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Old 12-01-2004, 11:24 PM   #31
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All four Gospels emphasise the uniqueness of Christ, of his life, death and resurrection. Though John is the only Gospel to explicitly state that Jesus is the only way to salvation this fact is strongly implied throughout all four Gospels. Acts was written by the same author as Luke and thus Acts reflects the view of Luke's gospel. Most significantly Acts implies quite strongly that it's author knew Paul very well and travelled with him extensively. Most likely he knew some of the apostles. The view point that Christ is the only way to salvation is not a fringe view. Nor is it when it comes from Paul, someone who definitely knew Christ's apostles first hand. The authorship of the other Gospels is less certain but of the Synoptics (Matt, Mark and Luke) none was written after 90 AD (Mark perhaps earlier than 70) and though John is later (roughly 100) recent scholarship is showing that John has at the very least a solid factual basis in history. In terms of texts, the NT has the best attested documentary history in antiquity. No other book of its age exists in as many copies, so close to its original writing. The text we have is without a doubt very close to it's original form. And as to an agenda, what kind of grandeose agenda can a fringe movement within fractious minority relgion have. Power meant nothing to these people, if only for the reason that they thought the world was about to end. And why would they want to exclude people? Paul despaired because people wouldn't accept the message. He wept because many of his fellow Jews rejected Jesus. Anyone who can read Romans and not feel Paul's agony is frozen stiff.

One either accepts the Gospels as authoritative or one doesn't, you can't have both. One either accepts the authority of Paul's writings and the other writings in the NT or one doesn't. As soon as you start picking and choosing what you like you are simply creating a God which suits your aesthetic sense. There is a great deal of material in the Gospels as well as the rest of the Bible that I find uncomfortable but accept it because to do otherwise is to admit that we can know nothing and that God has abandoned us to float rudderless, directed by our own whims and self effacing fantasies. I don't accept it unquestioningly as I know that God's revelation has come through human hands, we were told to be wise as serpents for a reason. Yet I sense truth in these pages and I trust that God would not allow lies to pass by the discerning spirits of the hundreds of people who carefully and with much sincerity decided what was cannon. Not all were of highest mind, but modern cynicism goes much too far in deciding that no one ever believed genuinely and put aside self-interest to follow their beliefs in sincerity.

I wish that all would choose salvation, but I know human nature well enough that there will always be those who will look truth in the eye and choose an illusion.

Does that mean I think only those who have declared aloud their belief in Jesus will be saved. No. Rather we are told that God's Grace acts through Christ alone. Conscious belief in Christ is the only sure way to salvation we know of. We do not know the other ways God's Grace works. But we do know that people were saved through Christ without knowing about him before he came, and I think that to still be the case. If a person would have believed in Christ if he/she had been told about him, I regard that as being the same as if they have declared belief in him. Why do Christians feel the need to tell others about Christ? Because conscious belief in him is the only way one can be sure of their salvation. The assurance that comes from belief is a gift from God. To not give someone that chance to know that they are free is a crime. But most importantly we tell others because Christ told us to. The only certain way to ensure salvation. In John we are also told that in death Christ has spoken directly to everyone who ever lived. But why should one only find out that God loves them and accept that love when they die? And I think that one can accept Christ in the split second before the tractor trailer squashes you flat. But life is better if you do it long before that moment.

In summary through Christ alone does not necessarily mean through delaration of belief in Christ alone, but that's the only way that we can know for sure that we are saved. And no, not everyone will be saved, but I don't presume to say who that is. I can say with certainty that one who honestly puts their faith in Christ is saved. But I can't tell you who that is, cause I don't live inside the hearts of others. I only know the state of my relationship with God and no one elses. I can say that I am saved without arrogance cause I sure didn't do anything to earn it. I don't know why God puts up with me to be honest. But I have the assurance (not without doubt... doubt of my worthiness, doubt as to whether I truly believe) and I am eternally greatful and I would not deny that gift to anyone.

Basically I can give a category of people who certainly have salvation (those who believe in Christ)... though I can't tell who for certain wheather a person falls into that category. I can give probablities, and thus I have more concern for the salvation of someone who doesn't believe in Christ than for someone who does because that is the only indicator of salvation I have. But in the end I don't know. But by all rights a faithful Hindu may be saved through Christ while someone who attends church every Sunday is not. But I can't know that, so I can only do what Christ has asked of me, and that is to tell people about him and hope that they will accept him.

