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Is There Only One Plan of Salvation?

saved or lost

To hear many Evangelical preachers tell it, salvation is a transaction between God and humankind. Humankind is wicked, vile, and sinful, unable to do good and headed for eternity in the Lake of Fire. God, in his infinite wisdom, made a way for us to have our sins forgiven. Once we avail ourselves to this super-duper sin-erasing way, we have a ticket to Heaven that cannot be canceled. The moment we pray to Jesus and ask him to forgive us of our sins and come into our lives, one of Heaven’s angels puts a door hanger on a room in the Father’s House that says RESERVED.

Countless American Christians have prayed the sinner’s prayer and are certain that when they die, they will wake up in Heaven. They have successfully pulled the handle on God’s Salvation Dispensing Machine® and down the chute came a Fire Insurance policy that guarantees payment upon death. It is the only insurance that pays off to you AFTER you die.

Eternal security, also known as once-saved-always-saved, is a central tenet of many an Evangelical preacher’s soteriology. Once in the family, you can never leave the family. God’s family is like the mob, once you are in, you are in for life. What better thing to offer sinners than a guaranteed home in Heaven that costs them nothing more than a few heartfelt words?

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. In Your Name. Amen

The Bible says in Romans 10:9,10,13:

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Arminians — those who believe you can lose your salvation — object to the doctrine of eternal security. According to their theology, Christians can and do lose their salvation. Good works are necessary to maintain one’s salvation.  Calvinists also object to the doctrine of eternal security. They emphatically believe that a person must persevere, hold on until death. And if they don’t, this is proof that they were never really Christians.

Based on what I have written above, this means that someone such as myself, a reprobate, a denier of God and his offer of salvation, a man who once was saved, who once followed Jesus is either:

  • Still saved because once I was saved, I can never lose that salvation
  • Unsaved because I lost the salvation I once had
  • Never was saved

Over the years I have had numerous Christians tell me that one of these three statements is an accurate description of my present state. All of them are quite certain that they are 100% right about my standing with God and where I will end up when I die.

Every Christian sect would agree that salvation and eternal destiny are THE most important issues every person must decide. Amos 4:12 says, PREPARE to meet thy God. Surely then, God has made the whole salvation thing crystal clear, right? Nope.

Take the aforementioned verses in Romans 10:9,10, 13. It seems clear that belief = salvation = eternity in Heaven.  John 10:28 says:

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

and 1 John 5:13 says:

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

and Hebrews 8:38, 39 says:

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

These are the verses on which the once-saved-always-saved believers hang their hats. Of course, Arminians and Calvinists both have arguments and rebuttals to the once-saved-always-saved interpretations. I once heard an Arminian preacher explain John 10:28 this way:

No man can pluck you out of God’s hand but you can jump out by yourself.

The point I am trying to make is that the whole notion of Christian salvation is hopelessly convoluted, complex, and contradictory. Right now, Evangelical preachers reading this post are:

jumping man

They are certain that THEIR soteriology, THEIR plan of salvation, is the right one. As I have stated numerous times, the Bible teaches multiple plans of salvation, with each plan contradicted by other Bible verses. Let me illustrate this. We already know what the once–saved-always-saved preacher says. Are there verses that contradict his salvation plan?

Hebrews 3:12-14 says:

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end;

This passage seems to be quite clear. A brother (brethren) can have an evil heart of unbelief and walk away from God. He will only have salvation and eternal life if he is steadfast to the end.

Can a person, for a time, fall away, and then come back to Jesus? Is it possible for someone such as I to repent of my sin, renounce my atheism, and return to following Jesus? Countless Evangelical preachers would say, YES! It’s never too late. As long as you are a living, breathing soul, you can be saved.

But wait a minute!

billy mays

Doesn’t Romans 1 and 2 talk about people who can’t be saved, people who have been given by God over to a reprobate mind? Isn’t it too late for them? And what about the Jews? John 12:37-40 says:

But though he (Jesus) had done so many miracles before them (the Jews), yet they believed not on him: That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

God blinded the eyes and hardened the hearts of the Jews so they would not understand and be converted. In other words, these Jews couldn’t be saved. Does this no-salvation-for-you only apply to Jews alive during the days Jesus walked the streets of Galilee and Jerusalem? Evangelicals argue endlessly over the Jews and whether they can be saved or even need to be saved.

