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Author Topic:   Salvation by faith and works : intellectually ridiculous?
iano
Member (Idle past 171 days)
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 1 of 172 (304898)
04-18-2006 6:15 AM


My time here has exposed me to people who hold the view that salvation is achieved by something other than just faith in the finished redemptive work of Jesus Christ (salvation by faith alone). These views, although they vary alot all seem to put salvation in our hands to a greater or lesser extent. In essence, our choices determine our destination. Two examples of what I mean. There may be more.

Example 1
One may be judged simply on our performance in relation to two golden rules given by Jesus: love God, love neighbour as self - irrespective of what we have believed about God or Jesus or anything else in the Bible.

Example 2
Salvation may consist of a more complex route: when a person believes, they receive the Holy Spirit as a guide/assisting power as to how a person should obey Gods laws fully. Whilst the person receives guidance/power, they may chose to disobey and the extent of the disobedience/adherance determines their eternal destination.

Logical conclusion from self-influenced salvation
Irrespective of the nature of self-influenced salvation the following seems inescapable. In the end, God will have to draw a line between who has conformed/obeyed/loved him and others or at least tried to, sufficient to enter heaven - and who hasn't. No one would I hope, say that they obey all Gods laws at all times. One may say one tries to do so to the best of their ability but that appears to be leave open the possibility for any level of trying - surely if one fails then one has, per definition, tried as hard as one can at that moment yet failed.
God is in a position to measure everything up and to draw such a line. This raises the spectre of the person who just scrapes into heaven and the person who misses it by a gnats whisker obtaining those positions even though on Gods paper they are nigh on neck in neck.

Intellectually ridiculous?
Given that say: 60 billion people have lived and died thus far, we might suppose that the very last occupant to earn Hell may have looked at a woman with lust in his heart for a total of only 0.1 second more than the person who just scrapes into Heaven - other sin/not obeying/not loving God and neighbour being equal.

Is this not lunacy?

If not, can anyone explain the mechanisms of (partially) self-dependant salvation which excludes this intellectual insult. Assertion is okay so long as it contributes to completing the mechanism.

Faith and Belief please.

This message has been edited by iano, 18-Apr-2006 03:08 AM

This message has been edited by iano, 18-Apr-2006 03:09 AM


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by PaulK, posted 04-18-2006 7:15 AM iano has responded
 Message 8 by PurpleYouko, posted 04-18-2006 9:53 AM iano has responded
 Message 10 by cavediver, posted 04-18-2006 9:57 AM iano has responded
 Message 17 by New Cat's Eye, posted 04-18-2006 11:03 AM iano has responded
 Message 18 by JavaMan, posted 04-18-2006 11:09 AM iano has responded
 Message 44 by Trixie, posted 04-18-2006 4:47 PM iano has responded
 Message 96 by kongstad, posted 04-20-2006 11:49 AM iano has responded
 Message 125 by riVeRraT, posted 04-22-2006 10:46 AM iano has not yet responded
 Message 126 by Thugpreacha, posted 04-22-2006 11:26 AM iano has not yet responded
 Message 128 by ringo, posted 04-22-2006 11:51 AM iano has responded
 Message 132 by DeclinetoState, posted 04-22-2006 1:31 PM iano has responded

  
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Message 2 of 172 (304899)
04-18-2006 6:17 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 15327
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 3 of 172 (304909)
04-18-2006 7:15 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by iano
04-18-2006 6:15 AM


Isn't the problem you point out really a consequence of having an extreme dichotomy between Heaven and Hell ?

And regardless of how salvation operates (short of proposing Universalism) isn't it always going to be the case that some people just scrape into Heaven and some only just miss it ?

In that line doesn't the RC doctrine of Purgatory provide a more satisfactory answer by addressing the real problem ?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by iano, posted 04-18-2006 6:15 AM iano has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by iano, posted 04-18-2006 8:09 AM PaulK has responded

    
iano
Member (Idle past 171 days)
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 4 of 172 (304918)
04-18-2006 8:09 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by PaulK
04-18-2006 7:15 AM


And regardless of how salvation operates (short of proposing Universalism) isn't it always going to be the case that some people just scrape into Heaven and some only just miss it ?

Salvation by faith alone doesn't seem to present that particular problem - if only because there doesn't seem to be any tangible 'by the skin of your teeth in/ out' aspect offered by its tenets. Whilst there is mystery posed by the paradox of salvation: "God pre-ordains/choses whom he choses" vs. "He wants that none should perish/our choice" there is nothing I can think of with which to infer 'nearly'.

In that line doesn't the RC doctrine of Purgatory provide a more satisfactory answer by addressing the real problem ?

Perhaps, but purgatory would mean that RC isn't a salvation by works religion and so falls outside the boundaries of the OP. Works would determine the duration spent in purgatory but presumably one would eventually get into heaven and thus there is no nearly. If my understanding of RC is correct then committing a mortal sin ensures damnation in which case there is no purgatory and no nearly either.

If it is being RC which permits one the...er.. opportunity to enter purgatory then there is no works-based 'nearly' here either. One cannot nearly be a RC.

