff
    Jan 3, 2014 at 21:43

2 Answers 2


I'd say that anyone who says that you do not need Christ in order to be saved is, by definition, not a Christian. I suppose it's possible that he is a very confused or ignorant Christian.

Perhaps what you're asking hits on a question that I've pondered for many years: If we understand Christianity to essentially say that in order to be saved you must adhere to certain beliefs, or make certain affirmations, then: What is the absolute minimum that someone could believe and still be saved? Or to put it the other way around, How wrong can someone be and still be saved?

For example, Christians routinely debate different theories about the second coming of Christ, pre-tribulation rapture versus post-tribulation rapture, etc. I think very few Christians suppose that if a person is wrong about the nature or timing of the rapture that this means that he is not saved.

On the other hand, if someone says that he believes that Jesus Christ was an insane person who just thought he was God and that neither his death nor his teachings have any value, I think almost any Christian would say that person is not saved.

But what's the minimum set of correct beliefs? I don't know.


Jeff, a third position (other than "Damn him!" or "He's cool.") might be "We don't know." or "I don't know." personally, i think it's a big waste of time for believers, while on Earth, parsing out who's going where for eternity. i might feel safe saying "Adolf Hitler is going (or has gone) to hell fer sher" but it seems to me that, since i am not in a position to actually make that decision (as is no other human being in history, save one) that it might be a waste of time to act as if i am.

God is more merciful than any of us can articulate. this also means (in my opinion) that any mortal that articulates a specific limit to God's mercy is walking on thin ice. it's silly. so why bother with it?

doesn't mean that everyone goes to Heaven. even so, if someone thinks they would rather rule in hell than serve in heaven, God loves them enough to accept that rejection.

there are enough issues of discipleship, mercy, and justice in this life and on this planet to deal with; without worrying about the same in the next life. let God worry about it.

just my $0.02 .

  • Welcome to the site. As you're a new visitor, I'd like to recommend the following posts, which are meant to help newcomers "learn the ropes": help page, How we are different than other sites? and What makes a good supported answer?. Although, I think your "We don't know" is about the best possible answer to this question. Jan 3, 2014 at 5:43
  • I think you're misunderstanding my motivation. I'm not trying to mete out judgement. I know people like the Christian in my question and I am confused about it. If these individuals are so far errant that they aren't going to make it into heaven, then shouldn't I make an effort to gently and compassionately lead them to the truth? On the other hand, if its not a problem then I can let it slide. I dont know where to stand. Hence the question.
    – Jeff
    Jan 3, 2014 at 17:23
  • i dunno if i misunderstood your motivation or not. "If these individuals are so far errant that they aren't going to make it into heaven, then shouldn't I make an effort to gently and compassionately lead them to the truth?" that is a judgment. and the "target" might resent the effort, even if it's gentle and compassionate. now sometimes, witnessing to the truth (whatever that is) will draw resentment and that can be the cost associated with the witness. the cost of bearing the cross. but i might suggest considering who Jesus confronted with "truth". more often it was the powerful than not. Jan 3, 2014 at 22:43

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