This question has a lot of implications and follow up questions for me. For example:
- Who or what is salvation?
- Who or what is the church?
- What does it mean to be “outside the church?”
With the possibility of leaving those and other subsidiary questions unanswered, here goes…
I believe that there is salvation outside the church, but not salvation outside of Jesus Christ. I believe that part of the hope as Christians is that all things will be made new. There will be a new heaven and a new earth that are not like the one that we currently experience. I believe that all things being new includes all things and all people. Does this mean universal salvation? Well, I’m not sure, but I do believe that creation, re-creation and new creation comes through Christ.
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
— Revelation 21:1-5, TNIV