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Hoffer, Exclusivity and a Luther Quote Worthy of Ahab!


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16 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

What I am getting at is that if LDS beliefs were more universalist than exclusive, you could imo expect to see more inclusivity in LDS funerals, in practice and policy. The disconnect is perhaps most apparent in funerals for non-LDS at LDS buildings.

I don't know what you mean.  What is not inclusive about funerals for non-LDS at LDS buildings?

16 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

I think that the universality of Mormonism is more like "in the end, everyone will go through our ritual." The very-streamlined nature of LDS funerals exemplifies this LDS belief of the afterlife.

No, the universality of Mormonism is more like this - in the end, all Christians and non-Christians alike will be saved to a degree of glory.  The rare exception who are not saved are Latter-day Saints, and only Latter-day Saints.  The other aspect of our universality is that all people will universally have equal opportunity to hear, accept, or reject Christ's message.  Not even the most remote and primitive, and as of yet uncontacted by modern civilization, tribes in the rainforests of Brazil will not be preached too.  Who else can claim to be that evangelically universalist?    Most evangelicals and nearly half of all protestants alike believe that Muslims and Hindu's will go to hell, without any chance of ever hearing about Christ by a preacher (according to the polls I sited).   More than half of all protestants believe that atheists will go to hell with no chance of salvation or eternal life.  That sound much more exclusive than what we believe and teach.  I think you would find that nearly zero Latter-day Saints believe that Muslims or Hindu's will go to hell, and nearly 100% will believe that all will have equally opportunity to eternal life and exaltation.  Yet we are singled out for being more exclusionist?

16 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

That's LDS universality, which is very different from the idea that there are equally valid paths.

Does any Christian church truly believe that all paths are equally valid?  The last I heard, Christ is the only valid way back to the Father.  As Navidad  suggested, in the end there is only one true church that all must join.  We don't seem to be unique in that belief after all.

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 I have also always been taught that there will be no denominations in heaven - no divided tribes of Methodists, Pentecostals, Baptists, or Mormons, etc. In heaven for the first time the church will gather as one - the community of Christ in its unified sense, regardless of affiliation in this life.

They likewise believe that if they are to be saved, all these "paths" must be abandoned for the one true path, where there is no division, and complete unity in one true church and one true faith, and one true belief.  We too believe that all of these "paths" can equally lead to the one true path and one true church, but just as he implied, they must all be abandoned at some point for the one.  No, we are not more exlusionist than anyone else.  We are less than most. 

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3 hours ago, pogi said:

Are you claiming that no evangelical denominations are exclusivist in terms of claiming that non-Christian people can't achieve eternal life?

I know I have personally met some self-proclaimed evangelicals who tell us that we can't be saved because we are not Christian.  So, how is what I said untrue?  This seems to happen more often than not with evangelicals, in my experience. 

Do you think that the belief that other non-Christian groups can't achieve eternal life is a fundametalist belief?  If so, perhaps fundamentalist beliefs are more pervasive with self-proclaimed evangelicals than you lead me to believe.  How do you explain these numbers?

Trends in Opinions About Religious Exclusivity

Figure 2

It appears that only 35% of white evangelicals believe that Muslims or Hindus can achieve eternal life, while only 26% believe that atheists can achieve eternal life.   

Help me understand why you think what I said is "not true".  These polls, and my personal experience with other evangelicals, seem to show otherwise.

 

 

Hi Pogi: I will be happy to explain as best I can. I guess you will know I have to ramble a bit to cover all the bases. We have to distinguish between denominations - remembering that not all denominations are either Protestant or Catholic. Second, the terms fundamentalists, evangelicals, and main-streamers have nothing to do with denominations. There are all three sub-groups within almost all denominations. These three terms are a classification of a different kind. Then there are also groups like Pentecostals who may or may not be affiliated with Protestantism and may be, especially recently, either fundamentalists, evangelicals, or main-streamers. Pentecostal theology has been greatly codified as of late. Then, many many Christian organizations are limited to one church (think ward) or a tiny group of two or three churches. They do not affiliate with any denomination.

Then there are all the separate groups within the major Protestant denominations. For example, there are at least 160 different Baptist "denominations," sub-groups, associations, fellowships, etc. around the world. Each is independent of the others, yet they all use the name Baptist in their identity. Maybe in that sense, the term Baptist and Mormon are similar. As the LDS is the largest Mormon-identified group, the Southern Baptist Convention is the largest Baptist-identified group. I have not included all the independent Baptist individual churches or sub-groups yet. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of them.