Very wordy but I hope that made sense.
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Old 12-01-2004, 11:57 PM   #32
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There was a really fascinating book I read about this subject. It is called Eternity In Thier Hearts by Don Richardson. God is expressed through general and special revelation...this book examines evidence among 'primitive' and foreign cultures that have tribal/folk traditions with strikingly similar beliefs that mirror the Gospel. In other words, the question of "How can God condemn people who have never heard the Gospel?"---they have...just not nessacarily in the way we'd see. This book was really fascinating for me to read and it really opened my perspective and showed me how easily I had limited God's capabilites/tried to put Him brackets. Here is a review that goes into a little bit more detail about specific examples from the book. I'd definetly recommend it.

http://christdot.org/modules.php?nam...ticle&sid=1715
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Old 12-02-2004, 12:17 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally posted by shart1780
I How can you say that the Jews truly elieve in the God of the Bible when they openly deny that Jesus was our savior? They deny the central idea of christianity. They deny Jesus.

I'm not trying to convert anyone to christianity, I'm trying to get you to question how much you really believe the Bible. The way I see it, if the central idea of the Bible was Jesus' grace, and you deny it, how can you believe the Bible?
Since we keep stressing Biblical authority, here's a quote I find appropriate to your allegations. This one isn't from Jesus but Paul, so I suppose you can ignore it if you like.

"There will be affliction and distress for every human being who is a wrongdoer, for the Jew first, and for the Greek also; but for everyone who does right there will be glory, honor, and peace, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. God has no favorites." Romans 2:9-11.

I believe the Bible contains profound truth, but it was written by man. Divinely inspired, but ultimately committed to paper by man. Like any document written by man, it carries with it the spirit of the times in which it was written. As Masha Greenberg of Hebrew University states, "The beginning of wisdom in biblical studies is the realization that the Bible is an exotic book about which modern readers understand very little." It comes from 2 different and ancient cultures--Near East and Greek. These are *not* contemporary accounts of the events portrayed therein, and wishing/believing will never make them so. No matter how strong or weak one's faith, there *is* a historical reality behind the composition of the Bible that you cannot ignore. And if your faith is strong enough, it can withstand scholarly scrutiny.

Do I believe the Bible? Yes, parts of it. When Jesus says "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do" about the men crucifying him--that moves me. Jesus allowing the children (the lowest members of Greco-Roman society) to come to him. This is what touches me. And I know in my heart that Jesus who blesses those children, and the God who gives him the power to do so, who knows about the fall of every sparrow...He would not condemn others for following another path.

There's alot of accusation flying here that we cannot pick and choose what we follow in the Bible. But even the most fundamentalist Christian does this every day. When a man's brother dies, does he take his wife as his own (even if he already has one) to perpetuate the dead man's name? No. God says to do it, though. Jesus said to follow the law, but we've clearly cast much of that aside because it no longer fits with our culture. In the haste to say Jesus said this, so all of you are condemned, we tend to forget what other things he said.

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn and you will not be condemned" (Luke 6:37)
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Old 12-02-2004, 12:53 AM   #34
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"There will be affliction and distress for every human being who is a wrongdoer, for the Jew first, and for the Greek also; but for everyone who does right there will be glory, honor, and peace, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. God has no favorites." Romans 2:9-11."

When paul said this he didn't mean Jews as a religion, just like he didn't mean Greeks as a religion. We all know Greek isn't a religion. He was talking about race. He was saying the Jewish race will be hated by others, (current Middle East events... hint hint), but they will also be blessed by God. Also, the Bible says that doing good works, except for God's glory, is evil. He doesn't mean good as in helping old ladies cross the street, he means doing TRUE good, which is leading people to Christ. And in the Bible Christ says that following the word of God is the way you need to live your life. Jesus says alot in the Bible, and part of what he says is that the laws found in the Bible ARE the only guidelines on how to live a Godly life. He also states that he is the ONLY way to Heaven. This issue seems to be getting dodged alot.

It all boils down to this:

1. Jesus said he is THE way, THE truth, and THE life. That no one will ever get to Heaven but through him. This is an undeniable fact.