Now, if I can, let me land this plane. Consider a few passages from the book of Hebrews.

Hebrews 6:4-6 says:

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

As a Christian, I was once enlightened and I tasted of the heavenly gift. I was made a partaker of the Holy Ghost, tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come. I am now an atheist and I have repudiated all that I once said I believed. According to Hebrews 6:4-6, it is IMPOSSIBLE for me to ever be saved again. Why? Because I make a mockery of Jesus’s atoning work on the cross.

The writer of Hebrews reiterates this in Hebrews 10:29-31:

Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Granted, theologians and preachers of every persuasion have explanations for the multiple, contradictory plans of salvation. Many will dismiss the Hebrews quotes with a wave of the hand, saying, these verses apply to the Jews not us. Others will open their sect’s systematic theology book, turn to the section on soteriology (the doctrine of salvation) and “prove” that any salvation scheme but theirs is wrong and will likely lead to eternal damnation and hellfire.

Here’s my point. If Christian theologians and preachers can’t agree on something as basic as salvation, what hope is there for those not trained in theology? How can people, without the preacher telling them, read the Bible and find out for themselves the way to Heaven?

From cover to cover, the Bible is a convoluted, contradictory mess. Try as theologians and preachers might to “harmonize” the Bible to fit their respective theological systems, they remain unable to simply answer the question, what must I do to be saved? (Acts 16 and Mark 16) Even with the passage that asks the question what must I do to be saved, Christian preachers argue amongst themselves over whether salvation requires baptism.

All of what I have detailed here is evidence that the Bible is very much a human-made book. Surely, if the Bible is inspired, inerrant, and infallible as many Christians sects and preachers believe, one would think that the manner in which someone is saved, how one comes into right standing with God, would be clear. It’s not.

Let me finish this post with Bruce Gerencser’s salvation plan:

Live well, do good works, and die. The only heaven and hell you will experience in this life is what you and your fellow human beings create.

Straight from the mouth of Bruce Almighty, written down on this inspired, inerrant, and infallible page. Thus saith Bruce.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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29 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Byroniac

    But of course, as a Christian, I would have said, you can’t understand the mysteries of God. I even held to a progressive revelation system for believers. God would reveal more to some believers than others, and yet even those who received greater revelation in some things might receive only the basics in others. This too served to teach humility and unity to us as brethren in the Lord, and ultimately, we took (by faith) that it would be worked out exactly according to divine will for God’s utmost glory. So you see, it’s like magic…

  2. Avatar
    Angiep

    This argument is entirely pointless but for the doctrine of hell. What do we need “salvation” from? From our sin. Why? Because if we aren’t “saved” we’ll go to hell. And even the idea of hell is not agreed upon by religious sects; many don’t believe in a literal hell. If Christianity were so compelling, I don’t think there would be a need for a hell to scare people into believing. Instilling fear in people shuts down all rational thought or debate.

  3. Avatar
    Jada

    Call me shallow, but I was way too amused at the jumping, stomping preacher. It’s just so . . . appropriate.

  4. Avatar
    dale m

    Now 4 a really twisted thought that should tell ALL Christian sects that however they R saved ….. they R not SAFE in heaven, at all. If Lucifer, the most beautiful of ALL angels, could turn, then once saved …. is a falsehood. U can still fall from grace even while in heaven. To put it in human terms …. Lucifer, 2nd to the throne simply “fell out of political favour.” Shades of North Korea, the CCP, the old Soviet Politburo or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republicans.

    • Avatar
      Astreja

      I can’t conceive of safety in heaven either. In the context of eternity, when you’re dealing with a deity that punishes thought crimes it’s only a matter of time before everyone runs afoul of the boss.

