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    Athos's Avatar
    Athos Posts: 534, Reputation: 55
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    #1

    Jun 30, 2020, 04:22 PM
    The Nature of Salvation
    Anyone who seeks God, whether they've heard the gospel of Jesus or not, is "pleasant" in God's sight. ANYONE. Salvation is by grace, to anyone who wants it, whether they fully know what they're doing or not.



    Would that include people of non-Christian beliefs?

    Would primitive man who worshiped a mountain be considered to be seeking God?


    (I've moved the above question from Christianity since I believe it applies to religion in general, and I hope to avoid sectarian arguments such as "My God is the only true God" since such arguments are well-known.)
    paraclete's Avatar
    paraclete Posts: 2,706, Reputation: 173
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    #2

    Jul 15, 2020, 11:31 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Athos View Post
    Anyone who seeks God, whether they've heard the gospel of Jesus or not, is "pleasant" in God's sight. ANYONE. Salvation is by grace, to anyone who wants it, whether they fully know what they're doing or not.



    Would that include people of non-Christian beliefs?

    Would primitive man who worshiped a mountain be considered to be seeking God?


    (I've moved the above question from Christianity since I believe it applies to religion in general, and I hope to avoid sectarian arguments such as "My God is the only true God" since such arguments are well-known.)
    You say the argument " my God is the only true God" are well know, but all you are stating is a matter of opinion, just as such a statement is a matter of opinion unless backed up. In the case of christianity and judaism such statments are backed up by scripture, but in a religion such as hinduism, which has many gods? such an argument cannot be well known, so scripture says salvation comes only by Jesus, and buddhism acknowledges no god therefore the argument cannot be said to be well known. nor can it be said to be well known in a secular society such as China. If half of humanity don't know then the statement can only be said to be known among those who acknowledge it
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    #3

    Jul 20, 2020, 05:03 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by paraclete View Post
    You say the argument " my God is the only true God" are well know, but all you are stating is a matter of opinion, just as such a statement is a matter of opinion unless backed up. In the case of christianity and judaism such statments are backed up by scripture, but in a religion such as hinduism, which has many gods? such an argument cannot be well known, so scripture says salvation comes only by Jesus, and buddhism acknowledges no god therefore the argument cannot be said to be well known. nor can it be said to be well known in a secular society such as China. If half of humanity don't know then the statement can only be said to be known among those who acknowledge it

    Whew! I had to read that twice to get it. If your objection is that the phrase "My God is the only true God" is NOT well-known, then that's ok with me. What I was trying to avoid was individuals declaring that their belief is the only correct belief in lieu of a discussion about the statement in bold.

    What I was hoping to understand was whether the statement in bold would apply to the two statements I made below it. To help, you might want to go back to Christianity to see how the discussion began.

    In any case, thank you for your reply.
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    #4

    Jul 20, 2020, 06:25 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Athos View Post
    Anyone who seeks God, whether they've heard the gospel of Jesus or not, is "pleasant" in God's sight. ANYONE. Salvation is by grace, to anyone who wants it, whether they fully know what they're doing or not.
    If every morning Shachi prays to Ganesha for a successful day that includes her giving love to others, is she "pleasant" in God's eyes?
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    #5

    Jul 20, 2020, 07:24 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Wondergirl View Post
    If every morning Shachi prays to Ganesha for a successful day that includes her giving love to others, is she "pleasant" in God's eyes?
    In my opinion - yes.

    But dwashbur is the author of the statement (I just copied it from him) so I hope he will give his two cents on your question. Based on his answer in the other topic thread in Christianity, I would say yes for him. But I don't want to put words on his keyboard.
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    Wondergirl Posts: 37,927, Reputation: 5430
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    #6

    Sep 12, 2020, 05:13 PM
    This afternoon I got into a lively Facebook messaging discussion with an atheist about God.

    JM: Even you have to admit religion has caused more pain, death, and misery than anything else has. Nothing ever changes. One day god and jesus will be abandoned just like Zeus and Apollo. You don't think the Greeks believed in their gods just as much as you do yours?

    WG: Yes, man has always sought a higher power. Humans want someone bigger than themselves to thank or blame because they can't thank or blame themselves.

