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Re: Salvation SLS

Posted by Dena on April 11, 2005, at 9:41:52

In reply to Re: Salvation rayww, posted by SLS on April 11, 2005, at 7:31:03

Scott -

Thanks for (daring) to ask such an obvious, and yet profound question...

As a long-time Christian, my knee-jerk reaction would be to answer with the "typical" response that "most" Christians give (as we've been taught to give...)

That would be something like this, "Salvation is to be saved from the penalty of our sins -- which is death - eternal death and separation from God -- commonly referred to as 'hell'."

They would go on to elaborate that Jesus is the Son of God, who lived a perfect sinless life, and who then voluntarily "paid the price" for all of our sins, by dying a substitutionary death on the cross, taking each of our places, as it were, so that we could each escape from eternal punishment, and thus, live with God forever in heaven.

The "trick" is -- each of us would then be responsible to recognize our need for a savior (due to having each sinned, and for even each being born as a sinner - "imperfect"), to recognize that Jesus has made this sacrificial act on our behalf, and to then, out of gratitude and faith, choose to believe that He did this for us, and so we then "accept" this gift, and "make Him our personal savior".

Thus, we are considered "saved", and have eternal life with God guaranteed.

This is what I've been taught in churches, and -- with varying degrees of subtle differences -- what MOST of those who call themselves Christians believe.

However, my own journey has been delving a bit deeper into the whole doctrine of hell, where it originated from, how it's understood, what Jesus meant by some of his statements regarding hell, and, right now -- I no longer know precisely what I believe...

I do believe that Jesus came to save the world from sin and it's effects: destruction, poverty, injustice, hatred, pride, death, cruelty, and judgement.

But I believe that we've somehow, historically, "missed the point" in many ways...

The "Christianity" that we adhere to seems to have been turned into an exclusive "club" -- where some are "in" and others are "out"... and those who are "in" feel superior to those who are "out", and loudly and pridefully TELL them so. Then, there's the problem with all the various factions within the "club" -- differing parts fighting with others -- fighting about often meaningless details -- even fighting to the death of the other ... name calling, insults, curses... All - scandalously! - "in the name of Jesus"...

AND, it's not as though the lives of those who are "in" look any better than the lives of those who are "out"... the "insiders" struggle with the same issues, the same failings, the same problems as those who are "outside". It's just that the "insiders" feel more shame and guilt than those who are "outsiders". And because they believe they SHOULD look and feel better than those on the outside, they repress their struggles to the point that they live in denial -- and the whole system lives in this sort of "put on your happy-face and pretend that everything is ok, because so much is at stake if we dared to be real..."

I don't want to be alligned to that "club" anymore. I want to love and follow Jesus, but not in THAT way.

It's a scary place to be - to dare to question the status quo of what others have taught me -- that which I've swallowed unquestionably (and, was even subtley warned to NOT QUESTION), and to trust that all Truth can withstand any amount of questioning...

... if it's truly True, it will survive. And that which falls away -- well, that was never true to begin with, was it?

I just want truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth... so help me God!

I realize that I didn't really answer your question, SLS, but even Jesus usually replied to questions with yet another question of our own.

I believe that He wants us to think - to explore our faith, to delve into what we think we understand, to truly OWN what we belive, rather than just blindly follow what those who went before us did and repeated.

And to perhaps face that so much truth is truly mysterious... beyond understanding, comprehension, beyond categorizing, labeling and filing away in our own little box...

I highly recommed a series of books that I've been reading, by Brian McLaren. It's a trilogy. The first is, "A New Kind of Christian" (I hope I'm doing these double-quotes right!) The second is, "The Story We Find Ourselves In", and the third is "The Last Word and the Word After That"

It's hinged upon the post-modern world that we're emerging into, and how Christianity is, for the most part, striving to hold on to a "1950's modernism" that's fading away...

... therefore, what's truly true -- what will transcend the era, what's truly "of God", and what is merely part of the modern era...?

A MOST challenging read!

Keep asking those questions! Keep on seeking! Keep on knocking on the door!

Shalom, Dena




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