The purpose of this blog is to explore questions about the Christian faith with the aim of arriving at a better understanding of God and how he relates to us. In the past blogs we have explored contradictions within the doctrine salvation which have largely been ignored by Christianity. It is our firm belief that if God truly does not want any one to perish (2 Peter 3:9), he would not make salvation confusing or complicated. Therefore, the contradiction within the doctrine of salvation must have a resolution. What we have discovered in this blog is that the Bible teaches salvation is not a matter of belief or a few actions we take. Instead, salvation is the renovation of our soul so it becomes like God. Now belief and the actions we take can help us renovate our soul but they are the means, not the ends.
We have come to this conclusion for three main reasons:
1. There are well over 70 passages in the New Testament that state salvation is obtained by belief in God or our conduct, pattern of behavior, motivation, use of abilities, and repentance. If we really believe that every word in the Bible is inspired by God, there must have been a reason he made these statements.
2. Science, history, and philosophy have demonstrated we cannot have absolute proof when dealing with matters beyond our space and time; we must deal with probabilities. Christian doctrine agrees when it maintains that we are finite. The doctrine of salvation states that we must believe in an event that occurred 2000 years ago and this event involves an extraordinary claim: Christ rising from the dead. While we have substantial proof for Christ’s resurrection, we do not have absolute proof; there is room for doubt. It does not make sense that God would ask us to do something we cannot do—believe in something we cannot prove.
3. Salvation being the renovation of our soul resolves contradictions within the doctrine of salvation such as how can God be a God of love and justice and yet condemn people to hell who either have not heard of Jesus or whose culture and/or religion tells them Jesus is irrelevant.
This resolution of the contradictions within the doctrine of salvation does not conform to traditional doctrine. If I am in error, it should be easy for Christians to point out where I have made a mistake in my reasoning. However, I have yet to find a Christian who can refute what I have stated. Yes, if you ignore certain passages in the Bible you can claim you have Biblical evidence against my position. But if you believe the entire Bible is the word of God, you must find an explanation for the entire Bible, not just a few passages.
When I talk to Christians about the issues raised in this blog, they say it is interesting but engage in little or no conversation about these issues. Why? My experiences have led me to the conclusion that Christians believe more in the doctrine they have been taught than they do in the Bible. Doctrine and the Bible are not the same as evidenced by all the conflicting Christian doctrines. Christians willfully ignore passages in the Bible that conflict with their belief system. They would rather live with the contradictions within their belief system than modify their beliefs to resolve those contradictions. Is that what God intended we should do? “Test everything. Hold on to the good” (I Thessalonians 5:21). Does this verse mean anything to us?
I could continue to show how the mainstream doctrine of salvation is in error but a large part of that would be repetitious. I will not ignore the issue of salvation in the coming blogs. When appropriate topics surface, I will address them. But starting next week, we will examine a new question about the Christian faith: We will examine questions about God’s sovereignty; the nature of God’s involvement in our world and in our lives.