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Switch to Forum Live View Curious about "saved"
6 years ago  ::  Apr 26, 2008 - 6:18PM #31
Anesis
Posts: 1,542
Hello, Nancy,
   
  Welcome to the welcome: Evangelical Christianity board. This is a board where posters are welcome to post respectfully to learn about evangelical Christianity.
   
  According to evangelical Christianity, who believe the that the Bible is literally true, inerrant, and the only authority for Christian faith, and that accepting Jesus Christ as one's only Lord is the only way to salvation.
   
  According to the Bible, there are criteria for receiving salvation. We are saved by faith. So we must hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection (Eph. 1:13). We must fully believe (Rom. 1:16). Our belief must involve repentance, which is the changing of our mind about sin and Jesus. (Acts 3:19), and finally, we must call on the name of the Lord (Rom. 10:9-10, 13). Some evangelicals also believe that one must be baptized for salvation as well. So to be saved, one must hear the gospel, recognize they are a sinner, and call up on the name of Christ in repentance.
   
  We do not believe that Jesus died in order for us to go on living in sin, as that would be an abuse of his grace. He calls us to reconciliation with God, and that can only happen as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12b), and this working it out includes obedience (John 15:10).
An
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6 years ago  ::  Apr 26, 2008 - 8:35PM #32
birwin4
Posts: 570
[QUOTE=AndyF;454518]I think that confuses me more...I thought once a person died, it was too late.  Hitler is/was also far removed from average Joe.[/QUOTE]

When you say you 'thought' are you speaking from your own Paganism/ Neopaganism which you say in your profile you are completely satisfied with, or are you saying this referring to your understanding of Christianity?
Hitler was not an average  Joe. All right let us take an average Joe who does one or more of the following:
cheats on his spouse, fiddles his tax return, downloads porn, fails to treat his neighbour fairly, lies to get out of taking responsibility for his actions, ignores his Creator, etc. Now suppose God offers him forgiveness and he declines, is God then at fault for allowing the consequences of his 'sin' to end in total disillusionment and alienation from his creator?
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6 years ago  ::  Apr 26, 2008 - 9:59PM #33
BethK
Posts: 286
(pardon the quotation mess up.  I'm still trying to figure that part out.  My apologies Andy!!!)

[QUOTE=AndyF;457126]They deserved it?  Flooding the world, plagues, fire from the skies?  That's beyond tough love in my opinion.

When the world turns their collective back on their creator - yeah, they deserved it.  God did promise that he would not do it again.

If you were to suddenly tell your friends and family you no longer believed, how do you think they would react?

They would laugh at me.  They have been directly involved in my Christian walk and growth.  If I said I didn't believe, they would know I was lying.


Evolution seems to be a sticky issue with a literal interpretation of scripture.  Are you anti-evolution?  Do you think it's a liberal/materialistic conspiracy?  Or do you just have faith that the Bible is correct and we can reach that conclusion scientifically eventually in time? 

I'm not anti-evlution as much as I am pro-creation...oh, never mind, yeah, I'm anti-evolution.  Evolution has not been proven scientifically.  There are aspects of the Bible that have already been proven.  The Bible will be proven in the end times.
 

What do you do when you reach a section of the Bible that makes you uncomfortable? 
I've heard the "Thou shall not suffer a witch to live" line interpreted to mean everything from "kill witches" to "do not help a witch make a living by paying for services like divination".  Do you just search for an interpretation that sounds better and go with it?[/QUOTE]


There is a difference between sections of the Bible that make me uncomfortable and sections that I don't fully understand.  When a section needs clarification on my part, I do research.  I used trusted materials to help me better understand what the passage is trying to say.  I don't research to suit my own needs but God's heart.
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6 years ago  ::  Apr 27, 2008 - 9:40PM #34
AndyF
Posts: 375

birwin4 wrote:

When you say you 'thought' are you speaking from your own Paganism/ Neopaganism which you say in your profile you are completely satisfied with, or are you saying this referring to your understanding of Christianity?



My understanding based on posts from various Evangelicals.

