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[+] How far does grace extend?
Posted: Sat Sep 04, 2004 2:42 pm
noir
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Joined: 12 Aug 2004
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What does God require of us? How far does the grace of God extend?

Since we possess the bible and should read and study it, will God judge us based on what we know from scripture? Is there more that is required of us that the bible does not speak of?

What of the woman in an isolated village in Africa that has never heard of the Gospel, or Jesus? How will she be judged, and what is required of her?

What of the educated hindu man in India, who has heard of Christianity and read about it many times, but has never met a Christian person to speak about Jesus?

What of the young Islamic teenager from Palestine, who has been taught that Christianity is a perverted religion of the west, and he has only seen examples of Christians acting in a negative way against him?

What of the young boy who, in a time of need, seeks out a priest to help him, but is sexually abused instead, and then falls from faith?

What of the many people who do not follow Jesus, but follow other religions, and keep them more faithfully than “practicing Christians”

Should I not even worry about it, and just let God judge? It just boggles my mind sometimes.

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Posted: Sat Sep 18, 2004 7:47 am
noir
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Joined: 12 Aug 2004
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my main motivation for posting this was, as the cliche goes "life is not black and white." obviously some of the examples i gave were crazy, but i think they are worth noting. i came from a background that said "if you weren't immersed in the waters of baptism then God's grace did not cover you."

i think that idea just isn't right. i think God's grace will extend way beyond that. how far, i don't know, but i think we'd be surprised.

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Posted: Tue Sep 21, 2004 9:28 am
shawn
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Joined: 26 Jul 2004
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noir,

There's a great book called "A New Kind of Christian" by Brian McLaren that somewhat touches on this issue. The book is written in a novel form, but is very theological in nature. One of the main characters hits on this subject, and i think i've chosen to take his approach in life. The character basically says that salvation is not our business, it's God's. The bible talks about the way to salvation, and as Christ followers, we believe it is through Christ. We live our lives as such. But, ultimately, it is not up to us to choose who receives God's grace. Our purpose is to be salt and light and show people the way. God does the saving. And He gets to choose. It takes alot of the pressure off of us.

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Posted: Sat Dec 04, 2004 5:03 pm
chiefofsinners
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Joined: 04 Dec 2004
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Location: Oklahoma City




I think Lesslie Newbigin has some amazing thoughts on this (from The Gospel In A Pluralist Society):

"The whole nature of the gospel itself requires us to maintain tension, and not try to resolve it either by a rationalistic universalism which denies the possibility of finally missing the mark, or by increasingly fruitless arguments about who will and who will not be saved... There is a kind of confidence that leads to complacency, and there is a kind of anxiety which leads to selfish efforts to save oneself."
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Posted: Wed Dec 08, 2004 3:56 pm
scribebytrade
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Joined: 07 Nov 2004
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Location: belmont U




robert, i'm so glad you decided to join us.

this issue is one that is too often treated as taboo in most churches, and i don't think that's a healthy thing.

so props to you for even bringing it up, phil (i realize i'm also about three months late)...

i think the leslie newbigin quote most closely sums up how i feel about the issue of salvation in reference to the questions you posed. while i think that who is and is not saved is entirely God's business, you've raised a question that many of us will be faced with at some point in our lives from an unbeliever wondering the same thing. for that reason, it's important to at least give it some amount of consideration.

"there is a kind of confidence that leads to complacency..." this is probably the position most often taken by christians (myself included). we don't like to think of God as the kind to withold the gift of salvation from the woman in africa who hasn't even heard of it. certainly, we say, she deserves a chance.

i don't know the answer to that. but let me at least point out one problem with that reasoning: no one on earth really deserves even a slight amount of love and attention, much less salvation, from the God of the universe. it is by the total grace of God alone that any of us may receive this gift, i believe. additionally, i don't think someone else's salvation hinges upon human acts, whether right, wrong or altogether absent.

"... there is a kind of anxiety which leads to selfish efforts to save oneself." this anxiety she talks about comes from overthinking a question for which there is no definite, conceivable answer here on earth. again, it's something to which some amount of thought must be given, but ultimately, it's one of those things we are not supposed to know.
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Posted: Wed Dec 08, 2004 6:22 pm
chiefofsinners
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Joined: 04 Dec 2004
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scribebytrade wrote:
robert, i'm so glad you decided to join us.

You know I'm always down for interesting conversation...

scribebytrade wrote:
i think the leslie newbigin quote most closely sums up how i feel about the issue of salvation in reference to the questions you posed. while i think that who is and is not saved is entirely God's business, you've raised a question that many of us will be faced with at some point in our lives from an unbeliever wondering the same thing. for that reason, it's important to at least give it some amount of consideration.

I'm not a huge fan of Brian McLaren, but in the most recent Sojourn magazine (I think) he mentions how Newbigin's revitalized view of "election" has helped him a lot. Basically, that God elects certain people with the responsibility to tell the good news to the whole world -- not that God elects people solely for the benefits of those people, but for the good of all creation.

scribebytrade wrote:
"there is a kind of confidence that leads to complacency..." this is probably the position most often taken by christians (myself included). we don't like to think of God as the kind to withold the gift of salvation from the woman in africa who hasn't even heard of it. certainly, we say, she deserves a chance.

That's definitely a hard concept to even think about. But, I think it's an unavoidable question. What about those people who've never heard? I think if we put Romans 1, 9, and 10 together, from Paul's perspective it looks as if: 1) no one has an excuse, even if they haven't been told; 2) ultimately God chooses who He will reveal His good news to; and 3) those two realities should not lead to complacency, but to missional living. Maybe that still leaves that question unanswered, but maybe it's really unanswerable.

scribebytrade wrote:
no one on earth really deserves even a slight amount of love and attention, much less salvation, from the God of the universe. it is by the total grace of God alone that any of us may receive this gift, i believe.

With our American view of "rights" that seems completely foreign. Don't we all deserve freedom, property, life, etc.?

scribebytrade wrote:
"... there is a kind of anxiety which leads to selfish efforts to save oneself." this anxiety she talks about comes from overthinking a question for which there is no definite, conceivable answer here on earth. again, it's something to which some amount of thought must be given, but ultimately, it's one of those things we are not supposed to know.

(Newbigin was a man, from England, but I thought he was a girl when I first heard about him too.)
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