by George Sidney Hurd
No one would contest the fact that the gospel is a proclamation. Furthermore, it is a proclamation of good news for all people and not merely for the elect of this age (Luke 2:10 ; 1Tim 4:10).
However, from the moment Carlton Pearson’s book, “The Gospel of Inclusion” was published in 2007, in which he claimed that everyone was already saved at the cross 2000 years ago, an ever-increasing number of Inclusive Universalists have been claiming that, by definition, a proclamation excludes any requirement for a positive response on the part of those who hear it. One Inclusivist author, arguing that a proclamation cannot at the same time be an invitation, said:
“An invitation is a thoughtful gesture and whoever makes the invitation awaits your response. A proclamation, on the other hand, is an announcement. It’s a declaration. Our response is neither solicited nor is it needed. It just ‘is what it is!’” 
But is it true that the gospel proclamation is not also an invitation requiring a response? When Jesus gave the parable of the king who prepared a wedding feast and sent his servants to invite the guests saying: "I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding,” was it not both a proclamation and an invitation requiring a positive response? (Matt 22:1-4). Similarly, we see that the proclamation of the gospel requires a response. When Jesus commissioned His disciples to proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth He said:
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel (κηρύξατε τὸ εὐαγγέλιον, “proclaim the gospel”) to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:15-16)
Jesus couldn’t have made it any clearer than He does here that the gospel is both a declaration and an invitation requiring a positive response. Those who positively respond in faith to the proclamation of the gospel will be saved, but those who reject the gospel will face judgment for their sins. Did the disciples understand Jesus as saying that the gospel was a proclamation requiring a positive response? Yes. On the day of Pentecost, Peter proclaimed the gospel to the multitudes. Upon hearing Peter, they were cut to the heart and asked: "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Did he say: “Nothing, your sins were already forgiven at the cross?” No. Peter called upon them to appropriately respond to the proclamation of the gospel in order to be saved, just as Jesus had instructed them to do:
“Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)
We see that the great commission is the pattern consistently followed by the Apostles. The second time that Acts records Peter proclaiming the gospel we also see that the proclamation requires a positive response in order to receive the provision of forgiveness obtained by Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice for our sins:
“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:19)
When Peter spoke to those who came together to hear him in the home of Cornelius, he repeated the great commission of Mark 16:15-16, saying:
“And He (Jesus) commanded us to preach (κηρύσσω proclaim) to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. 43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:42-43)
So, we see that throughout the book of Acts the proclamation of the gospel is always followed up by a call to repent and believe the gospel in order to receive the remission of sins, rather than it being a proclamation which neither solicits nor requires a response in order to receive or appropriate the provision obtained at the cross.
Coming to the epistles, we see the same pattern in Paul’s proclamation of the gospel. Paul emphasizes the imperative of proclaiming the gospel in order that those who haven’t yet heard may believe in their heart and be saved. Paul says:
"The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach < κηρύσσω proclaim>): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation… 13 For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher (κηρύσσοντος, ‘a proclaimer’)?” (Rom 10:8-10,13-14)
So, rather than all having been saved at the cross without the need to positively respond to the gospel, as the late Carlton Pearson first claimed in his book, The Gospel of Inclusion, one must call upon the Lord, believing the gospel in one’s heart in order to be saved. In fact, rather than Paul saying that everyone is already saved, he said that he became all things to all people that he might by all means save some (1Cor 9:22).
In “Come Sunday,” the biographical Netflix movie of Carlton Pearson, we see how he was confronted by Oral Roberts, who was like a spiritual father to him, after Carlton came out publicly in his church of 6,000 members, saying that he had had an epiphany in which God showed him that everyone was already saved and there is no hell. Oral Roberts told him that he needed to immediately recant his position and preach the next Sunday from Romans 10:9-10 which clearly shows that one must believe the gospel in order to be saved.
Come Sunday when he got up to speak, he started out by saying that he had been told to preach from Romans 10:9-10, but then, after a pause, he called upon his co-pastor to come up and read aloud 1John 2:1-2 which says that Christ is the propitiation, not only for our sins but for the sins of the whole world, as if that would negate Romans 10:9-10 rather than 1John 2:2 being qualified by it. Indeed, Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world, and eventually every knee will have bowed, and every tongue confessed Jesus Christ as Lord. However, as Romans 10 makes clear, one is not saved apart from hearing and positively responding in faith to the proclamation of the gospel, confessing Jesus Christ as Lord.
While eventually all shall be saved, the ”Gospel of Inclusion” which claims that everyone is already saved apart from any response on the part of unrepentant sinners is a false gospel which deceives many, leading them to believe that the unrighteous will inherit the kingdom of heaven, contrary to Scripture (1Cor 6:9-10; Gal 5:19-21). The ”Gospel of Inclusion” is a new “gospel” which originated with the so-called epiphany of Carlton Pearson only a few years ago. It is not the gospel of Scripture, nor was it the gospel of the Early Church Fathers who taught the final restoration of all. We need to proclaim the true gospel and call upon all men everywhere to repent and believe the gospel unto salvation, rather than telling them that they are already saved. As Paul said to the Philippian jailer when he asked what he must do to be saved: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. (Acts 16:31)
“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor 5:20-21).
The Inerrency of Scripture
The Love of God
The Fear of the Lord
The Question of Evil
Understanding the Atonement
Homosexuality and the Bible
Answers to Objections:
Has God Rejected Israel:
God's Glorious Plan for the Ages
The Manifest Sons of God
The Trinity and the Deity of Christ
Eternal Preexistence of Christ
Preterism vs. Futurism
The Two-Gospel Doctrine Examined