Contemporary religious pluralism regards the traditional Christian doctrine of salvation through Christ alone as unconscionable. The problem seems to be that the existence of an all-loving and all-powerful God seems incompatible with the claim that persons who do not hear and embrace the gospel of salvation through Christ will be damned. Closer analysis reveals the problem to be counterfactual in nature: God could not condemn persons who, though freely rejecting God's sufficient grace for salvation revealed through nature and conscience, would have received His salvific grace mediated through the gospel. In response, it may be pointed out that God's being all-powerful does not guarantee that He can create a world in which all persons freely embrace His salvation and that His being all-loving does not entail that, even if such a world were feasible for Him, God would prefer such a world over a world in which some persons freely reject His salvation. Furthermore, it is possible that God has created a world having an optimal balance between saved and lost and that God has so providentially ordered the world that those who fail to hear the gospel and be saved would not have freely responded affirmatively to it even if they had heard it.
Introduction: The Problem of Religious Diversity
"Diversity" is the shibboleth of the post-modern age. Nowhere is this more so than in the realm of theology or religious studies. The Harvard theologian Gordon Kaufman, observing that throughout most of Christian church history "the fundamental truth of the basic Christian claim was taken for granted, as was the untruth . . . of the claims of the church's opponents," says that by contrast today there has been "a striking change" among many Christian theologians: