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This morning’s session main idea was on the topic of salvation and the way we look at it. He spent a good section of the talk going through verse after story in the scriptures that talked about how in each of these verses salvation seemed to be achieved by a different means. In some verses it was received by doing something, in others by saying something, in others it was acting a certain way and still in others it was from someone else doing something for you. A biblical picture of salvation cannot be wrapped up in saying a sinners prayer or in specific moments or destinations. Instead it can be seen as a journey with many markers or destinations along the way.
Bell was challenging the worldview of salvation being all about going to another place. He asked the hard questions about the people that have never said the prayer yet seem like better people and more like Jesus than many of those that have said the prayer. He also said that we should ask what jesus people were rejecting (used a quote from a great book by Renne Olsted and how she has rejected a jesus that she grew up with (if you have read the book it is about the spiritual/sexual molestation and assault that she experienced through her life and how it shaped her faith, definitely a great book.)
He spent a few minutes on the age of accountability and who we think is in or out. He then spent the time talking about how when someone dies for some reason, no matter what our theology we always default to faith. For instance, if we think the age of accountability is twelve then if a thirteen year old dies, well we will be quite hesitant to assume he’s in hell. We will always default to grace no matter what our theology is.
The bottom line through it all, is if you were to give an answer about how the bible says you get saved, you would find a lot of answers.
There was really so much covered this morning and I think I’m touching on a quarter of it. But to end it off on one of the notes that he did here is a quote by Richard Rohr
my simple definition of salvation would be when on e begins to live in conscious union with God. This of course grows and develops and Jesus make it plan that this has to begin in our bodies, in our human lives, in our experience in this world, now, and for that Jesus is surely necessary for salvation
…it is not a formula or a mere affirmation but a change of identity.
1 thought on “Blogging from Isn’t She Beautiful Part 4”
I’ve heard it said that while we judge ourselves by our intentions, we judge others by their actions. I suppose sometimes we also hope that God judges us on our intentions as well, maybe because the idea of a loved one ending up in Hell is such a painful one. It reminds me of a saying by Kant (I think — may have been Spinoza) where he states that man always acts in the manner which at that time seems good and right to him, in his own eyes, regardless of whether he would have thought about it as wrong (or even evil) at any other time. Perhaps we too easily pray for this subjective standard to be used in our judging and the judging of those we love instead of a more objective standard standard we often wish on those we see as “evil.”
Your story reminds me of something I heard once when I was in Catholic school in my country of origin. A mother had been in a car crash and her 5 year old kid had been killed. She asked the priest, “Father, is my child in heaven?” The priest then answered, “No. Your child was never baptised so he still had his Original Sin.” Talk about a good story to tell a bunch of 6 year olds.
For the record, I am no longer Catholic.
I was also reminded of this story when I heard Tony Dungy’s son had committed suicide. Dungy later came out and said he was confident his son James was in heaven because he had accepted Christ, and could not have been blamed for his apparent mental state. Even in the case of Mortal Sin, and the mental state of a person is a determining factor in whether they go to Heaven or Hell after commiting mortal sin. (I wrote about it a bit here.)
Thanks for the interesting post.