A Book Analysis of “Is Jesus the Only Savior”
AN ANALYSIS PAPER SUBMITTED TO
Dr. Daniel Light, PhD
IN COMPLETION OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR
June 18, 2012
The title of Nash’s book is fitting for the content in which it contains. One will not find the traditional arguments that come with Soteriology. Initially, the author thought that he would be reading a book that covers a topic that had been written numerous times and so pleasantly surprised with its content. Nash begins his book with an introduction to three main philosophical views when it comes to the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. Nash does a great job in succinctly defining each of the three main philosophical views. Those views are pluralism, inclusivism, and exclusivism. In the opening chapter of his book, Nash states three reasons for writing this book: (1) To examine pluralism to see if it succeeds in presenting a strong enough case against Christianity’s teaching that Jesus is the only Savior, (2) to examine inclusivism to see if it presents a strong enough case against exclusivism and (3) to present the reasons for espousing exclusivism. Nash begins with defining Christian exclusivism with two necessary statements. Nash defines a Christian Exclusivist as one who believes that Jesus Christ is the only Savior of mankind, and that expressive faith in Jesus Christ are necessary for salvation. Before Nash moves on to briefly defining pluralism and inclusivism, he takes a few pages to position exclusivism and its teaching from the authority of Scripture. This is an important part in the argument for exclusivism because as Nash states, “Such people need to recognize that while humans are free to reject the authority of Scripture, they will only substitute some other authority in its place.” Again the author wants to restate the importance of this statement because a person’s view or opinion on the authority of Scripture will always determine whether they will have support for any argument made against exclusivism. Nash then moves on to define a pluralist as ‘a person who thinks humans may be saved through a number of different religious traditions and saviors.” In the last section just before the conclusion we are introduced to the philosophical view of inclusivism. Although many inclusivists would be considered Christians, its important to know that the venom from this heretical doctrine is more deadly than that of pluralism only because of its close ties with exclusivism. Inclusivism is the belief that there is only one savior for human kind, expressive faith is not necessarily part of salvation. The argument that comes from this philosophical view is broken down in short words by Nash in giving away the two distinct technical terms frequently used by inclusivists. Nash states, “They distinguish between ontological necessity of Christ’s work as redeemer and the separate claim that Christ’s redemptive work is ontologically necessary.” Ontologically, Inclusivists state that the atonement made by Jesus Christ is the only way for any human to be saved. They argue however that epistemologically, it is not necessary for a person to know what they believe ontologically in order to be saved.
The next five chapters deal with pluralism and one of its major proponents, John Hick. As we previously noted, pluralism asserts that all religions can and do lead to salvation. Hick's brand of pluralism has been an evolving and very inconsistent one as he has tried to deal with the many logical inconsistencies that he has found himself in throughout his journey through this philosophy that Nash points out quite well. Nash points out how initially; Hick’s early arguments were riddled with logical inconsistencies that stem from trying to work backwards from the conclusions he had made without any logical flow to his arguments. One for example would be...