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Will Many Be Saved? [Kindle Edition]

Ralph Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The question of whether and how people who have not had the chance to hear the gospel can be saved goes back to the beginnings of Christian reflection. It has also become a much-debated topic in current theology. In Will Many Be Saved? Ralph Martin focuses primarily on the history of debate and the development of responses to this question within the Roman Catholic Church, but much of Martin's discussion is also relevant to the wider debate happening in many churches around the world.
In particular, Martin analyzes the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, the document from the Second Vatican Council that directly relates to this question. Contrary to popular opinion, Martin argues that according to this text, the conditions under which people who have not heard the gospel can be saved are very often, in fact, not fulfilled, with strong implications for evangelization.

Product Description


For many years we have all appreciated Dr. Martin's considerable contributions to the mission of the Church. Now he gives us a profound doctrinal foundation for understanding and implementing the 'new evangelization.' This is a shot in the arm for bishops, priests, and laity as we respond to the Holy Father's call. --Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York

Dr. Ralph Martin's Will Many Be Saved? contributes significantly to a richer understanding of our faith, helps restore confidence in the gospel message, and engenders a desire to share the truth of Christ's message. An important contribution to the pastoral strategy of the 'new evangelization.' --Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, D.C.

Martin clarifies a doctrinal point that has been often obscured but must be recovered as a necessary foundation for the 'new evangelization.' This is a uniquely important book." --Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.Archbishop of Chicago

Provides a refreshing reminder of the undiminished urgency and validity of the missionary mandate of Jesus to his followers to evangelize. --Peter Cardinal Turkson, President, Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice

These penetrating reflections will compel us to reassess our pastoral approach to the preaching of the gospel in our present circumstances. An important book. --Archbishop J. Augustine Di Noia, O.P.Vatican City

About the Author

Ralph Martin is Director of Graduate Theology Programs in the New Evangelisation and Associate Professor of Theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, Michigan, and President of Renewal Ministries, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 875 KB
  • Print Length: 333 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0802868878
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (7 Sept. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CA6CMO4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #481,121 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Ralph Martin addresses the question of how much of mankind shall be saved by the Redeemer God with reference to the history of the Church's teaching and an in-depth analysis of the documents produced by Vatican II. Contrary to what many Roman Catholics both lay and religious now believe, Martin shows convincingly that the gate to heaven is still the narrow path which Our Lord spoke of, and many people have misinterpreted the Vatican II documents to their own eternal detriment. The world cares little or nothing for the eternal things of God and many Catholics have slipped into a casual attitude in their worship since Vatican II that is insulting, irreverent, worldly and sacreligious - and the sad part is many clerics let this go without confronting it and without teaching their congregations how to worship God worthily and how to live pious lives, which is essential for salvation. Perhaps if they read this book they would buck up their ideas and save souls for Jesus, including their own.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Book 24 Jan. 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If one needs an explanation of Vatican II documents on salvation, and if one is confused on Kung and von Balthasar, this is a great book. Should be read by all theology students.
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11 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A timely presentation 3 Dec. 2012
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How should we look at "extra ecclesia nulla salus" today as a new era of evangelisation begins. Theology from a a much respected author.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  42 reviews
84 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will Many Be Saved 15 Nov. 2012
By Sharelle Temaat - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Dr. Ralph Martin has written the best commentary on the Vatican II documents since those documents were published. He explains in great detail that the teaching of Vatican II on hell has not changed because it's right there in Lumen Gentium; for example, page 26: "Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it, or to remain in it." The doctrine has developed to consider the salvation of those who never have a chance to hear the gospel, but it has not been abolished by official Church teaching.

So why has it gone away? Because of the speculations of Jesuits Karl Rahner, Richard McBrien, and Hans Urs von Balthasar and their hope that all might be saved. Their theology took the population by storm, dismissing almost 2000 years of constant theological and magisterial teaching that it is likely that the majority of the human race will be lost. "This is the view of Irenaeus, Basil, Cyril of Jerusalem, John Chrysostom, Augustine, Aquinas, Canisius, and Bellarmine, as well as many others" (p. 14).

As a result of the Iron Curtain coming down on hell, evangelization since Vatican II has lost its appeal. Modern popes and others have stressed the joy of belonging to the Church. But that is in stark contrast to the traditional focus on the eternal consequences that rest on the acceptance or rejection of the gospel that motivated almost two thousand years of missionary activity.

Reading Martin's book gives renewed hope to Catholics like me that there are solid reasons for converting or reverting to Catholicism, not just some fuzzy, feel-good, take-it-or-leave-it (mostly leave-it) attitude among so many for the past 50 years.
46 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scriptural and Sourceful 15 Nov. 2012
By longfortruthalways - Published on
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This book displays great resource as well as assent to the teaching of Scripture. Many since Vatican II have assumed that everyone (maybe minus persons like Hitler and Judas) will go to heaven--if someone died, now they are happy in heaven. Dr. Ralph Martin addresses this "false compassion" and compares it to what Scripture says: "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." (Matt. 13:7 RSV). Also he mentions Lumen Gentium, 16 which clearly does not say that "all" will go to heaven but that there are requirements for salvation. God does not force anyone into heaven.

