Monday, February 08, 2010

Picking Your Own Way to Heaven

Those who take offense at God for only honoring the one Way of salvation through faith (in Him, and not in any other) defend an absurd position, if one bothers to think it through. If God was somehow morally obligated to accept a second path, then why not a third, or a forth? The end of this absurdity is that God becomes obligated to accept any number of paths to salvation which man might dream up. This of course, reverses the role of God and Man. It takes us right back to original sin where we wanted to be "like God", indeed even be God's judge!

It can only end in two ways: God must either accept any person's standard of righteousness, in which case even Adolf Hitler would demand admittance to Heaven on the grounds that he was true to his beliefs. The other option, if one holds to a collective orthodoxy that is becoming so in vogue in these times of mental and moral confusion, is that God must admit to heaven anyone whose beliefs are approved by 51% of the vote of the mass of mankind.

In such an instance, modern politics has shown us that Hitler can still get into Heaven. He must simply form the right coalition as in "you ignore what you don't like about me and I will do the same for you" in order to cobble together those votes. Those who will be most likely to be left out of such a coalition will be Bible believing Christians and Jews, who would not be willing to compromise their faith. Christians who stand by the Gospel as the only way to Heaven, as Christ and the Apostles taught, would likely be among the only ones excluded from heaven under this perverse arrangement.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Rick said...

Many religions teach there are multiple ways to heaven. I call it the gospel according to Oprah. I was having a discussion with a Muslim a few weeks back that made a comment that her religion and Christianity are the same because we both teach Jesus. Of course my question to her was who do you say Jesus was? Her response was a Prophet. Jesus claimed to be God so he couldn't be a prophet. He was either who He claimed to be or a liar, but not a prophet. Point is, not all religions are equal and there is only one way to heaven, Jesus Christ. That may not be politically correct but its the truth.

7:18 AM, February 08, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Technically, Jesus claimed to be God's son.

12:19 PM, February 08, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a followup, there are dozens of beliefs that aren't critical to successful salvation.

For instance, I might not believe you need to wear pants to be saved; but if you do believe in pantsism, that's fine, just don't run around saying I'm going to hell for my antipants position.

This isn't to say that obvious heresies are tolerable, but that doctrine is not the key to salvation.

12:25 PM, February 08, 2010  
Anonymous Bosco said...

Regardless of what man may understand, there is but one way to heaven and that is Jesus. Now many people may want to claim that their are many ways, but they are fooling themselves.
Men who desire to be saved (and some do not)must earnestly seek out the truth. Compare Christianity with the other world religions and you will see a difference that will lead (After some searching) to Christ.
I have come to the point where if someone denies my testimony about Christ, then I shake the sand off my sandles and more on to another. I hate that the person may lose their soul, but I have done all I can do in that situation- maybe God may send another. There is only one way- whether man accepts it or not.

6:04 PM, February 08, 2010  
Anonymous Rick said...

Anon 12:19, Jesus claimed to be God in John 10:30, " I and my Father are one". In John 5:17-18 He is equal with God in His person, (v19-20) He is equal with God in His works,(v21) He is equal with God in power and sovereignty, (v23) He is equal with God in honor.

10:26 AM, February 09, 2010  
Blogger Arkansas Hillbilly said...

Rick,

A few items of interest in what you have posted:

First, as to the text itself, further down we read that the crowd threatened to stone Him for saying this and he answered, "...Is it not written in your law, “I said, you are gods”? If those to whom the word of God came were called “gods”—and the scripture cannot be annulled— can you say that the one whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world is blaspheming because I said, “I am God’s Son”?"

I am not so sure that Jesus is equating himself with God big "G" in this passage. It seems to go completely counter to the unassuming man that he is portrayed as in the synoptic gospels.

Without going too far into New Testament history, we have to remember time and context when reading scripture. The Gospel of John has been dated to somewhere between 60-80 years after the Ressurection, and its purpose was partly to refute early Gnosticism. It's narrative even places events in a different order from the other three Gospels. If you read all four Gospels in the order they were probably written, starting with Mark (60-70 AD), then Matthew (70-75 AD), Luke (70-75 AD) and finally John (80-110AD), you see how the vision of who Christ is changed in the 40-70 years that all four books were written. As Christianity evolved from a tiny sect in Judaism to a full fledged religion in its own right, the idea of who Jesus was changed with it. The idea of Jesus as God and the doctrine of the Trinity were not codified until around 325 AD with the First Council of Nicaea, nearly 200 years after John's Gospel was put to parchment. To say that Christianity has always believed in Jesus as God and the Son of God is not quite as true as you would make it seem.

A friend of mine, who is a retired Professor of Theology once asked the question this way, "When Jesus says, 'I am the way the truth and the life, no one shall come to the Father except through me," who is he talking about? Is it "me" Jesus, "me" as God speaking through Him? "me" as the Logos of God? Who is "me"?"

