Monday, August 6, 2007

By Definition

I lifted this idea from a thread on a discussion board. A question came up and has been tossed about by some Restorationists and some CoC priesthood types. Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. Yes? No? Don’t know? Some of the answers are right out of early Sunday morning talk TV.

One answer was all three, but it really depends upon who the questioner is and in what context the question falls. This poster (CoC) also implied the question was a trap. What?

Another poster skirted around the question by demanding "Proof" of what our answer is. He absolutely did not give a definitive answer. If the answer is yes and we are not leading an exemplary life, that doesn't count. He goes on to say that some of those who say no are "good" people, and that does count. Politically correct to the max.

Folks, the question is not that difficult. It's not even as difficult as the one posed to then President William Jefferson Clinton, which he also refused to answer. Unless, of course, you are unable to define the words "yes" and/or "no." I'm always a little suspicious of people who are not capable of answering questions about Jesus Christ.

Question at baptism: "Do you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?"

Answer: "Well . . . that depends on what you mean by 'do.' And what exactly do you mean by that? And are you qualified to ask this question?"

Or, how about: "Do you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?"

Answer: "Yes."

Reply: "So go out there and prove it and then I'll baptize you."

Is Jesus Christ the only way to salvation?

Yes, as evidenced by all of scripture (Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.)

No. So what are you doing hanging around a church named after Jesus Christ? Go be a Buddhist. Or find yourself a politically correct, feelgood church. Oh, I forgot. You already have one of those.

Don't know. Have a nice life and if you ever want to know, come to me and I'll tell you about salvation through Jesus Christ. He's not called our Savior for nothing.

I don't have much luck with message boards. I keep getting deleted. That's why I started this blog.

The Lord's blessings on you all, and may He guide us through all of this.



Patricia Ragan said...

I am on one of those lists/boards. I've seen very few people or posts deleted, but I have seen some of these people with "vague" beliefs, belittle those with strong Christian beliefs and values.

It seems that we are looking at personalities and not principles. Charisma, philanthropic gifts, and a silver tongue are valued more highly than the truth of the gospel.

Looking for spiritual guidance from people with "vague" beliefs, will result in vague understanding and a vague path to a vague god.

Equally Coy said...

Maybe your approach could be mollified somewhat. It is a bit, well, acerbic.
Since this is your blog, you can be as nasty as you want, but if you posted this way on a public discussion board where there are rules it could be construed to be, well, acerbic.
Now, I find it quite interesting that people can get all riled up about someone who might see a cold (as in out of the blue)question like "do you believe Jesus is the only way to salvation" as a trapping question or be hesitant to answer it with "yes", "no", or "don't know", but do not seem to be at all riled up by people using their stalwart and self-procalimed assertion of "yes" to that question as a way of justifying (even demanding)to belittle people, accuse people, judge people, castigate people to hell, then retreat a bit from that while commenting that only God can do that but they are quite sure God will comply with their wishes.

The raparte over on that board is so sad. It is not sad because there may be a few of those evil doer CoC people who persist in being there, or that people like April or Adrienne cannot write anything that doesn't burn the eyes of the reader by the "righteous" venom that pours from the screen. No, it is sad because things are so upside down there, that any hope of any rational discussion is virtually impossible. And it is upside down while being proudly proclaimed as bearing the "full armor of God".

Now here on your blog, you may obviously do as you wish. And I notice that you hold exclusive veto power here, so this comment may never see the light of day and be castigated to the hell of the electronic ether. But your "By Definition" post is hardly inviting to any real dialog. Only a connoisseur of internet delectables such as myself would spend this much time and pixel on it.

An aside:
As for questions being traps. I can understand that concept.

If I asked you, for example, "Have you stopped selling drugs to the kids in your neighborhood? Oh, and by the way, I require you to answer 'yes' or 'no'."

That is a trap question. There is no satisfactory answer, no answer that let's you answer unscathed or without a warrant for your arrest.

A question, out of the blue, about a doctrinal postition or a belief is kind of like that. Any response to a question of belief carries with it a broad set of assumptions that help to form the response.
Based on what I read from you, and from people like Adrienne or the other commenter here, and perhaps most of the restorationist folk on Centerplace, your "yes" answer relies on a literal reading of scriptures that support yes and a literal ignoring of scriptures that might suggest a more "vague" answer.
My point is, that assumptions about the nature of God, the nature of scripture, and any number of other theological points will shape one's understanding of and answer to that question.
There are many Christians who probably would be "vague" in their answer to that question. People in my denomination, for example would probably answer, "yes, but" , for example. Is that vague? Or does it just mean that we are thinking about what it means to form an answer to the question?

