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Salvation is a fundamental part of the Christian faith and this is one of the most debated subjects in Christianity.
Why would a just God condemn "good" people who never had a chance to hear about Christ (e.g. people born before Christ or people who rejected "organized Christianity" because of its shortcomings (e.g. Mahatma Gandhi)?
What do you have to do to receive salvation and eternal life?
Catholics believe that acts are required also.
See faith vs works by Richard M Riss
Dave Ahl (www.BibleStudyMen.com) wrote,
Predestination of your salvation - Calvinism or Reformed Theology, Arminianism, Harmonizing reason and faith.
1) Calvinism or Reformed Theology. This belief system claims that God in His sovereignty determines who becomes saved by grace and that there is no human will involved because the depraved nature of man makes him unfit and unable to choose. As a result a person cannot lose his salvation. Reformed theologians teach that sin so affects human nature that they are unable even to exercise faith in Christ by their own will. While people are said to retain free will, in that they willfully sin, they are unable to not sin because of the corruption of their nature due to original sin. To remedy this, Reformed Christians believe that God predestined some people to be saved. This choice by God to save some is held to be unconditional and not based on any characteristic or action on the part of the person chosen. Scripture supporting this view includes Matthew 11:26, John 6:44, Romans 8:28-30, and 1 Corinthians 1:24-31
2) Arminianism. This theology was begun in the 1590's by Jacobus Arminius. In a 1610 declaration called the Remonstrance, his followers determined that each person has a choice whether to accept or reject Christ. They also said a person could lose his salvation. Scripture that supports this view includes Matthew 23:37 and 2 Peter 3:9.
3) Harmonizing reason and faith. Much earlier in the late 1200's, a group of theologians explained predestination as God knowing everything (sovereignty) and therefore predestining to salvation those whom He knew would choose or accept Christ. So basically this says you have free will and can choose whether to accept or reject Christ (Arminianism) but God knows in advance what you are going to do.
Salvation is a fundamental part of the Christian faith and these are significantly different beliefs of what Scripture means regarding salvation, faith and free will. So which is it: God's choice, your choice, or your choice but God knows what you'll choose? Which is correct? What do you think? I welcome your view.
In 2011, Rob Bell (Creator of the Nooma series of short films on religion), wrote Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.
A lot of evangelical Christians who liked Bell up till then, thought he was a traitor, by publishing "Love Wins".
In it, Bell says he is only raising the possibility that theological rigidity - and thus a faith of exclusion - is a dangerous thing. He believes in Jesus' atonement.
In the preface he says, A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better. It's been clearly communicated to many that this belief is a central truth of the Christian faith and to reject it is, in essence, to reject Jesus. This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus's message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear.
Bell lists some passages on salvation:
In his January 18, 2015 daily meditation, Nature as the first Bible, Fr. Richard Rohr, a Franciscan friar ordained to the priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church in 1970, says,
'"The Christ Mystery" proclaims that there is universal and equal access to God for all who have ever wanted love and union since the primal birth of humanity.'
He makes the distinction between Christ, who has been here since the beginning and Jesus
In his book "The Great Divorce", C.S. Lewis describes people in a grey town who get on a bus which visits a beautiful place where shining figures, men and women whom they have known on Earth, come to meet them, and to urge them to repent and enter Heaven proper. Most go back to the grey town giving various reasons and excuses.
There some parallels to Pilgrim's Progress
Conservative theologians have criticized both Bell and Rohr.
Some relevant Bible passages:
John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
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