Archives For Soteriology

 

Do you believe that Jesus is the only way of salvation?

Do you believe it is necessary to profess faith in Christ to be saved?

Based on your answer to those questions, you can decide if you are a pluralist, inclusivist, or exclusivist.

Jesus Christ is the Only Savior

Believes “no one can be saved unless he or she knows the information about Jesus’ person and work contained in the Gospel and unless he or she exercises explicit faith in Jesus Christ (25).”*
Pluralism

No

No

Inclusivism

Yes

No

Exclusivism

Yes

Yes

“A pluralist is a person who thinks humans may be saved through a number of different religious traditions and saviors (p. 23).”

Inclusivists agree with exclusivists and differ from pluralists in affirming that Jesus Christ is the only Savior. No man or woman can possibly be saved apart from the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, inclusivists say, and this is so whether the person is raised under a Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, or Hindu System.

But inclusivists also part company with exclusivists, a point that at first may seem confusing. How can a position that insists on the deity of Jesus Christ and the indispensability of his redemptive work for salvation be a source of concern to theologically conservative Christians . . .

So inclusivists believe that salvation is impossible apart from Jesus and that he is the only Savior. But this does not mean that people have to know about Jesus or actually believe in him to receive that salvation . . . Inclusivists dismiss exclusivists as cold, uncaring people who are unwilling to explore other ways to expand the scope of God’s love (p. 23).”

Christian exclusivism can be defined as the belief that (1) Jesus Christ is the only Savior, and (2) explicit faith in Jesus Christ is necessary for salvation (p. 11).”

* Nash, Ronald H. Is Jesus the Only Savior? Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994.

Mike Wittmer interacts with Peter Enns’ book which attempts to integrate evolution and Paul’s belief in an historical Adam:

I just read Peter Enns’ disturbing book, The Evolution of Adam, which attempts to integrate evolution with Paul’s belief in a historical Adam. If this book is the evangelical path to the future, our children are in a heap of trouble.

Enns says that Paul clearly believed that Adam was the historical first man whose disobedience brought sin and death into the world. However, evolution has proven that Paul was wrong about this, so we must find a way to honor the spirit of what Paul was up to even while disagreeing with his facts. . .

Read the rest here.

In 1 Timothy 1:12-17 Paul reminds Timothy (and the church at Ephesus through Timothy) that salvation is strictly a work of God. Paul illustrates his point by referencing his own salvation. And a wonderful story it is! The conversion of the Apostle Paul is one of the greatest grace stories in history.

But God continues to build his church and write even more grace stories. You will be wonderfully blessed if you watch Mez Mconnell’s testimony below. (For more information, see here).

Mez McConnell’s Testimony from 20 Schemes on Vimeo.

Steve Dewitt on Propitiation

Chris —  January 24, 2013

Steve Dewitt, author of the Challies recommended, Eyes Wide Open, with some excellent thoughts on propitiation. He concludes:

Did you catch it? God propitiates his own wrath. Know anybody else like that? Will China pay off the US debt? Will any of the victims of Bernie Madoff personally pay his financial debts? When does the offended personally provide the means to take away his own offense? Only God. This is why he is love. Not that his love contradicts his wrath; his love provides the means to satisfy his own wrath and Jesus was that propitiation for our sins.

Read the whole thing here.

In this post, Mike Wittmer mentions that he has a new book coming out on faith and doubt. I’m looking forward to it! In the mean time, here is a brief devotion well worth reading:

Shin Dong-hyuk was born into a North Korean prison camp, where he lived until he was twenty-three. Shin never thought to escape, for he didn’t imagine that life was any different on the other side of the electrified fence. Then he met a new prisoner who had lived in Pyongyang and traveled to China. Park told Shin about the outside world, especially that people enjoyed pork and boiled chicken rather than the rats and insects Shin ate to survive. So one evening Shin and Park dropped the firewood they were collecting and ran toward the fence. . .

Read the rest here.

There is much to be encouraged by and learn from Derek Thomas’ story of how he came to Christ 40 years ago.