    My thoughts reverted to our AMHD discussion about someone being "pleasant" in God's eyes. Was Zeus just a different name for God for the Greeks? Was Jupiter another name for God for the Romans? Is Brahma another name for God? Is the Great Spirit another name for God? Thus, are the believers in those religions "pleasant" in the Christian God's eyes?
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    #7

    Sep 13, 2020, 10:42 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by Wondergirl View Post
    My thoughts reverted to our AMHD discussion about someone being "pleasant" in God's eyes.
    It's the "pleasant in God's eyes" from Dwashbur that I find intriguing. I expect him to comment on the statement re salvation sometime later.
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    dwashbur Posts: 1,186, Reputation: 174
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    #8

    Sep 15, 2020, 08:35 AM
    Hi Athos,
    Thanks for asking. I can answer you best by setting out a sermon I heard once. The basic points, based on Romans chapters 1-3.

    1. Everyone knows something about God. 1:20 says certain things about God can be known from nature, such as God as creator and sustainer.

    2. Some know a bit more about God. Chapter 2 says the Hebrew nation was given God's law, and they were supposed to be a light for YHWH among the other nations. (Didn't exactly work out that way.)

    3. Some know a lot about God. Chapter 3 sets out the culmination of God's revelation of him/herself in Jesus. Those of us who know about that know a good bit about God.

    Conclusion: in every case, people have to act on the knowledge that they have. We have (or are supposed to have) a little God gene inside us called a conscience. When that gene switches on and says "Worshiping that mountain is kind of lame, isn't it? Wouldn't it be better to try and find out who or what put the mountain here and see if I can get in touch with him/her/it? I don't know who or what you are, but you've gotta be bigger than this mountain, so I want to give you my loyalty."

    That person is "pleasing in God's eyes." They may or may not ever get any more information. There are stories, I have a feeling they're apocryphal, of someone doing that, and before long missionaries arrive to tell them about Jesus. Whether that happens or not, if that person is sincere in their desire to know the ultimate creator, they won't be turned away when their time comes to stand before said creator.

    Then it's time to drop the other shoe: those of us who do know about Jesus and the fullness of God's revelation have an even greater obligation to act on what we know, both in sharing it with others, and in living it. And since we have all this light of knowledge, our judgment is going to be a lot stricter than that of the guy who just walked up to the mountain, looked at it and said, "This is just a big rock. How'd it get here?" and begins his quest for truth.

    Not a time to be arrogant about being a Christian. The hammer comes down much harder on us, so humility is called for. We have much for which to answer.

    Major thanks to Lee Hahnlen for that sermon. He preached it in 1979 and I can still quote much of it word for word. It thoroughly revamped my thinking on this topic.
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    #9

    Sep 15, 2020, 12:39 PM
    On Facebook today on an ELCA (progressive Lutheran) group I belong to, I saw this comment:

    >There are many names for God. We call our grandparents "grampa", "poppa", "granny", "nana".....all the same people with different labels. Why people don't get that is mind boggling......and another divisive tool over which wars have happened.<

    And that reminded me of a book I read years ago, about missionaries who came to the American Southwest and found indigenous tribes who worshipped the SUN of God, the sun being the most visible proxy of the divine and the progenitor of all life and matter. The sun was the “soul of the world,” signifying immortality, every morning being resurrected after “dying” or setting the previous day. The missionaries deftly rolled those beliefs into teaching the tribes about the SON of God.
    Athos's Avatar
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    #10

    Sep 15, 2020, 04:33 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by dwashbur View Post
    Hi Athos,
    Thanks for asking. I can answer you best by setting out a sermon I heard once. The basic points, based on Romans chapters 1-3.

    1. Everyone knows something about God. 1:20 says certain things about God can be known from nature, such as God as creator and sustainer.

    2. Some know a bit more about God. Chapter 2 says the Hebrew nation was given God's law, and they were supposed to be a light for YHWH among the other nations. (Didn't exactly work out that way.)

    3. Some know a lot about God. Chapter 3 sets out the culmination of God's revelation of him/herself in Jesus. Those of us who know about that know a good bit about God.

    Conclusion: in every case, people have to act on the knowledge that they have. We have (or are supposed to have) a little God gene inside us called a conscience. When that gene switches on and says "Worshiping that mountain is kind of lame, isn't it? Wouldn't it be better to try and find out who or what put the mountain here and see if I can get in touch with him/her/it? I don't know who or what you are, but you've gotta be bigger than this mountain, so I want to give you my loyalty."