I have a hunch that God would prefer that someone be vague in their answer to the question whilst living a life of charity and humility and kindness and sacrifice, rather than being absolutely certain in a "yes" and devote their time and energy blasting and casting the vague answerers for being vague in their answer.

Now please do not do what you seem to do best. I am not saying that a certain "yes" person cannot also live a life of charity, kindness, humility and sacrifice.
But there is that old thing about fruits...and it seems that there are a lot of questionable fruits on display on the internet by folk who certainly answer "yes".

So not in anyway to exonerate Mr Clinton or any of the people you took exception to on Centerplace, I ask you,
Are you really surprised that your post (I am assuming that your "by definition" post here is the same one, or close to it) got deleted over there?
Is this post the one that was deleted? Or is this more or less, well, acerbic?


Patricia Ragan said...

Mr. or Ms. Coy,

"Do you believe Jesus is the only way to salvation?" How is this question a trap? For whom is it a trap? I don't understand why this would be such an infuriating question, except perhaps, to my self-proclaimed atheist sister, who cannot stand to hear the name of Jesus.

People who profess to be Christians, such as those writing on Christian boards, should delight in saying that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. Why would a Christian say anything else? And why would a non-Christian write on a Christian board?

I'm not trying to be demeaning, I just really do not understand why you are so angry.

Adrienne said...

We are created in God's image, given the knowledge of good and evil and our agency. We are all sinners falling short of the glory of God and by the redeeming power of the blood of Jesus Christ. Every person on born on this earth has hope for salvation if they desire. Some people hunger for truth and some don't. Some will choose to follow Christ and some will not. No one person is loved any more or less by Him who made us nor is anyone going to receive judgment before God’s timing. I don’t know what my judgment will be but I have hope.

I certainly would never want a part of the judgment seat, ever; even having that desire would lead down a path of certain death or separation from God. Those religions trying to glorify members with promises of becoming gods of their own worlds, worshiping worldly idols or changing the Scriptural God given commandments are like Satan himself looking for self-glory. They do not serve the Master who Glorified the Father. In doing those things they are serving the evil. Only true repentance through Jesus Christ can return any of us to His presence.

It seems to me that the Scriptures are very clear about the only way to Salvation being through Jesus Christ. Salvation to my understanding is not being eternally separated from our Heavenly Father.

Those that skirt the issue or feel offended by such may have a variety of reasoning’s. We are also commanded to be hot or cold, not warm.

EC, we are commanded to judge righteously in our lives. That does not mean that I believe the fallacy that I can judge you or any person the Creator put on this earth but I must obey the commandment to make righteous decisions in living my life and making choices. I must also make sure that I am a truthful witness. If a lie is being told and I have opportunity to share the truth that I know and don’t, I become a liar as well hiding the truth thus losing things hoped for!

QUESTION: What purpose does it serve to enter the discussion site of a religion that you don’t share beliefs? In addition, why would the host posters stating their beliefs offend the guest, present by choice?

Originally, I went to centerplace to discuss topics that affected the Restoration Branches. The moderators of that site are much more tolerant than those crying that we have no tolerance. Any other would have booted the offending guests and not their own members when defending the faith. If I attend another church not of my faith I don’t try to correct their teachings as I am their guest and have attended the event of my own free will fully knowing that what I may hear will offend me. My choice is to not attend or to be respectful and keep my objections to myself.

I don't share scripture to burn the eyes of the reader. Why do you think those scriptures are given to us if not to know how to live our lives the best way possible so that we will not be separated from our Creator, Our Heavenly Father! Joy, hope and the way of salvation through Jesus Christ are found in those scriptures.

Repenting from our sins is rarely ever an easy process. Sometimes it takes a tragedy, or even a lifetime to finally humble ourselves to the fact that it isn't all about us and our wants. I spend much time on my knees repenting and praying that His Truth will fill my heart, mind and soul when reading the scriptures. No, I don’t think the scriptures are mere pieces of paper that we humans must rewrite in our lives. We are to know God so well that He and all of His characteristics are reflected in our lives.

I do not hate you, April, or the homosexual or the women in the priesthood. I hate what the temptation of Satan has done to those individuals that suffer in their sin and have been separated from truth and from God, even those that have truth within their reach. I love you enough to tell you the truth. I am happy and full of joy because I know that the scriptures are being fulfilled and I have not believed a lie all these many long years. I truly would like to call you a brother in Christ but as long as you claim that sin is not sin how could I? Not that I am anywhere near perfect, none of us are at this time.