All right let us take an average Joe who does one or more of the following:
cheats on his spouse, fiddles his tax return, downloads porn, fails to treat his neighbour fairly, lies to get out of taking responsibility for his actions, ignores his Creator, etc. Now suppose God offers him forgiveness and he declines, is God then at fault for allowing the consequences of his 'sin' to end in total disillusionment and alienation from his creator?



That would depend on when how the offer was made.  If it was from a stranger telling him about a 2000 year old book that said so, then yes.   If he had a personal experience of significance, I'd be inclined to think about it but it would still be hard because first, I would not have had the same experience and second, why would this experience be private?

I don't think such "crimes" call for an eternity of punishment.

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6 years ago  ::  Apr 27, 2008 - 9:45PM #35
AndyF
Posts: 375

BethK wrote:



There is a difference between sections of the Bible that make me uncomfortable and sections that I don't fully understand.  When a section needs clarification on my part, I do research.  I used trusted materials to help me better understand what the passage is trying to say.  I don't research to suit my own needs but God's heart.



How do you judge if a source is trusted or not? 
(This issue comes up in my faith system a lot because there are so many authors who write nonsense books just to cash in while others might unintentionally propagate historical inaccuracies.)

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6 years ago  ::  Apr 28, 2008 - 12:35PM #36
TalithaKuom
Posts: 556
Shalom Aleichem!
Yeah for the Muppets!
This will be an exceedingly long post, so bear with me.

[QUOTE=AndyF;416979]
I am under the impression that being saved is a yes/no "condition" (for the lack of a better word); either you are or you aren't.[/QUOTE]

Agreed. There is no third option. You're either for God or against Him.

[QUOTE=AndyF;416979]Is the process of being saved an instantaneous occurrence, is it a process that happens slowly over time, or can it vary for different people?[/QUOTE]

All three. My own (albeit) limited understanding is JESUS SAVED, JESUS SAVES, JESUS WILL SAVE. And Salvation comes in two parts: Justification (the event when God declares us righteous) and Sanctification (the process by which He makes us righteous). And, of course, the experience of being drawn back to God is unique for each individual.

[QUOTE=AndyF;416979]
I am curious about what happened physically and emotionally at the moment you believed yourself to be saved.  I'm not implying delusion here, but was there a visible or audible manifestation or something in your mind's eye?  Did you feel a change in temperature or heart rate?  Any other sensory stimulus or unusual memories or emotions? [/QUOTE]

Nope. There were no fireworks, no heavenly chorus, no extrasensory phenomena (that I could see). Why should there have been? Jesus was trying to bring me to Himself, not put me in the hospital for 72 hours.

[QUOTE=AndyF;419620]
It sounds like once a person is saved, it's also something that requires an effort to maintain.  Would it be safe to say that one can lose salvation?[/QUOTE]

I’m not sure about the “Once Saved, Always Saved” theology. I know too many people who sincerely believe they were followers of Christ once upon a time. Furthermore, while “neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers, neither what exists nor what is coming, neither powers above nor powers below, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God” (Romans 8:38-39), I am perfectly capable of separating myself from Him.
However, there is no such thing as a “lapsed Catholic” or a “lapsed Baptist“ or a “lapsed [name your denomination]”, as though you lost your faith accidentally. We can’t fall out of the Father’s hand; we have to extricate ourselves from it. It’s takes effort to lose one’s salvation.

[QUOTE=AndyF;419620]is that peaceful feeling something that stays always stays with you or when directly communing with God?  Is it every time you commune, or just sometimes?[/QUOTE]

Feelings aren’t reliable. They never last and sometimes lie.
Now, while God will grant us a deep sense of peace from time to time, that’s not the normal Christian experience. And as He leads us onward to spiritual maturity, we experience that feeling less and less often. There’s a wonderful passage in C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, where the demon writes,

“Be not deceived, Wormwood, our cause is never more in jeopardy then when a human, no longer desiring but still intending to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe in which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”

To pray even when we feel we’re talking to the ceiling is a greater sign of spiritual maturity than a warm, fuzzy feeling.