    That person is "pleasing in God's eyes." They may or may not ever get any more information. ...... if that person is sincere in their desire to know the ultimate creator, they won't be turned away when their time comes to stand before said creator.
    Thanks Dwashbur for responding and especially for your conclusion. Here's your original comment.


    Anyone who seeks God, whether they've heard the gospel of Jesus or not, is "pleasant" in God's sight. ANYONE. Salvation is by grace, to anyone who wants it, whether they fully know what they're doing or not.

    I asked: Would that include people of non-Christian beliefs?

    Would primitive man who worshiped a mountain be considered to be seeking God?


    Based on your three points and your conclusion, the answer to my questions is YES!

    I have always believed the gospel Of Jesus is not required for salvation. And that salvation includes all who seek God. Would that members of all religions believed likewise.
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    dwashbur Posts: 1,186, Reputation: 174
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    #11

    Sep 15, 2020, 05:28 PM
    Whoa, let's not overtranslate me. I didn't say the guy who worships the mountain can be considered seeking God. I said the guy who isn't satisfied with the mountain and wants to know if there's something more is the one who's seeking God.

    Just to clarify.
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    #12

    Sep 16, 2020, 06:05 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by dwashbur View Post
    Whoa, let's not overtranslate me. I didn't say the guy who worships the mountain can be considered seeking God. I said the guy who isn't satisfied with the mountain and wants to know if there's something more is the one who's seeking God.

    Just to clarify.
    The guy worshiping the mountain must have had a similar motivation to the later guy re seeking God, (why else worship the mountain in the first place?), so I'll have to disagree on that one. But I won't quibble. It's a small disagreement.

    The much more important issue is concerning non-Christians and their salvation. Not requiring belief in the gospel of Jesus for salvation is critical to the core meaning of Christianity as it relates to other religions seeking God. This issue did not need to be clarified.
    jlisenbe's Avatar
    jlisenbe Posts: 3,357, Reputation: 155
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    #13

    Sep 16, 2020, 07:45 AM
    Not requiring belief in the gospel of Jesus for salvation is critical to the core meaning of Christianity as it relates to other religions seeking God.
    I don't see at all how that can fit into the Bible. There are any number of scriptures which directly contradict that idea. It is interesting that in this discussion, there has been virtually no quoting of scripture. I wonder why?

    Another issue to consider. When Peter went to see Cornelius, who was certainly seeking God in a serious way, he did not say that Cornelius was already in good standing with God and just needed a little more information. He concluded his message by saying, "All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” At all times in the NT people are pointed to Jesus, and not to some assortment of alternatives.

    "I said the guy who isn't satisfied with the mountain and wants to know if there's something more is the one who's seeking God.”
    That seems to be a fair statement. There is still, however, the question of whether or not the act of seeking God is sufficient in and of itself. There is also the problem of Romans 3 where Paul states that no one is seeking for God. The key point is that God is seeking us, and not so much the other way around.
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    #14

    Sep 16, 2020, 10:51 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by jlisenbe View Post
    The key point is that God is seeking us, and not so much the other way around.
    Reminds me of the long-time-ago bumper stickers, "I found God!" Our pastor told us, "No, God found ME."

    In light of that, isn't God's love all encompassing enough to include even those who don't know Him but who show love to others and live an unselfish life?
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    jlisenbe Posts: 3,357, Reputation: 155
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    #15

    Sep 16, 2020, 11:00 AM
    In light of that, isn't God's love all encompassing enough to include even those who don't know Him but who show love to others and live an unselfish life?
    There is God's love, and there is also God's justice. I love the passage in Romans 3 where those two concepts are combined so that God might be the one who justifies (makes righteous and forgiven) and yet also demonstrates Himself as being just (correct in justice).

    25God presented Him as the atoning sacrificei through faith in His blood, in order to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance He had passed over the sins committed beforehand. He did this to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and to justify the one who has faith in Jesus.

