The argument is provided by W. Gary Phillips and R. Douglas Geivett when they offered the following objection to Clark Pinnock’s inclusivism:
“the Christian’s motivation for world evangelism is at stake. When it is suspected that God will arrange for the salvation of others without our cooperation, there will be an understandable tendency for believers to doubt the necessity of obeying the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20). We think that particularism constitutes the best explanation for the character and the urgency of the Great Commission. But even if it does not, it surely is salutary for evangelicals to be sure of themsleves before recommending a theology that tends to erode evangelistic zeal.” (“Response to Clark Pinnock,” Four Views on Salvation in a Pluralistic World (Zondervan, 1996), 135).
Say it isn’t so.
I wouldn’t bother picking on this argument if I didn’t hear it so often. “We can’t believe God might save people apart from our gospel proclamation. Otherwise we’ll be less likely to proclaim the gospel.” Good gosh, whose fault is that? It surely isn’t the fault of the theory of inclusivism. Heck, you might as well blame the car that comes with airbags for making you less likely to wear your seatbelt!
Paul recognized this point and he dealt with it rather handily in Romans. Some people apparently were worried that if we believe in salvation by faith apart from works it will undermine the motivation to engage in good works. And it may indeed do that. But that doesn’t mean salvation by faith apart from works is not true. It just means we’re a bunch of lazy butts who look for any excuse to shirk our responsibilities.
If justification by faith isn’t to be rejected because it gives us another reason to be spiritual couch potatoes, why think inclusivism is?