  5. Avatar
    BJW

    It’s exhausting. I was a member of more than one church/denomination over the course of a couple decades when younger. The more dedicated a church was to the Bible, the more they had to explain away contradictions. And of course, no 2 denominations perfectly agree.

  6. Avatar
    Brian Vanderlip

    Using my noggin, challenged as I admit it to be, I find more certain glory and promise in an August dawn breaking over the hills in B.C. It is wonder and mystery and so so unlike the nonsense proffered in the black book.
    My sunrise, this one sunrise is the one true path given freely for you and me. A small donation (or a newer model car) is something you might want to consider sending my way, depending on what is laid on your heart.

  7. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    In reading this post, I finally understood why people conflate capitalism and evangelical Christianity. The key word is “transactional.” As I understand it, whether you believe “once saved, always saved” or “salvation can be lost,” receiving salvation is half of a transaction. The other half is “accepting the Lord” or doing whatever it is God/The Holy Spirit wants you to do.

    Interestingly, the bigotry of many people who entwine evangelical Christianity with capitalism also, for the first time, made sense to me. What Romans and John say about Jews is what Evangelcapitalists say about “welfare queens,” LGBT people, racial and ethnic minorities, or any other group who makes them uncomfortable.

    Thank you, Bruce!

  8. Avatar
    thatotherjean

    Of all the explanations of salvation offered here, the only one that makes sense to me are the words of Bruce Almighty: “Live well, do good works, and die.” What happens after that is way beyond my pay grade.

  9. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    For me, it would take the pressure and risks off, if the Boble was finally, totally 100% debunked. And there was no chance to be wrong about the absence of a literal hell, or the hidden facts, possibly ugly ones, of heaven.

    • Avatar
      BJW

      Well, archaeology pretty much debunks most of the Bible. There is no evidence of a worldwide flood. No real evidence of a mass exodus of millions from Egypt. In fact, most of what is written in the Bible before the Babylonian captivity are myths, many of them which can be traced to other cultures and mythologies.

      I was just reading about the origin of the universe, including the Big Bang and cosmic inflation. There is much more evidence, REAL evidence, of this origin than there is most of the Bible. (The evidence is cosmic background radiation and is actual science evidence.)

      There is no evidence of heaven or hell. Personally, I was 10 years old when I came to the conclusion that if there was a God of love, there was no hell. (There are denominations who do not espouse hell and believe in either an eternal death, or universalism and everyone is saved for an afterlife.) If there was a god who has a burning hell, it isn’t worth worshiping. I prefer to believe that any possible deity is either indifferent to our affairs, or saves everyone. But there is zero proof of either.

      • Avatar
        Infidel753

        Indeed, there’s nothing in archaeology or Egyptian historical records to support the Exodus story. No evidence of a Hebrew conquest of Canaan. No archaeological trace of the supposed empire of David and Solomon. All over the world there are clear examples of geological processes which have been running for millions of years and show no sign of the massive disruption a global flood would have caused. Nazareth almost certainly didn’t exist until the second century CE. Nothing in contemporary records mentions Jesus or any of the amazing stuff that supposedly happened in his lifetime in Jerusalem (the commonly-cited Flavius Josephus quote was pretty clearly added by Christian editors centuries later). All this stuff is no different from Greek or Norse mythology. the difference is that nobody in modern times ever confused the stories of Zeus and Apollo with actual history. And certainly nobody today takes the possibility of going to Hades or Valhalla seriously.

  10. Avatar
    Steve Ruis

    It is just too easy, as you point out, to shoot holes in the whole salvation con. I was initially perplexed regarding the promise of life everlasting. That’s an easy one: we all have immortal souls and so we all live forever. Everlasting life has never been an issue anywhere in scripture. It is a given. The only thing that is in question are your everlasting living conditions. So, the “promise” of everlasting life sounds like a good thing but turns out to be a hollow propaganda/marketing claim.

