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A THEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION INTO THE FATE OF UNEVANGELISED PEOPLE:

IMPLICATION FOR THE HMAR CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY

ABSTRACT

(for full text please write to Mr. Lalhuolhim F. Tusing, email: him.tusing@gmail.com)

The fate of the unevangelised people has been a crucial and divisive issue in theological discourse. In this research, I have investigated the fate of the unevangelised people by examining the work of Canadian theologian Clark H. Pinnock, and engaging with it from a biblical-theological perspective.

The need for this study arises from both practical and academic problems. In the practical contextual aspect, the twenty-first century Hmar Christian community began to question with much anxiety the fate of their ancestors who never heard about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Regardless of the needs to address this issue, it has been often neglected and has become like an orphan in the church-theological discourse. Academically, scholars have addressed this issue from different traditions and positions. Usually, exclusivist, inclusivist and pluralist are the threefold classification dominating the debate.

In the discussion on the fate of the unevangelised, I interact with Clark H. Pinnock who is optimistic about the fate of the unevangelised people. In the twenty-first century, Pinnock has become the key influential leading scholar who has contributed a comprehensive work concerning this debate. His works provide a more fully developed, well furnished, systematic and theological arrangement in arguing his position. I employ two hermeneutical methods to achieve my aim and purpose: historical-theological investigation and biblical exegetical-theological exposition. I analyse and evaluate Pinnock’s optimism regarding salvation of the unevangelised in a considerate yet critical assessment and present both the areas of appreciation and disagreement.

I conclude and acknowledge the grace of God in Christ through the working of the Holy Spirit in wooing the heart of the people to respond in faith which gives a wider hope concerning the possibility of salvation of some of the unevangelised people. However, this possibility is not on the basis of their works or religion but only on the basis of God’s intervention in their lives. I am hopeful concerning the final numbers of individuals who will inhabit the new earth that would be filled with multitudes beyond our recognition. I also present the need to go beyond the debates and see the theological, pastoral and theological implications for the twenty-first century Hmar Christian community.