    Reminds me of the long-time-ago bumper stickers, "I found God!" Our pastor told us, "No, God found ME."
    Give him my compliments!
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    Wondergirl Posts: 37,927, Reputation: 5430
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    #16

    Sep 16, 2020, 12:06 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by jlisenbe View Post
    There is God's love, and there is also God's justice. I love the passage in Romans 3 where those two concepts are combined so that God might be the one who justifies (makes righteous and forgiven) and yet also demonstrates Himself as being just (correct in justice).
    Then what about all the mentally handicapped and mentally ill people who don't have the wherewithal to understand and believe? Does God find them too?

    Give him my compliments!
    I wish I could. He was an amazing man!
    https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/sa...?pid=162085295
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    jlisenbe Posts: 3,357, Reputation: 155
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    #17

    Sep 16, 2020, 12:29 PM
    Then what about all the mentally handicapped and mentally ill people who don't have the wherewithal to understand and believe? Does God find them too?
    I'm not sure how much "wherewithal" it takes to seize the name of Jesus and believe, but your point is well taken. Still, I am not so much swayed by questions as I am by Scripture. That is what you have failed to bring in.

    The Romans 3 passage I quoted is very powerful and is at the core of Paul's argument in Romans.
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    #18

    Sep 16, 2020, 02:19 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Wondergirl View Post
    In light of that, isn't God's love all encompassing enough to include even those who don't know Him but who show love to others and live an unselfish life?
    Of course it is, WG.

    The majesty of the Creator can never be contained in a series of books no matter how instructive and faithful they are. Placing the Bible ahead of God treads dangerously on violating the First Commandment.

    When you speak the simple truth about God, which you have done above, no book in the world is able to second guess you. To be challenged to defend your position by “quoting Scripture” is a fool's errand.

    This is not to say the Bible is not a good book. I would never say that. It is invaluable in learning about Christianity and the man of the Gospels Jesus Christ.

    Having a conscience, the "little God gene" in Dwashbur's phrase, is the beginning of a true understanding of God.

    Like Jesus said to Mary, "You have chosen the better part".
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    jlisenbe Posts: 3,357, Reputation: 155
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    #19

    Sep 16, 2020, 02:41 PM
    When you speak the simple truth about God, which you have done above, no book in the world is able to second guess you. To be challenged to defend your position by “quoting Scripture” is a fool's errand.
    A simple example of a person elevating their own personal opinion above the Bible. It is equivalent to saying that the Bible is correct insofar as it agrees with me. So a person can say, "Like Jesus said to Mary, 'You have chosen the better part,'" and consider it be accurate because it agrees with his/her preconceived notions. But when the same Jesus said, " if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins," then that cannot be allowed since, after all, it does not agree with what that person has already concluded to be true. So Athos is basically saying that WG is right in her view since she agrees with his view. Stunning.

    This is not to say the Bible is not a good book. I would never say that. It is invaluable in learning about Christianity and the man of the Gospels Jesus Christ.
    This statement cannot be reconciled with the statement above. If it is invaluable in learning about Christianity, then why wouldn't we believe what it says?

    The problem is this. If I claim to be speaking the "simple truth" about God, then I have to ask where this simple truth came from. If it came from somewhere in me, then what authority can I claim to have? People all around the world have various ideas about God which they consider to be the simple truth. Some of them will kill you in defense of that truth. Who's to say they are wrong if all of this is nothing more than a contest of opinions arrived at by what we contend is the voice of our conscience?

    The truth always comes out sooner or later. Here it is, sadly I think, for Athos. "...no book in the world is able to second guess you." There would seem to be no other way to take that than to conclude that he considers his views to be king over the Bible. Perhaps he merely crafted his beliefs inartfully which led to wrong conclusions. I am certainly open to correction in this regard.

    At least it would now seem apparent why some here do not refer to Scripture in their arguments.
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    jlisenbe Posts: 3,357, Reputation: 155
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    #20

    Sep 17, 2020, 07:14 PM
    Placing the Bible ahead of God treads dangerously on violating the First Commandment.
    Thought about this one later today. We cannot place the Bible ahead of God lest we violate the first commandment. Now where do we find said commandment? Isn't it in the Bible? So if we place the Bible ahead of God, we are violating a commandment of the Bible. But wouldn't saying we must not violate the first commandment be elevating that commandment to the level of the Word of God? And isn't that what you are saying we are not to do? And what if my conscience tells me that violating the first commandment is actually OK? Should I then obey my conscience rather than the first commandment lest I elevate the Bible above God? After all, "...no book in the world is able to second guess you."

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