You might gather that I am not fully clear on the RC mechanism of salvation so I'm struggling here a bit


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by PaulK, posted 04-18-2006 7:15 AM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
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PaulK
Member
Posts: 15327
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 5 of 172 (304924)
04-18-2006 9:06 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by iano
04-18-2006 8:09 AM


How does salvation by faith avoid the problem ? If you don't have quite enough faith, or if it is just a little too misdirected aren't you going to miss out on salvation ?
This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by iano, posted 04-18-2006 8:09 AM iano has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by iano, posted 04-18-2006 9:39 AM PaulK has responded

    
iano
Member (Idle past 171 days)
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 6 of 172 (304930)
04-18-2006 9:39 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by PaulK
04-18-2006 9:06 AM


Intellectual mystery not intellectual insult
How does salvation by faith avoid the problem ? If you don't have quite enough faith, or if it is just a little too misdirected aren't you going to miss out on salvation ?

It avoids it by presenting absolutes as to position and without posing any areas in which that which results in the positional change being comparable to "close-but-no-cigar".

In Adam/In Christ...spiritually dead/alive...entering a personal relationship or no (you either meet someone personally or you don't)... no effort on our behalf (if a person believes it is because God brought them to that point - he supplies ability to believe/have faith) meaning there is nothing for us to nearly do....etc.

Its hard to argue for a nearly w.r.t. to (God supplied) faith alone without an inkling as to what that nearly might consist of. Intellectual mystery as opposed to intellectual insult is all I can offer.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by PaulK, posted 04-18-2006 9:06 AM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
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 Message 9 by PaulK, posted 04-18-2006 9:56 AM iano has responded

  
jar
Member
Posts: 31182
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 7 of 172 (304931)
04-18-2006 9:44 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by iano
04-18-2006 9:39 AM


I find this thread humorous.
How does your god decide who is saved?


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by iano, posted 04-18-2006 9:39 AM iano has responded

Replies to this message:
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PurpleYouko
Member
Posts: 713
From: Columbia Missouri
Joined: 11-11-2004


Message 8 of 172 (304933)
04-18-2006 9:53 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by iano
04-18-2006 6:15 AM


Problems with the faith only approach
Let's assume for the moment that I actually have a bit of faith. :D

How much is "enough"?

Is a tiny little bit enough to get me into heaven? How about 0.01% strength of faith? Kind of wavering on not believing at all?

Another problem too.

What about all the people who have (or claim to have) all the faith in the world yet they still do evil deeds in the name of God?
How about the two sons of a good friend of mine. (true story) One whacked the other around the head with a snow shovel in anger while clearing the snow off my driveway. When I asked him why he did it, he replied "It doesn't matter! I'm a Christian so I'm guaranteed my place in heaven!"
Apparently that's what they teach at his church.

I don't see why someone like this who, has a bunch of faith yet does nasty things, should stand any better chance of going to heaven than an atheist (or a believer in another religion) who spends his entire life selflessly helping others.

Faith alone seems like a really crappy way to go about the decision making process.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by iano, posted 04-18-2006 6:15 AM iano has responded

Replies to this message:
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PaulK
Member
Posts: 15327
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 9 of 172 (304934)
04-18-2006 9:56 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by iano
04-18-2006 9:39 AM


Re: Intellectual mystery not intellectual insult
If faith is "God-supplied" then the crucial issue is who God chooses to supply this faith to and how He decides to do so.

If there are any criteria at all then it is by those criteria that our salvation is decided. And it is, again, the case that some people will narrowly miss meeting those criteria while others will scrape through.

If there are no criteria at all then you have salvation by lottery, but even then you do not escape the problem. Suppose God decided to save one more person. There must be some person who would be saved - and thus they have narrowly missed salvation because God decided to save 1 fewer person - or is it impossible for God to save any more ? Equally there must be some method of generating the identities of who the lucky people are to be - by that token everybody who is saved only narrowly scrapes through and many more people narrowly miss.

Finally if salvation has nothing to do with human belief or human actions what is the point of Christian preaching or attemtps to convert ? Why did Christianity have to start with a few preachers in Judaea and spread through the world by human means ? If people who have heard the preaching are not at an advantage in reaching salvation then what good is it ?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by iano, posted 04-18-2006 9:39 AM iano has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 19 by iano, posted 04-18-2006 11:20 AM PaulK has responded

    
cavediver
Member (Idle past 1874 days)
Posts: 4129
From: UK
Joined: 06-16-2005


Message 10 of 172 (304935)
04-18-2006 9:57 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by iano
04-18-2006 6:15 AM


Hi Iano,

Although salvation by faith in JC removes the arbitrary good-works cut-off, what about the continuum of doctrinal difference? How doctrinally sound do we have to be to ensure our faith is in the correct JC?

I know many who consider the theology of Benny Hinn to be sufficeintly off-base to place him outside of sound and hence safe doctrine (see e.g. Christianity in Crisis).

What about super-exclusive Christian groups: Bretheren, Jesus Army, etc.

7th Day Adventists? Christadelphians? What about Jehovah's Witnesses? Mormons? etc, etc...