God is universal, so therefore Christ is universal. How can one view fit to over 4 billion people? It can't: any more than my view can fit you or visa versa. There is an old story of the three blind men who encounter an elephant. One says the elephant is like a long snake because he can only feel the trunk, the second says he is like a tree because he can only feel the leg, the third says it is like a small rope because all he can feel is the tail. Paul says we see God as through a glass darkly. We only see a glimpse of Him, and the glimpse I see is not the same as what you have seen.

2:26 PM, February 09, 2010  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Billy,

Seems to me you have a self-refuting post there. Your old chestnut about the blind men and the elephant undermines your contention that the gospels tell a "changing" account of who Christ is. Instead of who Christ is being something that is "changing" throughout the gospels, it is- like the blind men's description of the elephant, the same thing described from different perspectives.

One account focuses on His humanity, another focuses on His Divinity. Which is correct? They both are. Just like the three blind men are still accurately describing one aspect of the elephant. One account focuses on His teachings, another on His miracles. So did He come as a teacher or a miracle worker? He came as both, but different witnesses emphasize different things.

To give your exact quote....

If you read all four Gospels in the order they were probably written, starting with Mark (60-70 AD), then Matthew (70-75 AD), Luke (70-75 AD) and finally John (80-110AD), you see how the vision of who Christ is changed in the 40-70 years that all four books were written. As Christianity evolved from a tiny sect in Judaism to a full fledged religion in its own right, the idea of who Jesus was changed with it.

It's balderdash sir. It's silly. Paul wrote Colossians in the early 60's AD and it describes a picture of Christ God, who in fact created the entire universe (Chapter one, verses 14-19). The orthodox view of who Christ was is present from the very begining of the Church.

As for the Trinity, it may not be given that name, but you just noted that Matthew was written by 75AD. Matthew ends with an exhortation to baptize people "in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost". There is Jesus, as God's Son, and in the Godhead.

6:17 AM, February 11, 2010  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

PS- John was still an eyewitness. He may have written it down last, but he was there at the time, unlike your professor friend.

6:23 AM, February 11, 2010  
Blogger Arkansas Hillbilly said...

Mark,

We apear to be on opposite sides yet again.

My story of The Blind Men and the Elephant was to illustrate that we all experinece God/Christ differently according to what we can "see". Marcus Borg calls it the "lens" through which we see and understand God. It is why I do not believe in just "one" way: there is no possibility that one view of God can encompass all humanity.

The theme that Paul is drawing on in Colossians is more than likely the same as the theme in John 1: that of the Logos of God. Judaism had a rich Wisdom tradition, which personified Wisdom as a woman (Wisdom of Solomon, for example) almost to the point of diefying her. Part of what happened was that this ideology was combined with Greek Platonism (John's Logos) creating a new Christology. For a more detailed description, see Ch. 2-3 of "The Case For God" by Karen Armstrong.

Much of the debate in early Christianity (prior to the sacking of Jeruselem in 70 AD) was whether or not Gentile converts needed to be circumcised and follow Jewish dietary laws (the basis of the Faith/Works debate). This would indicate that until the Jewish side of Christianity died out after the destruction of the Temple, that many still considered themselves Jewish or under the Jewish covenant.

You are also ignoring at least three controversial arguments that developed between the 1st and 2nd century Arianism, Ebonism, and Docetism, as well as Gnosticism. Gnosticism stated that Christ was divine spirit only and only wore a human form. Docetism taught that Jesus was only divine and his humanity was merely an illusion. Ebonism and Arianism both claimed that Jesus was only human and not divine, or at least did not attain divinity until after the ressurection.

Maybe you should drop in on one of our Theology Pub meetings in Bentonville. I am sure that your views would be welcomed and yet debated while sharing a meal and drinks.

10:31 AM, February 11, 2010  
Blogger Platypus said...

It is the only way to Heaven if you interpret "No one comes to the father except through me" as meaning Christianity is the "only" means of salvation.

One question to ask is who is ME?
Is ME the Logos of God as John suggests "in the beginning was the word---which dwelt among us"?

If that, then Jesus is the Voice, the Word, of God incarnate. Since there is only one God His voice must be heard by all somehow.

The next question to ask is what is meant by salvation? If you mean closeness to God or spirituality, then any religion might provide that although most, including Christianity, rarely do.

Next one might ask, if Jesus claims ALL the sheep are His and he is talking to the Jews, it would seem clear that one must be JEWISH to be saved, unless "ALL" really means "ALL". In which case we are extremely arrogant Christians claiming our way is the "only" way.

Finally, what sort of God requires knowledge of Him restricted to a specific Religion since Religions are a construct of mankind. Jesus "religion" was reformed Judaism if one wants to attempt to characterize it.

Lastly how do you square love for fellow Man if it only applies to Christians? Clearly He meant love for all, implying they were ALL his children.

Before we make a claim that Christianity is the ONLY true religion we must note that Jesus never talked about "Christianity" and the word was never used until 40-50 years after his death.

"Christianity" as many practice it resembles "Paulinity" which separates justice and mercy far more than the philosophy of Jesus where there is no mercy without justice and no justice without mercy.

Blessings to you.

4:40 AM, February 12, 2010  

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