If the church down the street from you has the word Baptist in its title, that really only tells you something about the church government model, and even that can vary. If someone walks out the front door, you have no way of telling if that person is a fundamentalist, evangelical, or mainstreamer. There are Baptists of all three persuasions. Denominations per se are not evangelical, fundamentalist, or evangelical. Denominations have churches in them, each church will differ to some degree from the others in the denomination. Many, if not most, have no centralized "correlation committee" or centralized curriculum that comes down from headquarters. Some, do . . . However, many don't. There are lots of different subgroups within Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists as well. Each subgroup has its fundamentalists, evangelicals, and mainstreamers.

Liberty University if for example, the largest Baptist university in the world but doesn't affiliate with any particular Baptist denomination. In fact, it is what is called "independent Baptist." Most independent Baptists tend toward the fundamentalist persuasion, not all, but most. Baylor University, one of my alma maters, is a Baptist University historically affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. That makes it kinda, sorta Southern Baptist, but not really. See, isn’t this simple?

Just to add to the clarity (he says with a smile), Anabaptist groups are not Baptist. They are often considered non-Protestants and are comprised of the Mennonite, Brethren, and Amish groups. There are many different groups within the Mennonite and Brethren communities as well.

The Pew Research you attach is very confusing and not very helpful. It doesn't list folks as fundamentalists at all, yet it is a very large community with millions of representatives. If you encounter non-LDS Christians at a temple or pageant, you can be fairly sure they are fundamentalists; it is not likely they are evangelicals. They (fundamentalists) are a distinct and vocal group. They are not evangelicals. You say you talked with evangelicals; how do you know they were evangelicals? You would have to ask them six or seven specific questions to find out. Pew doesn't ask those questions. In fact, they only survey individuals, not groups. Most Protestant denominations themselves do not take a position on who will be saved. That isn’t even an accurate question to ask. Words matter.

Individual professors, pastors, teachers, and leaders will most likely believe something a bit different from their colleauges, especially in the evangelical community. Fundamentalists may be more monolithic. Evangelicals love to differ and debate. Mainstream folks may vary greatly on doctrinal issues but be fairly unified on social issues. I attended two mainstream seminaries. There were mainstream and evangelical professors at each. If there were ten professors, there would have been eight different answers on the "who will be saved" question. I also went to an evangelical university, seminary, and graduate school. There, the individual professors had broad latitude of personal belief on an issue such as we are discussing while agreeing on a rather simple statement of faith similar to the LDS articles of faith. LDS professors might easily be found at mainstream graduate schools. Never at a fundamentalist college or seminary, and rarely at an evangelical seminary.

Four or five good friends started the evangelical movement in the 1940s. They wanted to differentiate themselves from the fundamentalists, who in the 1920s wanted to differentiate themselves from the modernists, who wanted to differentiate themselves from the fundamentalists then. The mainstreamers identified themselves as such with an emphasis on a social gospel, as opposed to a proselytizing gospel. They quickly didn't want to identify with the fundamentalists, who sometimes were known more for what they were against than what they were for. The fifties were a time of movement as evangelicals and fundamentalists more strongly differentiated themselves from each other.

As a non-Catholic I recognize a type of fundamentalist, evangelical, and mainstream divide in today's Catholicism. Our friends may not recognize such, but there is much greater diversity among Catholic practice today, including charismatic gifts than thirty years ago. I have a conservative Catholic group aligned with Opus Dei not twenty miles from my house here in Mexico. They have their own hierarchy and also some affiliated-diocesan priests as well. They work hard to install Catholic values in everyday work life. Thus they have a very strong laity and a high percentage of faithful adherents. Our Catholic friends here can go into much more detail about distinctions and diversity among Catholics.

Finally, of great interest to me, and possibly to some of you is the fact that the Community of Christ, a Mormon group, is often being referred to today in the literature as "more evangelical." It has consciously and deliberately reached out to the evangelical community for dialogue. I wouldn't be surprised if someday within ten years, the Community of Christ is seen as a thoroughly evangelical group.