    I should think that a “god of love” could have come up with a better system than Heaven and Hell. How about this: if you go to Heaven, you get a room in that humongous heavenly mansion (or a subdivision, whatever), But if you fail to pass the test, you end up as a servant in the mansion. You live “downstairs” rather than “upstairs”, sleep on thin cots, wear hand-me-down clothes and work seven days a week. You serve this sentence until you have a heartfelt transformation into a better person, then you get to live upstairs with the others.

    In that system, the punishment fits the crime and redemption is always just around the corner. That is the kind of system a god of love would come up with.

    Why Jesus ever created the Lake of Fire is beyond me. Maybe he took drugs in his youth and had a bad trip.

  11. Avatar
    Yulya Sevelova

    Oh, leave it to the Medieval Europeans, later Puritans/Pilgrims/Americans, to turn something so high-stakes into a transaction ! One of the worst traits-commodifying everything. Out here in the Land of Broken Dreams, we had rent commodified by 1980, resulting in the homeless crisis we suffer today. Good question-how can they,these Bible experts, not agree on simple basics ?? Which leaves one in a state of high anxiety over ” did I do it right? Did I forget a step,risking my salvation .” These clowns, like the preacher GIF hopping up and down, no wonder people got fed up and are leaving in droves, becoming “nones “. It’s so exasperating, AND exhausting. I don’t regret dumping church- no one gave a damn anyway, so I quit. Whoever can 100% debunk and disprove the Bible for real–they will earn the Nobel Prize ! That’s what I’m waiting on. Absolute proof. Sweet relief !

  12. Avatar
    Yulya. Sevelova

    I wondered about that too, Steve. Who not just annihilate them all. Cruelty, straight up. Middle -Eastern ethics, of which great cruelty plays a huge part. I venture that IF there is a real Lucifer, he got his cruelty from the Bible god. After all, this is the King of the Universe we are talking about. The buck stops with him. And don’t forget skollex.

    • Avatar
      BJW

      Funnily enough, the actual number of people Lucifer supposedly killed in the Bible, is exponentially dwarfed by the number God killed. And Lucifer encouraged scientific inquiry with Eve! Yes, I’m joking but seriously, Lucifer gets an undeserved bad rap.

    • Avatar
      Karen the rock whisperer

      I think you need to get out more and read more authors. Try Chris Germer and Kristin Neff for starters. Happiness–true happiness–is a cultivatable state of mind, and scientists (the above authors are in the psychology field) are figuring out ways of learning how to cultivate it.

      Many religious traditions (including Evangelical Christianity) would undoubtedly argue that a scientific approach is ridiculous, because humans are fallen and sinful and don’t deserve to lift themselves up and create happiness for themselves and those around them. Heck, if we ll did that, who’d be willing to roll out of bed on Sunday morning to hear how depraved we are and how in need of redemption? So it is to religion’s benefit to tell us that if we don’t think about the absurdities of the theology and just keep praying for forgiveness (for being human, as far as I can tell) that somehow we’ll be better off when we die. Not sure of the specific tag lines of other religions, but they all have the same effect (except for maybe some flavors of Buddhism). Don’t think and keep tithing.

      • Avatar
        Southern Lady

        Thanks for your sincere advice. Those authors look pretty good.

        What I was trying to express with my comment is that, I’ve gone thru my thinking, analyzing phase, and I’m now in my happy phase. Seeing Bruce’s long post about salvation reminded me of how I don’t worry about all that anymore. Maybe I’m in the Trust and Obey stage, lol. Or the Let Go and Let God stage. Where all the worrying about what it all means, exactly, or how it doesn’t make sense, etc. is a huge weight off my shoulders. I simply don’t have the brain power required to figure it all out. Or the interest in discussing it all. And I’m happy with that. But it took awhile to get to this happy stage.

        Although I’d like to believe it so, I have extreme doubts that there’s a good God up there caring about us. I sure hope it all works out well in the end, but, who knows? I guess I’m a happy agnostic who still has a little faith or at least wants to.

        I heard Catholics and the Amish don’t encourage Bible study. Quite wise of them, I think.

        My natural bent is to analyze. And I know there are happy analyzers, happy atheists, happy agnostics.