Equally Coy said...

I am not angry in the least. I was just trying to offer a bit of reflective substance for Seeker.
I was merely suggesting how her approach could be mollified on the boards that she get's dumped from in order to remain active.
And I can understand the person over on centerplace (don't remember who or how many suggested the question was a trap) suggesting that the question can be a trap.
Certainly in the context of that board, that question was presented as a trap.
If I was asked that question in the context of a normal conversation with someone I would not view it as a trap. But when the question is asked in a tone and context of haughty indignation and coupled with "a 'yes', 'no' or 'don't know' answer is required" it is definitely a trap.
The respondent cannot possibly vindicate him or herself.

To this question:"And why would a non-Christian write on a Christian board?" there seems to be an underlying assumption(s)that:
a. the person or people who were reluctant to answer that question over on CP are not Christians [I think that is a bold and unfounded assumption based on what they have written prior and subsequently]
b. a non-Christian has no interest in Christianity [again a poor assumption]
c. that only a non-Christian would have difficulty with that question (especially as presented at CP)

I think many people have interests in matters that they may not be directly invested or involved.
Christianity comes in many different flavors. Kind of like ice cream. All ice cream, but many flavors.
As I mentioned, in my denomination most would answer that question, even in a non-trap environment, with "yes, but..." This is to say that a simple yes leaves a lot of room for a person hearing the answer to fill in a lot of space with things that the respondent may not believe at all.

Oh, I'm not angry at all. It's a shame that you could not catch the humor in my first comment, actually.

Equally Coy said...

I will pray for you.

Patricia Ragan said...


Yes, there are different levels of Christianity. There are babes who are only able to handle milk, and then, if they grow, they are able to handle meat. When I was a baby Christian, the writings of Paul were a mystery and I tended to think they were too severe. But as I grew in my Christianity, by reading the scriptures, fasting, and praying, I began to understand and appreciate Paul. Now his letters are a source of beauty, comfort, marvel, and extreme love. So, yes there are levels of Christianity.

There are also different forms of "Christianity" wherein members of a "Christian" sect may deny the deity of Christ, or think he was married, or believe He had some "Christ consciousness" thrust upon him at a certain age. These are those whose premise is not founded on scripture, but on conjecture, imagination, and gnosticism. (I knew a person who thought Jesus was one of many gods.)

I don't think that these religions that deny that Christ is deity, or deny that he is the savior are really Christian because the scriptures, our source of knowledge about Christ, declare that He is the Savior. Personally, when I think of the price he paid for my sin, I feel so indebted to Him, that to ever deny he is the only path to salvation would be a betrayal.


Equally Coy said...

I understand your points quite well and respect them highly.

It is important to point out, however, that there are people who love God with no less passion or conviction, and who understand things in a different way than you.
The understandings of the nature of scripture, for example, cover a very broad spectrum; and the specific understanding that one has about the nature of scripture becomes the hinge around which everything else swings.
One's belief or understanding literally shapes the "truth" for that individual.
This is not to say that there is not an "absolute" truth out there somewhere, but for any one person to claim that they know the absolute truth, is not only a tremendously arrogant thing to claim, but it is simply not correct. I believe with all my heart that the scriptures and the Holy Spirit lead us to the truth....that belief implies that it is a process that is always happening. Another way of saying it, is that the scriptures are not the destination, they are instead, the roadmap.

Our beliefs and understandings lay out assumptions, precept by precept, upon which builds our overall theology.
If the purpose of our overall theology (on an individual by individual basis) is to shape our lives so that we live with love, compassion, mercy, kindness, justice and humitlity and proclaim that it is God who is the source and sustainer of that life, then why do we need to insist on a monolithic theology to which every Christian must ascribe?

I am much more troubled by people who use their Christianity, in the name of "truth", to throw stones of anger and condemnation at fellow Christians because of doctrinal differences.

This is a cancer in our society and in the body of Christ alike.
The internet, today, has become the 21st century equivalent of the crusades of the 12th and 13th centuries. I am quite confident God weeps today, as God weeped then, to see people using the scriptures, and using God's name, to justify their actions of hatred and violence.

I would like to think we learned something, but it appears that many are slow learners, even while being quite confident that they know it all. I pray that the Great Teacher will touch each of us with wisdom and insight so that we may learn.