It was forty years ago today (December 28, 1971) that I became a Christian. My conversion was Saul-like: sudden, unexpected, and decisive. I was eighteen, a freshman at university studying physics and math at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.
            I was not raised in a religious home. My memory holds only fleeting acquaintance with the church – a “Christening” in my early teens with just my mother, an Anglican vicar and myself present; the ritual of “confirmation classes” and the visit of the bishop followed by rebellion and atheism. By eighteen, I was, like most of my peers, a firm believer in science. The universe was the product of a Big-Bang and everything that exists – Mozart, The Beatles, Rembrandt, Salvador Dali, you name them – came from this primal event. Everything comes from nothing.
            Enter John Stott. In mid-December, 1971, a book arrived in the mail from my best friend. “Read it,” an enclosed card insisted. The book was Basic Christianity. Truth is, I had never read a Christian book in my life, not unless J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings counts as one (a book I had read several times). Nor had I read the Bible. In fact, I did not posses a copy.

Read the rest here.

On an online news article tells how Norway’s Kasper Ilaug responded to a call saying that nearby young people were in grave danger.  Christian brothers and sisters, we have also received a desperate phone call. Will we respond like Kasper Ilaug?

Kasper Ilaug had been sitting in his cabin on Norway’s Storoya Island when a friend contacted him to say that something terrible had happened following the bomb blast in Oslo and that he must use a nearby boat to help rescue people from Utoeya.

‘I thought he was joking with me,’ he said.

But determined to do what he could, he grabbed his iPad, mobile and put on a bright yellow jacket with a red helmet and ran down to and 18ft fishing boat before heading off in the direction of Utoeya island, north west of Oslo.

Within minutes he had reached the shore and spotted a number of children hiding behind the rocks and crouching behind trees.

‘We saw some youngsters laying there and waving to us. They were terrified,’ he said. Most of them, dressed in nothing but bathing suits, were shivering from the cold and quickly clambered into the boat.

‘I then got this text message from one of my friends that said there’s a lunatic out there shooting people,’ he told CNN news.

Making three trips in total, at one point he spotted a group of youngsters behind some rocks.

‘I tried to wave to them and to get their attention, but I didn’t get a reponse. I thought maybe they are still in shock or laying behind that rock for shelter.’

Rescue workers set up camp across a lake and opposite the small island of Utoeya

At least 84 people have been killed in the devastating attack on Utoeya island

However he soon realised they had been killed by the suspected gunman Anders Breivik, 32, who had been on a rampage, calling over his victims before opening fire on them.

Breivik killed 84 people at the summer political youth camp which was organised by the country’s leading Labour Party.

Victims described how they could hear his boots crunching on the ground as he sought out his victims and wearing what appeared to be a police uniform.

Mr Ilaug said several of the people he rescued told him that a policeman has opened fire on them.

‘I think I made three trips, they were so grateful. One girl started crying.

‘We’re just 4.7 million people. Nothing much happens here. Even in catastrophic situation like this, we keep calm.

‘I’m just an ordinary Norwegian people. I expect that other Norwegians would do the same thing for me in a similar situation.’

Of course, we have not received a phone call.  Rather God has spoken to us in His Word.  The situation of lost people is as desperate at that of those on the island in Norway. All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. The wages of sin is death. And not everyone who thinks he or she is going to Heaven is.

The Good News has been entrusted to us.  We have a mission.

Sure the guy has a gun.  Yet, as Luther contended, the mission is worth the risk!  Don’t get sidetracked with petty issues. Let’s get in our boats and go.

Heidelberg Question #56.  What do you believe concerning “the forgiveness of sins”?

I believe that God,

because of Christ’s atonement,

will never hold against me

any of my sins

nor my sinful nature

which I need to struggle against all my life.

Rather, in his grace

God grants me the righteousness of Christ

to free me forever from judgment.

Cornelius Plantinga:

Moses emerges with God’s Ten Commandments, a set of requirements that people have to fulfill not in order to get rescued by God from slavery, but because they have been rescued.

Stated succinctly, the imperative of the Christian life (be godly) follows the indicative (we have been freed from sin).

Mark Driscoll on the “Great Exchange”:

HT: Z