        I think I understand Bruce’s purpose in long posts re salvation, but they remind me of an IFB pastor’s approach. I think a lot of IFB pastors love to argue about stuff.

        There’s a man I know who’s extremely intelligent. An engineer. He doesn’t go to church but does believe in God and calls the Bible, “the good book.” And leaves it at that.

        I guess this approach could be called willful ignorance. I’m not ignorant of the Bible though. But I’ve lost my desire to figure it out. I think someone commented that you can’t mix the different books together into one. That makes sense to me.

        People can be happy with beliefs, without beliefs. People can be happy if they simply don’t know what is or isn’t true. I’m in the latter group now. With an open mind. Thank God.

        • Avatar
          Karen the rock whisperer

          Actually, I’d like everyone to be happy, even certain political characters who are or have been in positions of power and use(d) those positions to hurt the people they’re supposed to be representing or leading. I simply want(ed) them out of power, and of course I don’t wish anyone happiness if they can only achieve it by hurting others.

          Southern Lady, based on some comments on previous posts, I assumed you were coming from a “happy Christians don’t think, they just do what their preacher tells them” school of not thinking. I apologize. (Also, I might have been remembering wrong. Damn untrustworthy memory.)

          I have been transformed over the past several months using mindful self-compassion, which Germer, Neff, and loads of others teach. Being kind to myself (breaking a lifelong pattern of beating myself up for not being perfect) has made it possible for me to engage with the people around me more honestly and with fewer biases and unjustified assumptions. It also allows me to put my mistakes into perspective, truly try to fix the ones that hurt others, and see the remainder as learning experiences. The techniques work for anyone except those who are too invested in a concept that they are garbage and shouldn’t be compassionate toward themselves, and that’s what a lot of flavors of religion teach. Not all, of course.

          I was raised Catholic, and while my mother was definitely saturated with the idea that doubting oneself is a good idea, I attended Catholic elementary and high schools run by amazing, rather radical nuns who built us up, encouraged us to use our failures and mistakes as learning experiences, worry about the people we might hurt more than apologizing to God for those hurts, and work for social justice issues–all in the 1960s and early 1970s. Alas, parents are more influential than teachers, and I learned the self-doubt and self-chastisement practices well. But my point is that there are religious people who don’t buy into the notion that everyone is utter garbage, even if the official theology teaches otherwise.

          But if I understand you correctly now, you’re suggesting that people who spend a lot of time thinking about theology, with the intent of figuring out how to avoid eternal torture, are probably unhappy. I guess I would agree with that idea, because it’s ultimately a study propelled by fear. It is only after you’ve made some peace with your study and become comfortable with your conclusions that you can let the fear go and shift to a happy state of mind. Maybe that peace leads away from religion, or maybe it leads to some conclusion that you can be comforted by and remain religious. Everyone is different, we all are the sum of our experiences, and we are all precious human beings, even if being human means we’ll bumble through life making mistakes.

          • Avatar
            Southern Lady

            Yes, I think people within the faith come to various, private conclusions. Their conclusions give them a way to have peace of mind. And plenty of people leave religion and are happy and at peace.

            It’s the people whose temperament makes them very susceptible to whatever some IFB preacher is yelling about-those are the people that I feel for. They take it all very seriously; they worry about their own salvation constantly and the salvation of others. They try to understand it all. They worry about God’s will for their life; they worry about what God’s trying to tell them or if they are pleasing God with how they are living their life. It’s enough to drive you nuts! lol

            So, anyway, rather than do intense Bible study, they’d be better off to enjoy the good parts, the good people and not take all that mess onto their shoulders.

  13. Avatar
    Infidel753

    The Bible is an anthology. It’s no surprise that it’s full of contradictions, especially on a subject as illogical and confusing as the scheme of salvation. It’s like grabbing twenty comic books at random off the shelf and deciding to take every word in all twenty of them as literally true. If you took it seriously you’d tie yourself in knots dealing with cases where they contradicted each other.