2. Jesus says the Bible is the word of God and is to be followed by christians. He also states that without believing that Jesus is the only way, we cannot be saved. This is an undeniable fact.

3. Alot of people say that they believe that Jesus is not the only way to Heaven. This is an undeniable fact.

So, by process of common sense, we can conclude that alot of people really don't believe that Jesus was the son of God, nor that he was even a truthful man. We can also conclude that they don't believe in the very heart of Christianity, which is basically the law of the Bible.

So why the heck should we even care what the Bible says if its most important figure was nothing but a liar? I find it hilarious that people will say that the God of the Bible would never keep Muslims and Bhuddists and whoever out of Heaven. They somehow convince themselves that fundamentalists such as myself cling to titles too much and believe only my god is the right god.

They'll say the Bible is the truth. The word of God. I'll read them the scrpture stating that Jesus is the only way. Then I'll ask them "is Jesus the only way?", and they'll say "no, that's a close-minded fundamentalist view". Well, I'm sorry but that's what the Bible says! You absolutely cannot say you believe the Bible and say that you believe Jesus is not the only way.

Logic logic logic logic.
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Old 12-02-2004, 01:58 AM   #35
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So, if you already know the answers, why bother asking the questions? You've disregarded everyone who didn't agree with your interpretation.

Clearly, you had no other goal in mind other than to repeat the same verses over and over again, and ignore all other voices. Yet *we* are the ones who are dodging the issue.

I'm done with this diatribe, because that's all this is. How disappointing.
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Old 12-02-2004, 04:23 AM   #36
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Sorry, but Jesus being "the way" to you might not mean the same thing to others.

Is Jesus still the way if he decides to extend his grace towards a non-Christian as he did throughout the four Gospels? I believe he is.

Your WAY may not be God's way.

SO:

[Q]So, by process of common sense, we can conclude that alot of people really don't believe that Jesus was the son of God, nor that he was even a truthful man. We can also conclude that they don't believe in the very heart of Christianity, which is basically the law of the Bible. [/Q]

SO by process of common sense, I conclude that you believe you have found "The Way" good for you! That does not mean that what you said above is true for me or anyone else, because my vision of Jesus being :The Way" is equally plausible. Your entire logic is false on these assumptions making the above statement quite wrong.

And your last three paragraphs, basically do reinforce the belief that as a "fundamentalist" you are not here to have a dialogue about beliefs. You have summed it up in such a way that you basically tell everyone who respectfully replied in the thread that they are wrong and you are right and basically imply we are all ignorant for not getting it right.


[Q]You absolutely cannot say you believe the Bible and say that you believe Jesus is not the only way. [/Q]

I can believe in the Bible. I can believe that Jesus is the way(not the way you intepret it) because my belief is equally plausible. While I, a non-fundamentalist can appreciate and understand your belief, it saddens me, that the street is not a two way street here.


[Q]I find it hilarious that people will say that the God of the Bible would never keep Muslims and Bhuddists and whoever out of Heaven. [/Q]

I find it hilarious, that your image of what the "way" limits God to just those who believe as I do. I believe that ALL the COLORS will bleed into one!!!!!!
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Old 12-02-2004, 04:39 AM   #37
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Just popping in...

I want to remind everyone here that we have non-Christians of other faiths (Jewish, Buddhist, etc.) paying close attention to this thread, and I hope we can continue the debate constructively and peacefully. Things have gone pretty well so far, but let's remember that not one of us here--whatever faith or persuasion you happen to be--is actually God, and thus none of us will have the final say over heaven, hell, or anything else.

Thanks.
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Old 12-02-2004, 05:44 AM   #38
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Thank you Dread. Couldn't have said it better myself.

shart1780,

You keep saying the same thing. There have been some very valid questions brought up that you have completely ignored. Like what about those that have never heard of Jesus, what does "through" mean. I'd rather see you try and answer those questions rather than just spouting off the same answers and telling us we're calling Jesus a liar.
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Old 12-02-2004, 05:50 AM   #39
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Quote:
You keep saying the same thing. There have been some very valid questions brought up that you have completely ignored. Like what about those that have never heard of Jesus, what does "through" mean. I'd rather see you try and answer those questions rather than just spouting off the same answers and telling us we're calling Jesus a liar.
One of the consisten attributes of God brought out in scripture is that he is a fair and just God. God will be fair with all. There will be those who did not know God through Christ (uh, for example those before Christ) and God will judge them accordingly.