[QUOTE=AndyF;451826]But doesn't He command Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, and then swap him for a ram at the last minute?  That sounds like imposing quite an emotional toll from my point of view.[/QUOTE]

The Mount Moriah incident was a test. Abraham didn’t have to sacrifice his son. He could have said, “No”.
Consider: Abraham came from Ur, a major Sumerian city-state. Now, Sumer wasn’t an easy place to live. Everything you had - even your dry land! - had to be manufactured. Because you live in a swamp, you had to tediously fashion giant reed mats upon which to set your farmland. Nevertheless, you were at the utter mercy of the elements.
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6 years ago  ::  Apr 28, 2008 - 12:36PM #37
TalithaKuom
Posts: 556
continued...
Some years, a terrific storm would devastate the land far to the north. You didn’t see it; you were in Sumer. The storm caused a flash flood. You didn’t see it; you were in Sumer. The flash flood dragged giant rocks and boulders into the river. You didn’t see that, either; you were in Sumer. WHAT YOU DID SEE is the Euphrates River drying up. So you and your ensis and your lugals plead with the gods to return the water. All the while, miles and miles to the north, water is building up behind those rocks and boulders until finally ---- the damn bursts. The water returns alright…and sweeps your farm into the Persian Gulf.
Sumerian religion reflected this reality. The gods are amoral, violent, petty. They’ll torment humankind for their own amusement. For example: Inanna/Ishtar transformed her lover Ishullanu into a mole so she could point and laugh. She consigned another lover, Tammuz, to Eresh-kigal as her replacement. The Epic of Gilgamesh asks,

“How would it go with me? Your lovers have found you like a brazier which smoulders in the cold, a backdoor which keeps out neither squall of wind nor storm, a castle which crushes the garrison, pitch that blackens the bearer, a water-skin that chafes the carrier, a stone which falls from the parapet, a battering-ram turned back from the enemy, a sandal that trips the wearer. Which of your lovers did you ever love for ever? What shepherd of yours has pleased you for all time?”

(Compare this to the covenant-love the Living God has shown us time and time again.)
Enter Abraham, to whom God says, “Get yourself out of your country, away from your kinsmen and away from your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1) God tells him to leave your city, your family, all your supports and everything you’ve ever known, and go out into the wilderness. He doesn’t even name where. Abraham obviously didn’t have the Bible (either Testament); He doesn’t have any basis for trusting God. Instead, he has this huge body of Sumerian/Akkadian mythology warning him against EXACTLY what he’s about to do: he trusts.
Then God asks him to sacrifice his son, Isaac - the child of promise, whom God have to Abraham and his menopausal wife Sarah in their old age, against all hope. Abraham had another son, Ishmael, who’s wandering around the Arabian peninsula somewhere - provided he’s still alive. Abraham must have thought, “Now it comes. Now He’s showing His true colors.”
Still, Abraham obeys.

“By trusting, Avraham, when he was put to the test, offered up Yits’chak as a sacrifice. Yes, he offered up his only son, he who had received the promises, to whom it had been said, ‘What is called your “seed” will be in Yitz’chak.’ For he had concluded that God could even raise people from the dead! And, figuratively speaking, he did so receive him.” (Hebrews 11:17-19)

[QUOTE=AndyF;451826]
Didn't Jesus descend into hell according to scripture?  This would imply that He could venture there if He so chose?[/QUOTE]

Actually, to be specific 1. You’re thinking of the Apostles’ Creed and 2. He descending into Sheol, the Grave (iow, He died indeed). There is a fourth century document called the Gospel according to Nicodemus (I believe) that portrays the Harrowing of Hell. However, the vast majority of people recognize this text as pious fiction (an ancient equivalent of the Left Behind series).

