By Viola Larson, Naming His Grace blog.
The former is a belief that all are saved by Jesus Christ whether called by some other faith such as Buddhism, or called by the name of Jesus Christ.
The latter, pluralism, is the belief that it is not necessary for Jesus Christ to save—that is, there are many roads to God.
One vice-moderator, in a conversation with me, insisted on this particular view. In fact he was upset that I had instead defined him as a universalist.
On the other hand, a former executive presbyter of my presbytery, in a conversation about the 2011 Presbyterian Panel survey, persisted in saying that universalism is a possible biblical truth.
The Presbyterian Book of Order hints at that same kind of theological view. Rev. Dr. Charles Wiley III, coordinator of the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s office of Theology and Worship recently attempted to redo a question/statement from the 2011, survey which stated “Only followers of Jesus Christ can be saved.”
Many supposedly said no because they saw the question as rejecting the sovereignty of God.
Wiley’s better question was ““Is Jesus Christ the only Savior and Lord?” Clearly an answer of “yes” to this question is not pluralism and can be presumed to be orthodox.
However, as I have noted, many in this denomination are universalists and interpret reformed theology from that position, in which case Wiley’s question, does not help. What of those who are of another faith or who simply reject the saving work of Jesus?
Related article: Landon Whitsitt, Open Source Christianity and the sovereignty of God