There are some organizations that try to bring together various evangelicals under one umbrella. Groups like the National Association of Evangelicals are an example. They are not denominations and affiliation is purely voluntary. This particular group tries to bring together individuals, universities, churches, mission groups, and a few denominations who identify as evangelical. Here is a link to their statement of faith.

https://www.nae.net/statement-of-faith/

It is very broad, does not mention the word trinity, does not mention ordinances, does not address those who have never heard the gospel, doesn't mention the gifts of the Holy Spirit, does not mention creeds, etc. Its statement of faith is more notable for what it doesn't include that what it does. The exception is a rather specific statement about the Bible as inspired and infallible; however, it does not mention the words plenary or inerrant. This is probably the largest group that tries to bring evangelicals together for common causes. You can see on its history page it was founded in 1942. That is when folks began differentiating themselves from fundamentalists and mainstreamers (modernists) and began to form a separate identity as evangelical within denominations. There is also a section called "What is an evangelical?" that might help. Please watch the video. That should help you a lot. I would post it here, but I don't know how. I don't believe there is anything in the video that a faithful LDS would disagree with. I have always said we are more similar than different!

OK enough said. More left unsaid than said. I hope this helps.  

 

 

Edited by Navidad
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1 hour ago, Ahab said:

It was crude just as your own comments are crude.  and I mean crude by definition in a natural or raw state; not yet processed or refined.

Read again what I said and compare, and I'll throw in some bold text for you to bring out some highlights:

The name "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" is the name that our Lord Jesus Christ himself specified as the name that his church would be known by in these latter-day days before his so-called second coming.  It is his church, and he has only one church, and his church in these latter days is to be known by a specific name that he chose to name it.  In other dispensations or periods of time on this planet his church was known by some other names, whatever those names were, but in these days his church is to be known by that name, and only that church is it, at least as far as his church pertains to the mortals who are still living on this planet.  I don't think that means that when you die that every true Christian you meet is going to say he was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while he lived his mortal life on this planet.  He may have lived thousands of years ago and when he was living as a mortal the church of Christ was known by some other name, if not simply the church of Jesus Christ.  So be a little more careful there before you say something like you just said.  Past, present and future time periods cover a very long range of time, but you should expect the principles ordinances and teachings of the gospel for the church of Christ to be basically the same.

It would be incorrect and improper to portray so-called Christendom as equally inspired and equally valid, and for lack of a better term "apostate" is what the majority of the so-called Christian world is.  They are not us and we are not them.

Ok. so by the folks in the ward I am called Brother Phil, am assured I am a brother in Christ, am accepted as a fellow Christian, and am as a member of the majority of the so-called Christian world, an apostate. Now were getting down to the nitty gritty!

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1 hour ago, Navidad said:

Hi Pogi: I will be happy to explain as best I can. I guess you will know I have to ramble a bit to cover all the bases. We have to distinguish between denominations - remembering that not all denominations are either Protestant or Catholic. Second, the terms fundamentalists, evangelicals, and main-streamers have nothing to do with denominations. There are all three sub-groups within almost all denominations. These three terms are a classification of a different kind. Then there are also groups like Pentecostals who may or may not be affiliated with Protestantism and may be, especially recently, either fundamentalists, evangelicals, or main-streamers. Pentecostal theology has been greatly codified as of late. Then, many many Christian organizations are limited to one church (think ward) or a tiny group of two or three churches. They do not affiliate with any denomination.

Then there are all the separate groups within the major Protestant denominations. For example, there are at least 160 different Baptist "denominations," sub-groups, associations, fellowships, etc. around the world. Each is independent of the others, yet they all use the name Baptist in their identity. Maybe in that sense, the term Baptist and Mormon are similar. As the LDS is the largest Mormon-identified group, the Southern Baptist Convention is the largest Baptist-identified group. I have not included all the independent Baptist individual churches or sub-groups yet. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of them.

If the church down the street from you has the word Baptist in its title, that really only tells you something about the church government model, and even that can vary. If someone walks out the front door, you have no way of telling if that person is a fundamentalist, evangelical, or mainstreamer. There are Baptists of all three persuasions. Denominations per se are not evangelical, fundamentalist, or evangelical. Denominations have churches in them, each church will differ to some degree from the others in the denomination. Many, if not most, have no centralized "correlation committee" or centralized curriculum that comes down from headquarters. Some, do . . . However, many don't. There are lots of different subgroups within Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists as well. Each subgroup has its fundamentalists, evangelicals, and mainstreamers.

Liberty University if for example, the largest Baptist university in the world but doesn't affiliate with any particular Baptist denomination. In fact, it is what is called "independent Baptist." Most independent Baptists tend toward the fundamentalist persuasion, not all, but most. Baylor University, one of my alma maters, is a Baptist University historically affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. That makes it kinda, sorta Southern Baptist, but not really. See, isn’t this simple?

Just to add to the clarity (he says with a smile), Anabaptist groups are not Baptist. They are often considered non-Protestants and are comprised of the Mennonite, Brethren, and Amish groups. There are many different groups within the Mennonite and Brethren communities as well.

