With inclusivism defined, let us turn our attention to the major criticism that is levelled against it. Interestingly, it is a criticism that comes from within the Church itself for it is Christian exclusivists who have the greatest problem with inclusivity. The exclusivist argues that accommodation of these faith groups (without placing a requirement on people to change and respond to Christ) is contrary to what Jesus teaches about there only being one way to God. Or put a different way, exclusivists fear that this openness towards people from other religions moves the Church closer to pluralist and universalist ways of thinking – a route which in their eyes will also dilute the message of Christ.
A different argument against inclusivity centres on Jesus’ instructions to his followers to make disciples of all nations. Here, the exclusivist reasons that if people from other religions can be saved without making a response to Christ, the need to tell others about Jesus becomes redundant. Moreover, it raises questions about what Jesus’ intention might have been in telling the disciples to go and do this if he knew people could be saved in other ways which did not require explicit faith in Jesus Christ.
So, in summary, the inclusivist perspective considers that other religions do reveal some truth about God, but that the complete truth is found only in the person and work of Jesus Christ. People from other faiths are saved not by their own religion but through salvation that is secured through Christ. In short, people of other faiths access God’s salvation via Jesus Christ BUT not always through explicit faith in Him.