[QUOTE=AndyF;451826]
Do you think God is sorry to lose the unbelievers to hell?  Do you think He's abandoned them?  It sounds weird but I wonder why He would not attempt a rescue mission.[/QUOTE]

Hell is one of the hardest Christian doctrines. No follower of Jesus wants there to be a hell. We would all like to say, “All shall be saved.” But denying Jesus’ own words won’t help anybody.
Essentially, we’re all floundering in the same ocean. We’ve all fallen short of the glory of God. We’ve all sinned. And because God is a God of justice as well as mercy, our actions/words/attitudes have consequences. IOW, we are, all of us, in danger of hell. Hell is not a subterranean torture chamber. It’s not a place where demons with pitchforks boil us in cauldrons. IT’S WORSE. It is the state of total alienation from our Creator God, complete spiritual darkness.
But God doesn’t want that to happen to us. THAT’S why He sent His Son, His only Son (the child of promise) to die on that Cross. Now we have a choice. We can continue floundering in that ocean until we drown or are eaten by sharks; or we can try swimming for land until we drown or are eaten by sharks; or we can grab hold of the life saver God has thrown out to us and allow Him to pull us onto a boat.
Unfortunately,  too many people would rather not grab the life saver. And God won’t force them.

[QUOTE=AndyF;451826]It sounds weird but I wonder why He would not attempt a rescue mission.[/QUOTE]

WE are the rescue mission. Are you familiar with the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.

“’Once there was a rich man who used to dress in the most expensive clothing and spent his days in magnificent luxury. At his gate had been laid a beggar named El’azar who was covered with sores. He would have been glad to eat the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table; but instead, even the dogs would come and licks his sores. In time the beggar died and was carried away by the angels to Avraham’s side; the rich man also died and was buried.
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6 years ago  ::  Apr 28, 2008 - 12:36PM #38
TalithaKuom
Posts: 556
Continued…
“’In Sh’ol, where he was in torment, the rich man looked up and saw Avraham far away with El’azar at his side. He called out, “Father Avraham, take pity on me, and send El’azar just to dip the tip of his finger in water to cool my tongue, because I’m in agony in this fire!” However, Avraham said, “Son, remember that when you were alive, you got the good things while he got the bad; but now he gets his consolation here, while you are the one in agony. Yet that isn’t all: between you and us a deep rift has been established, so that those who would like to pass from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to here.”
“’He answered, “Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house, where I have five brothers, to warn them; so that they may be spared having to come to this place of torment too.” But Avraham said,”They have Moshe and the Prophets; they should listen to them.” However, he said, “No, father Avraham, they need more. If someone from the dead goes to them, they’ll repent!” But he replied, “If they won’t listen to Moshe and the Prophets, they won’t be convinced even if someone rises form the dead!”’” (Luke 16:19-31)

Notice two things: 1. The rich man never asked to be released from Hell, only that Lazarus should be sent to Hell with him. 2.Someone has risen from the dead (Jesus Christ).
We have to make the choice NOW. In the words of the apostle Paul, “Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)

[QUOTE=AndyF;454381]
The god of the OT is rather frightening to me.  The myths and legends of my deities aren't all roses and lollipops either, but I don't take them more than some old stories.  What do you think of people who claim that Jesus is all loving or perfect love given the jealousy factor?[/QUOTE]

Mercy without justice is rarely merciful.
Would you have called a God good or loving if He granted the same reward to Joseph Stalin as to William Wilberforce, glorified Adolf Hitler and Mother Theresa? Sin and evil IS a serious problem. God really does care.

“’You are not to abuse the widow or orphan. If you do abuse them in any way, and they cry to Me, I will certainly heed their cry. My anger will burn, and I will kill you with the sword - your own wives will be widows and your own children fatherless.
“’If you loan money to one of My people who is poor, you are not to deal with him as a creditor; and you are not to charge him interest. If you take a neighbor’s coat as collateral, you are to restore it to him by sundown, because it is his only garment - he needs it to wrap his body; what else does he have in which to sleep? Moreover, if he cries out to Me, I will listen; because I am compassionate.’” (Exodus 22:21-26)