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by iano, posted 04-18-2006 6:15 AM iano has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by iano, posted 04-18-2006 10:46 AM cavediver has not yet responded

  
iano
Member (Idle past 171 days)
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 11 of 172 (304941)
04-18-2006 10:14 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by jar
04-18-2006 9:44 AM


The LOL's are sure to follow soon...
Have a read of the OP again Jar. The questions contained within are there for inspection. I put up a conclusion that seemed logical to me as an outworking of self-determined salvation. I may be wrong and there is another view.

Its all yours...


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by jar, posted 04-18-2006 9:44 AM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by jar, posted 04-18-2006 10:32 AM iano has responded

  
iano
Member (Idle past 171 days)
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 12 of 172 (304945)
04-18-2006 10:19 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by PurpleYouko
04-18-2006 9:53 AM


Re: Problems with the faith only approach
Let's assume for the moment that I actually have a bit of faith.

Lets not turn this thread into a faith-alone examination. The OP is fairly clear. Skin-of-your-teeth-salvation-by-works

When I asked him why he did it, he replied "It doesn't matter! I'm a Christian so I'm guaranteed my place in heaven!" Apparently that's what they teach at his church.

If he is a God-made Christian (as opposed to the man-made variety) then he can clatter you all over the head all he likes and not lose his place in the Kingdom. Before he does so however, ask him to read the beginning of Romans 6 and do warn him about the discipline God metes out to those whom he loves. It includes killing them!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by PurpleYouko, posted 04-18-2006 9:53 AM PurpleYouko has responded

Replies to this message:
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jar
Member
Posts: 31182
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 13 of 172 (304948)
04-18-2006 10:32 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by iano
04-18-2006 10:14 AM


Re: The LOL's are sure to follow soon...
Well, I read the OP again as well. But the question remains...

How does your God decide who is saved?

The issue is one of what is judgement based on?

I believe that salvation has been given to all, everyone, believers and non-believers, Satanist and Muslim, Atheist and Agnostic, Buddhist and Taoist. GOD will judge each individual on how they behaved while alive. And GOD will make some judgement.

But the criteria will be on what someone actually does, or even more importantly, what someone does not do. Loving GOD is not a matter of what you believe, it's what you do. This is the message found throughout the Bible, and has been shown here at EvC consistently when those who try to build the case for Faith only by quotemining and others bring in the rest of the material found adjacent to the quotemined section.

My belief and position are out here at EvC for all to see and criticize. And they do.

Now I'd really like for you to outline your position.

How does your god decide who is saved?


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by iano, posted 04-18-2006 10:14 AM iano has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by iano, posted 04-18-2006 10:53 AM jar has responded
 Message 121 by tsig, posted 04-22-2006 4:50 AM jar has responded
 Message 127 by Thugpreacha, posted 04-22-2006 11:41 AM jar has responded

  
iano
Member (Idle past 171 days)
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 14 of 172 (304951)
04-18-2006 10:46 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by cavediver
04-18-2006 9:57 AM


Hi Cavediver (and that spine chilling avatar of yours)

How doctrinally sound do we have to be to ensure our faith is in the correct JC?

Ask the thief on the cross. As far as I know he had no doctrine to speak of. He recognised (as did many in gospels) Jesus as Lord, acknowledged that and expressed faith in him as saviour. And that was kind of that. And the only way he could do as he did was if God revealed Jesus to him. Otherwise Jesus was just someone else being crucified.

Even a cursory biblical reading of what happens people when they encounter Jesus should make it fairly obvious that God is going to do something dramatic to a person prior to and post them becoming Christians. Its not the kind of thing one would mistake. And it doesn't seem to rely much on their understanding and adhering to doctrine.

I know many who consider the theology of Benny Hinn to be sufficeintly off-base to place him outside of sound and hence safe doctrine (see e.g. Christianity in Crisis).

Doctrine doesn't save. Jesus does. It is an act of God not of man. That people head off in a zillion different directions matters not. God works in spite of not because of these things. He can cut through the false-est of doctrines and convert a person. Many have been surprised where God met them. Not least me.

Think citizenship. There a huge varieties amongst the citizens of a country: some good, some bad, some tall some short. Citizenship is not a function of these things. Being made a Christian is a positional thing. A legal/forensic act

A thread topic "Faith + works = intellectually ludicrous". I should have known it would be the ludicrousness of faith alone I'd get bogged down in - for it is ludicrous.

Not that I mind in the least

:)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by cavediver, posted 04-18-2006 9:57 AM cavediver has not yet responded

  
iano
Member (Idle past 171 days)
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 15 of 172 (304952)
04-18-2006 10:53 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by jar
04-18-2006 10:32 AM


Re: The LOL's are sure to follow soon...
Well, I read the OP again as well. But the question remains...

distilling your post down I see this...

it's what you do.

It was your view that semi-inspired example 1 in the OP. And I put up what I thought was a logical conclusion stemming from this and other self-determined salvation viewpoints.

Yours to dismantle in a mechanical way or simply say you don't know what happens. Not mine to defend a work-less salvation. That'd be OT


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by jar, posted 04-18-2006 10:32 AM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
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