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.
Timothy Cardinal Dolan
-- Archbishop of New York
"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."
Donald Cardinal Wuerl
-- Archbishop of Washington, D.C.
"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."
Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.
-- Archbishop of Chicago
"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."
Peter Cardinal Turkson
-- President, Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice
"Provides a refreshing reminder of the undiminished urgency and validity of the missionary mandate of Jesus to his followers to evangelize."
Archbishop J. Augustine Di Noia, O.P.
-- Vatican City
"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 Robert Carlson
-- Archbishop of St. Louis
"Our response to the new evangelization will lack enthusiasm and conviction if we don't realize what's truly at stake here -- our eternal salvation in Christ. Ralph Martin's book provides much-needed clarity on these very important issues."
Bishop David L. Ricken
-- Green Bay, Wisconsin; Chairman, Bishops' Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis
"I highly recommend that all Catholics and other Christians concerned with salvation give this important book the attention it deserves."