Furthermore, Martin addresses Karl Rahner's and Hans Urs von Balthasar's theology which express it is likely that all will be saved. Though he realizes these are great theologians and have great works adding to the world of theology, in this particular area of thought they have drifted from Scripture and Catholic teaching. "Will Many Be Saved?..." is an excellent and well thought out book for the topic of salvation.
36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good observations 18 Nov. 2012
By Michael Healy - Published on
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While he would not say it this way, Ralph Martin makes good observations in this book about the reality of Catholic teaching about the improbability of salvation for those who reject the Lord Jesus Christ. In the past century, many have arrogated to themselves the right to claim that universal salvation is certain, but they have no way to prove their point. Their arguments, including those of famous theologians like von Balthasar, all to often reduce to either naive optimism or childish name-calling, neither of which is the same as authentic Christian hope. Martin sets the record straight.
34 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Salvation. It all boils down to Mortal Sin, doesn't it? 10 Mar. 2013
By S. Boor - Published on
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I consider Dr.Martin's book a most necessary one for the Catholic Church today - one which all serious Catholics, especially those who really love the Church, should read.

In this work, he's done a great service in signalling a clarion call for laity and Church leadership alike to re-assess the impact that the teachings of 20th Century theologians and the Vatican II documents have had upon how Catholics view sin in general, and salvation in particular.

However, despite his magnanimous effort in "Will Many Be Saved?", Dr. Martin utterly fails to address the most fundamental questions regarding sin and salvation:

Namely, what really constitutes Mortal Sin, and how widespread is it in the Church and the world today?

Because Dr. Martin has failed to address those two fundamental questions, I consider his work to be only a moderately valuable and successful one - thus, a ranking of only 3 stars.

Unfortunately, despite Dr. Martin's expose' of the horrifically negative impact upon the Church that the theological teachings Karl Rahner & Hans Urs von Balthasar have had over the past 50+ years, he fails to adequately address in his book the issue of Mortal Sin.

Today, the vast majority of Catholics today - both clergy & laity - believe that "mortal sin is rare anymore" and that "virtually everyone is a good person" and will attain Heaven; essentially, a belief in "quasi-universal" salvation. Even many "good and orthodox" Priests and laity essentially believe and/or teach this today....

Is the reason for that widespread & excessive optimism in the Church about salvation not only because of the impact of Rahner & von Balthasar, but also because the Church has itself allowed the faithful to believe in a definition of Mortal Sin which is itself different and more lax compared to that taught before Vatican II?

I believe so.

Compare the definition of Mortal Sin which the Church has "officially" proclaimed since Vatican II (see paragraphs 1857-1861 in the new Catechism) to what was taught prior to Vatican II.

Now, in supposedly "official" Church teaching, committing a Mortal Sin requires that a grave sin is committed with "full knowledge", and that there aren't any mitigating factors that would diminish the freedom and culpability of the person (however, that definition forgets that serious and habitual sin, in and of itself, progressively "darkens the mind, hardens the heart, and weakens the will").

Prior to Vatican II, all that was required for a Mortal Sin to be committed was that "serious reflection" must have taken place (per the Baltimore catechism) with regard to the gravity of the serious sin.

St. Thomas Aquinas famously taught the following ([...] ):

"... sometimes an erroneous conscience does not absolve or excuse from sin, namely when the error itself is a sin, proceeding from ignorance of that which someone is able to and obliged to know, as for example, if someone believed fornication to be simply a venial sin, and then, [if he committed fornication], although he would believe that he was sinning venially, he would not be sinning venially, but mortally" (Quodlibetal 8, q. 6, a. 5).

Basically, St. Thomas is teaching that if we've previously had the opportunity to understand what is gravely sinful, but have been derelict in the duty to do so, we can no longer be considered as non-culpable for committing a Mortal Sin.

Contrary to what St. Paul himself infallibly taught in 1 Cor. 6:9, many Christians today no longer believe as the Catholic Church taught before Vatican II that Adultery, Homosexual acts, nor Fornication are inherently Mortal Sins - in large measure because of misconstrued non-culpable ignorance (i.e. mistakenly thinking that without "full knowledge", a Mortal Sin hasn't occurred).

Hopefully, Dr. Martin, or other prominent and knowledgeable Catholic theologians/teachers (hopefully, our next Holy Father after Benedict XVI!), will correct how the Catholic faith truly teaches on the matter of Mortal Sin. Only that corrected teaching will allow for us to get out of the morass of rampant Mortal Sin so widespread within the Church today, as well as in much of western culture.

With his work "Will Many Be Saved?", Dr. Martin merely introduces that the Church is in a crisis. But, he fails to propose HOW we can get out of it.

A concerted focus upon a corrected and accurate teaching about Mortal Sin MUST take place in the Catholic Church for that corrective action to happen....
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still Reading 11 Mar. 2013
By Frank J. Stoppa - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I would have given this 5 stars, except not being scholarly, it's not quite what I had in mind. It is helpful in clearing up some ideas I have come across, as well as shedding a little more light on Vatican II. However, unless it is just me, I don't think this is for the average Catholic. Most don't know the basics of Church teachings anymore so this would probably have them scratching their heads. For those in the seminary or taking theology classes the book would be very beneficial. I'm still reading because I only do so while at Adoration 2-3 times per week. At times I feel like I want to put it down but can't. It is enlightening, so I will finish it.
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