FAIR, it's not just for ferris wheels.
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Old 12-02-2004, 06:56 AM   #40
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What bothers me is people who think that as long as they say they accept Christ as their personal savior they are automatically saved no matter what they do in their lives, and anyone else who may be living a better life but has not officially said the little statement on the back of the pamphlett is going to hell. I guess this comes from know so many hypocritical Southern Baptists in my life, unfortunately including my brother, as well as other acquiatences and neighbors. These "Christians" are some of the most sinning, judgemental, greedy, even cruel people I have ever seen, yet they seem to believe they are 'forgiven'. I don't believe it works that way, I think if God judges us He will take into consideration the way people lived, especially after declaring themselves 'saved.' I don't mean this to insult every 'born again Christian' I'm sure there are plenty to live by it, and I know a few of those too, but too many of the other type. I can't believe a just God would allow such hypocrites into Heaven and send a good hearted generous person with fewer sins into the pits of hell. Guess we'll all have to wait and see.
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Old 12-02-2004, 07:34 AM   #41
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Concerning the types and numbers of people who are going to be in heaven:

1) When Scripture speaks on this issue, it is not univocal, no matter how vehemently people may argue otherwise. Simply speaking, about 2/3 of the Scripture passages that seem to speak to eternal salvation support limited salvation (that is, only certain folks get "saved" in the end. Others go to hell, eternal separation from their God). BUT, approximately 1/3 of the Scriptural references to the final judgment/eternal life speak to universal salvation (see Isaiah 25, Jeremiah 23, Philippians 2...). That is, there is also solid Scriptural foundation for saying that everyone ends up with God eternally...somehow. And a God who can be creative and daring and surprising enough to allow his Son to be crucified and then resurrect him is certainly daring enough to find a way to bring every one of his creatures back to him.

It is my opinion that coming down firmly on either one of those sides is not being faithful to Scripture. The bottom line: eternal salvation is ultimately up to God and although we have clues as to what's going to happen, we shouldn't be so sure of ourselves and act like we know exactly what God is going to do.

A more pertinent question: is salvation only to be experienced at the end? Or may we perhaps have a foretaste now? When is salvation begun?
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Old 12-02-2004, 07:52 AM   #42
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My feeling about all of this is that only God knows who's going to have eternal life with Him or whatever, we have no way of knowing this ourself. I can only do my best.
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Old 12-02-2004, 08:22 AM   #43
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Quote:
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Not true. Jesus said through him. I have never taken this as "you must know me to get to heaven." I have gone through many paths in life through doors people have opened for me without me having a relationship with them or even meeting them.
This is not a matter of interpreting one or two verses. There are dozens and dozens of verses that all point to one conclusion. Salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

The clearest statements are found in:

John 14:6
Acts 4:11-12
Acts 16:30-31
1 Timothy 2:5
1 John 2:23
1 John 5:11-12
Luke 10:16
Luke 12:8-9
John 3:18
John 3:36
John 8:24

We can go on from there with verses that support

1. Jesus is the only source of salvation for the world
2. Jesus is the Father's choice
3. Rejection of Jesus is rejection of the Father
4. Rejection of Jesus brings judgment; belief in Jesus rescues from wrath
5. Jesus is the only one who provides forgiveness from sin
6. There are no other alternatives for salvation
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Old 12-02-2004, 08:24 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
Or one of many paths to the same God who created all of us.
You are missing the exclusive claims made by Christ Himself.
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Old 12-02-2004, 08:30 AM   #45
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Yes, Jesus made many claims that were outrageous to the people of his time, and are still outrageous to the people of our time. Belief is a leap of faith, and to assume that all religions follow the same God is worldly to say the least. Muhammad described heaven as a place for earthly pleasures, like virgins. Jesus did not. Islamic scripture allows lust to exist. The Bible is against lust, and claims that when a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery in his heart. I find it impossible to compromise Christianity with any other belief system, and ignore what Jesus claimed - that he is the way, the truth, and the life.
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