In her article, NAR Leaders meet with the Pope, Holly Pivec of Spirit of Error writes:
By asking the Pope about universalism, Bickle showed that he apparently doesn’t understand the Catholic position on salvation. The Roman Catholic Church does not hold to universalism, the belief that all belief systems are equally valid (like Hinduism, Buddhism, atheism, etc.). The Roman Catholic Church since Vatican II has held a doctrine known as “inclusivism”—the belief that there’s just one way to be saved (through Jesus Christ and through the Roman Catholic Church), but explicit knowledge of Jesus Christ and a profession of faith in him are not required to experience his salvation. In other words, people of other religions can be saved by Christ—without believing in him—so long as they’re sincere. Catholic inclusivism is very different from exclusivism—the view historically held by Protestants—that salvation is available only to those who have explicitly put their trust in Christ. Catholic teaching on inclusivism offers a false hope that salvation can be experienced apart from conscious faith in Christ—a hope not held out in Scripture. As a result, inclusivism undercuts the urgency of missionary efforts to take the gospel to the unreached.
Bickle’s line of questioning the Pope leads me to believe that he doesn’t understand Catholic teaching on inclusivism. If he did understand it, he wouldn’t have asked the Pope about a different teaching—universalism. And he may not have been so satisfied with the Pope’s assurance he believes that “Jesus is the only way of salvation.” He would have realized that this statement— consistent with inclusivism—still allows for people in other religions to be saved.
A more disturbing case would be if Bickle did, indeed, understand inclusivism. In this hypothetical situation, asking the Pope about universalism (when Bickle already knew the Catholic party line) would seem to have been disingenuous. Bickle would have been giving his followers a false sense of security by suggesting that Catholic inclusivism and Protestant exclusivism are the same. Granted, that possibility is just speculation. But it’s the only way I can make sense of Bickle’s seemingly misguided questions—apart from assuming they were prompted by theological ignorance. click here to continue reading Holly Pivec’s article