Question about salvation

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clcTTT
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Question about salvation

Post by clcTTT » Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:08 pm

As someone who studied these religions and was brought to God in a sense through them (As a teen I rejected the boring "fairy tales" of Christianity for the mystic nature of these religions, but realized they talked about many of the same things Christianity did. This allowed my heart to be open to Christianity) I have always been troubled by the fact orthodoxy believes a Buddhist monk will go to hell because he does not know Christ. I realize God does not operate under my whims and understanding, but what does everyone think about the possibility of their salvation at the Great White Throne Judgment? Paul, in Acts, talks about the inscriptions on Greek statues "TO AN UNKNOWN GOD". He then says "Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you." Is Paul saying ignorance is secondary to humility and the desire to know God or the truth? If a Buddhist who has never heard the gospel gets to heaven and says I have been searching for you, but did not know you in my lifetime, and then accepts Christ, will Christ reject him?

Is this what Jesus was talking about in the parable of the Vineyards?

Mathew 20:13"But he answered one of them, 'Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? 14Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?'

16"So the last will be first, and the first will be last."

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Suzana
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Re: Question about salvation

Post by Suzana » Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:53 am

I think Matthew 20 is talking about those who actually did come to Christ in their lifetime - they were all hired into the vineyard, even if some worked only a short time.
It could be contrasting the Jewish people who were first called to be God's people, with the gentiles who were called in later, and/or perhaps some serve Jesus all their lives and others may just come into the kingdom later in life.

As to the main question - that's a hard one, especially regarding those who have never had the opportunity to hear the gospel; and a big subject. All I know is that God can be trusted to judge everyone with righteousness, equity and justice.
Suzana
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If a man cannot be a Christian in the place he is, he cannot be a Christian anywhere. - Henry Ward Beecher

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Paidion
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Re: Question about salvation

Post by Paidion » Sun Mar 22, 2009 9:04 pm

With my understanding that ALL of God's judgments are remedial, I think that those who had no opportunity to become disciples of Christ, or those who wanted to do right, but were led astray by false religion, will require MUCH LESS correction in order to be in a place of repentance and submission in the next life than those who have been open rebels against God.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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selah
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Re: Question about salvation

Post by selah » Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:43 pm

As someone who studied these religions and was brought to God in a sense through them (As a teen I rejected the boring "fairy tales" of Christianity for the mystic nature of these religions, but realized they talked about many of the same things Christianity did. This allowed my heart to be open to Christianity) I have always been troubled by the fact orthodoxy believes a Buddhist monk will go to hell because he does not know Christ. I realize God does not operate under my whims and understanding, but what does everyone think about the possibility of their salvation at the Great White Throne Judgment? Paul, in Acts, talks about the inscriptions on Greek statues "TO AN UNKNOWN GOD". He then says "Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you." Is Paul saying ignorance is secondary to humility and the desire to know God or the truth? If a Buddhist who has never heard the gospel gets to heaven and says I have been searching for you, but did not know you in my lifetime, and then accepts Christ, will Christ reject him?
This is a good question and one that is close to my thoughts because the last four years before becoming a Christian, I followed the Buddhist path and meditated daily, reading books by the Dahli Lama and his teachers. I wonder if I was "saved" during that time of seeking but not finding.

I have my own understanding of God's salvation for those seeking Him in false religions, but the scripture says not to lean on my own...

Finally for me, it comes down to something other than eternal life. You see, my training in Buddhism said much about being in the moment. ("Moment by Moment," by Jerry Braza)

When I accepted Jesus as God, I did not know if He or His Father would want me in Heaven but I did know that in this moment I asked for all of His presence that He would be with me. (I also asked what He wanted of me.) In other words, salvation no longer was about "going to heaven" but about being with Him now.

"Now" has grown to ten years past. Looking back, do I think that I was "saved?" Yes, because every Old Testament follower of God and "man after God's own heart" had limited understanding of Jesus Christ.