“It is here that we come to the supreme achievement of Jewish thought - not in its monotheism as such, but in the character it ascribed to the God it intuited as One. The Greeks, the Romans, the Syrians, and most of the other Mediterranean peoples would have said two things about their gods’ characters. First, they tend to be amoral; second, toward humankind they are preponderantly indifferent. The Jews reversed the thinking of their contemporaries on both counts. Whereas the gods of Olympus tirelessly pursued beautiful women, the God of Sinai watched over widows and orphans. While Mesopotamia’s Anu and Canaan’s El were pursuing their aloof ways, Yahweh speaks the name of Abraham, lifting His people out of slavery, and (in Ezekiel’s vision) seeks out the lonely, heartsick Jewish exiles in Babylon. God is a God of righteousness, Whose loving-kindness is from everlasting to everlasting and Whose tender mercies are in all His works.” (Huston Smith, The World’s Religions, 2nd ed., p 275)

[QUOTE=AndyF;457126]They deserved it?  Flooding the world, plagues, fire from the skies?  That's beyond tough love in my opinion.[/QUOTE]

Yes. As was already stated, for Judeo-Christians the reality of evil is a serious problem. And, sometimes, it builds up until something MUST be done. It’s a tough lesson.

[QUOTE=AndyF;457126]
What do you do when you reach a section of the Bible that makes you uncomfortable? 
I've heard the "Thou shall not suffer a witch to live" line interpreted to mean everything from "kill witches" to "do not help a witch make a living by paying for services like divination".  Do you just search for an interpretation that sounds better and go with it?[/QUOTE]

There’s a difference between passages that are difficult to understand and passages that are difficult to bear. Jeremiah 31:22 is difficult to understand. (No one’s quite sure what it means.) The most difficult translation is usually the better translation.
In regards to the particular verse you’ve chosen, most Christians don’t worship on Sunday and burn witches on Tuesday. That’s just silly.
Peace of Christ!
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6 years ago  ::  Apr 28, 2008 - 9:34PM #39
AndyF
Posts: 375
Hi Talitha

Agreed. There is no third option. You're either for God or against Him.



I'm having trouble with that line of reasoning.  It has as much meaning as the question "Are you for or against purple unicorns?" for me. 

The Mount Moriah incident was a test. Abraham didn’t have to sacrifice his son. He could have said, “No”.



That's quite a test.  But when dealing directly with God in that fashion, especially knowing that God's history of reaction, did he really feel he could protest?  The decision for me would have been easy - I would have said, "No.  My life for my son."  The test was cruel.

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6 years ago  ::  Apr 28, 2008 - 9:56PM #40
AndyF
Posts: 375

TalithaKuom wrote:

continued...

Sumerian religion reflected this reality. The gods are amoral, violent, petty. They’ll torment humankind for their own amusement. For example: Inanna/Ishtar transformed her lover Ishullanu into a mole so she could point and laugh. She consigned another lover, Tammuz, to Eresh-kigal as her replacement.



But these are just stories about those other deities.  They aren't literal truths.

Actually, to be specific 1. You’re thinking of the Apostles’ Creed and 2. He descending into Sheol, the Grave (iow, He died indeed). There is a fourth century document called the Gospel according to Nicodemus (I believe) that portrays the Harrowing of Hell. However, the vast majority of people recognize this text as pious fiction (an ancient equivalent of the Left Behind series).



How was the conclusion that this was fiction?  How can I, as a nonbeliever, verify which texts are valid and which aren't? 

And because God is a God of justice as well as mercy, our actions/words/attitudes have consequences



I'm not sure I've been introduced to the just, merciful God.

It’s not a place where demons with pitchforks boil us in cauldrons. IT’S WORSE. It is the state of total alienation from our Creator God, complete spiritual darkness.



I know many hard core atheists who live very fulfilling lives while completely denying the existence of any deity.

Now we have a choice. We can continue floundering in that ocean until we drown or are eaten by sharks; or we can try swimming for land until we drown or are eaten by sharks; or we can grab hold of the life saver God has thrown out to us and allow Him to pull us onto a boat.



OK, so there were so many who responded about making the choice.  Do you think anyone who has declined is justified in feeling that certain Christian elements seek to impose the faith anyway?

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