    One thing I’ve always been curious about is what they believe about people who lived before the time of Jesus. I don’t mean people like Abraham and Moses, or the Jews generally, who presumably got a special deal. Just some ordinary guy in 500 BC in Europe somewhere, say an ancestor of a modern Baptist preacher. Was he doomed to Hell because he never accepted Jesus (which he couldn’t have, since Jesus hadn’t come yet)? Then he never had a chance, which I’d think even a fundie would have to recognize was unfair. Or could he be “saved” regardless? Then there is indeed some other way to be saved than Jesus.

    • Avatar
      BJW

      My understanding as a former Christian, is that Jesus still died for those who came before. But of course since the Bible makes all kind of contradictory statements, how would you know? And really, why would a god create us with the possibility of choosing badly, and then punishing us for it? Doesn’t seem like a god worthy of worship.

  14. Avatar
    John Arthur

    If God exists (but he probably doesn’t), then I would choose to believe that he/she/it is a God of compassion, kindness and nonviolence (peace). Hence there can be no hell, nor can there be any religious text that I know of that is the Word of any such God. The bible (also the Koran and the Hebrew scriptures) is full of barbarism and savagery and much of it was written by barbaric savages who created god in their own likeness, though some passages promote kindness, compassion and peace.

    There are over 40,000 different Christian denominations that differ in one or more points of Christian , ethics, church organisation and biblical interpretation. It’s a lot of codswollip.

    It isn’t necessary to have holy books, holy temples,nor religious gurus to interpret these holy texts in order to be kind to others and to demonstrate compassion when we can. Although we might often fail (as I do) all we can do is try again. If we focus our minds on compassion, kindness and peace and seek to lift up others around us, we might gain in becoming kinder tomorrow than we were today and yesterday.

    Religions of guilt and fear imprison people in their guilt and fear. So self love (self esteem) is not selfish as fundamentalists often tell us but is important so that we love ourselves enough to enable us to give love and kindness to others that we meet on life’s journey.

    May you all have a wonderful day!

  15. Avatar
    Yulya. Sevelova

    The local Christian station (kkla.com) is promoting a commercial for archaeology that “proves the Bible is true.” Yuck. Too bad these seminars are so expensive. Where’s Matt Dillahunty when you need him !

  16. Avatar
    Danny Plumber

    Hi Bruce. I have followed your Blog for years and really enjoy it. As a Baptist preacher’s kid I grew up believing supposedly the right way to salvation. But as I grew up I was surprised by all the little differences that christians had with each other over salvation, baptism, works vs. grace, views against women in church and the end times. When I was a child, I watched two visiting evangelists that preached at my fathers church get in a huge argument over whether the rapture was pre-trib or post-trib. I swear these two guys were so pissed that they wanted to punch each other! I never forgot that and as I’ve gotten older I just can’t believe the Bible anymore. Its just all too confusing. God really needed an editor, I think. Nowadays when someone tells me that God is real I always assume that they want money or to join their church that preaches the Only True Way.

  17. Avatar
    Brian Vanderlip

    Welcome Danny (from another preacher’s kid)… I hear what your are saying and so agree. The one true way might just be that experience of being honest with ourselves and not applying all kinds of blame and shame…. I wonder whay our parents needed to do that?

  18. Avatar
    ObstacleChick

    It’s interesting to consider the underlying philosophies of different sects of Christianity regarding their view of soteriology. Evangelical Christians, for the most part, believe in an individual single transactional salvation. Pray the prayer, and you are saved. These folks tend to buy into the individualistic philosophies of American politics – personal responsibility, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, rely on your God, guns, and glory. If someone falls on hard times, it’s usually their fault (though if it’s your good buddy who has cancer and can’t work right now, maybe it isn’t entirely his fault and you can bring him a dinner or two to help out).

    Christian sects that believe a universalist salvation tend to be more inclusive and social justice-oriented. Because Jesus saved everyone, period, everyone is deserving of help.

    And those who believe in a salvation by works may help others out in order to get more holes punched in their Access to Heaven card. They will probably still judge you for being a sinner, but they will help you because they want their reward.

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