However, what do those on this forum think? If He were to not want the seeker for eternity, what can we do about it? He is God. We are submissive under His authority. Peter said, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." (John 6:68) Likewise, where can we run from God? If He deems one unworthy of eternal life, that one is doomed. However, that will not keep us from obeying Him, loving Him and giving Him honor today! :)
Jesus said, "I in them and you in Me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that you have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me." John 17:23

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selah
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Re: Question about salvation

Post by selah » Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:55 pm

With my understanding that ALL of God's judgments are remedial, I think that those who had no opportunity to become disciples of Christ, or those who wanted to do right, but were led astray by false religion, will require MUCH LESS correction in order to be in a place of repentance and submission in the next life than those who have been open rebels against God.Paidion
Paidion,

Your answer seems consistent with your gracious view of Jesus' reasons for dying for us (found on another thread).

I appreciate your kindness and they remind me of new thoughts. When Jesus forgave the woman caught in adultery, He did not condemn her because she should have known better, but He forgave her and exhorted her to "go and sin no more." This is one more Biblical example that to me, illustrates the forgiving, merciful character of Jesus Christ. Of course we wayward woes humble under His correction, but again, as Jesus said, "those who are forgiven much love much." (paraphrased)

God bless...
Jesus said, "I in them and you in Me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that you have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me." John 17:23

BorisGoodnewsenov
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Re: Question about salvation

Post by BorisGoodnewsenov » Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:12 pm

clcTTT wrote:As someone who studied these religions and was brought to God in a sense through them (As a teen I rejected the boring "fairy tales" of Christianity for the mystic nature of these religions, but realized they talked about many of the same things Christianity did. This allowed my heart to be open to Christianity) I have always been troubled by the fact orthodoxy believes a Buddhist monk will go to hell because he does not know Christ. I realize God does not operate under my whims and understanding, but what does everyone think about the possibility of their salvation at the Great White Throne Judgment? Paul, in Acts, talks about the inscriptions on Greek statues "TO AN UNKNOWN GOD". He then says "Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you." Is Paul saying ignorance is secondary to humility and the desire to know God or the truth? If a Buddhist who has never heard the gospel gets to heaven and says I have been searching for you, but did not know you in my lifetime, and then accepts Christ, will Christ reject him?
Hi clcTTT!

Interesting thread.

I think that the issue needs to be addressed in light of various scriptures, including the one in the book of Acts you addressed, as well as Romans 1:20, and Acts 10:1. I don't think all Buddhists are searching for God. The interest in Buddhism, Shintoism, and probably Hinduism, in regards to a westerner, can come about as a result of just merely having an interest in Eastern or Asian countries (culture, lifestyle, etc.). And a number of them seem to cling to the Buddhist religion as a means to actually oppose Christianity. It may represent an ideal that they reject from their Christian upbringing. I'm not however, at all implying that you or anyone else here who practiced Buddhism has done this.

I would also venture to say that a number of western Buddhists attempt to mold Buddhism into western secular philosophy (evolution, etc.). So a Buddhist can certainly be one who boldly rejects the free grace of Jesus Christ. However, I believe personally that there are Buddhists, in similar fashion to perhaps Cornelius in the Book of Acts, who are seeking God. It's just a matter of what they will do when presented with the Gospel message. But like Cornelius, salvation is still needed. Buddhism is not a religion completely void of deities and gods as some would suggest (and quite frankly, seems to me to be a more western or "McDarhma" version of Buddhism). Buddha never claimed non-existence of gods (or God), including the Hindu creator god Brahma.

Your reference to the Unknown God in the book of Acts is an interesting take. I also think some believe that it was an opportunity for Paul to fill-in-the-blank so to speak. In other words, the Greeks were presenting a scenario of a possible other god in case one existed. And Paul filled in the blank that could have been filled in with any other god. I would say however that the Greeks somehow were aware of the real God, and when presented with the Gospel message, were left with the choice on what to do with Him.

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