The Pew Research you attach is very confusing and not very helpful. It doesn't list folks as fundamentalists at all, yet it is a very large community with millions of representatives. If you encounter non-LDS Christians at a temple or pageant, you can be fairly sure they are fundamentalists; it is not likely they are evangelicals. They (fundamentalists) are a distinct and vocal group. They are not evangelicals. You say you talked with evangelicals; how do you know they were evangelicals? You would have to ask them six or seven specific questions to find out. Pew doesn't ask those questions. In fact, they only survey individuals, not groups. Most Protestant denominations themselves do not take a position on who will be saved. That isn’t even an accurate question to ask. Words matter.

Individual professors, pastors, teachers, and leaders will most likely believe something a bit different from their colleauges, especially in the evangelical community. Fundamentalists may be more monolithic. Evangelicals love to differ and debate. Mainstream folks may vary greatly on doctrinal issues but be fairly unified on social issues. I attended two mainstream seminaries. There were mainstream and evangelical professors at each. If there were ten professors, there would have been eight different answers on the "who will be saved" question. I also went to an evangelical university, seminary, and graduate school. There, the individual professors had broad latitude of personal belief on an issue such as we are discussing while agreeing on a rather simple statement of faith similar to the LDS articles of faith. LDS professors might easily be found at mainstream graduate schools. Never at a fundamentalist college or seminary, and rarely at an evangelical seminary.

Four or five good friends started the evangelical movement in the 1940s. They wanted to differentiate themselves from the fundamentalists, who in the 1920s wanted to differentiate themselves from the modernists, who wanted to differentiate themselves from the fundamentalists then. The mainstreamers identified themselves as such with an emphasis on a social gospel, as opposed to a proselytizing gospel. They quickly didn't want to identify with the fundamentalists, who sometimes were known more for what they were against than what they were for. The fifties were a time of movement as evangelicals and fundamentalists more strongly differentiated themselves from each other.

As a non-Catholic I recognize a type of fundamentalist, evangelical, and mainstream divide in today's Catholicism. Our friends may not recognize such, but there is much greater diversity among Catholic practice today, including charismatic gifts than thirty years ago. I have a conservative Catholic group aligned with Opus Dei not twenty miles from my house here in Mexico. They have their own hierarchy and also some affiliated-diocesan priests as well. They work hard to install Catholic values in everyday work life. Thus they have a very strong laity and a high percentage of faithful adherents. Our Catholic friends here can go into much more detail about distinctions and diversity among Catholics.

Finally, of great interest to me, and possibly to some of you is the fact that the Community of Christ, a Mormon group, is often being referred to today in the literature as "more evangelical." It has consciously and deliberately reached out to the evangelical community for dialogue. I wouldn't be surprised if someday within ten years, the Community of Christ is seen as a thoroughly evangelical group.

There are some organizations that try to bring together various evangelicals under one umbrella. Groups like the National Association of Evangelicals are an example. They are not denominations and affiliation is purely voluntary. This particular group tries to bring together individuals, universities, churches, mission groups, and a few denominations who identify as evangelical. Here is a link to their statement of faith.

https://www.nae.net/statement-of-faith/

It is very broad, does not mention the word trinity, does not mention ordinances, does not address those who have never heard the gospel, doesn't mention the gifts of the Holy Spirit, does not mention creeds, etc. Its statement of faith is more notable for what it doesn't include that what it does. The exception is a rather specific statement about the Bible as inspired and infallible; however, it does not mention the words plenary or inerrant. This is probably the largest group that tries to bring evangelicals together for common causes. You can see on its history page it was founded in 1942. That is when folks began differentiating themselves from fundamentalists and mainstreamers (modernists) and began to form a separate identity as evangelical within denominations. There is also a section called "What is an evangelical?" that might help. Please watch the video. That should help you a lot. I would post it here, but I don't know how. I don't believe there is anything in the video that a faithful LDS would disagree with. I have always said we are more similar than different!

OK enough said. More left unsaid than said. I hope this helps.  

It is my understanding that "evangelical" is the dominant branch with which many different subdivisions, or denominations can emerge. Am I wrong?  Are you suggesting that from that list of denominations that identify as evangelical, not one of them believe or teach that non-Christians (Mormons, Muslims, etc.) can't be saved?   

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You say you talked with evangelicals; how do you know they were evangelicals?

Because I asked them how they identify.  Whenever I engage in religious discussions, it is critical to know who I am talking to and where they are coming from.  That often is unhelpful however, as very few of you agree on anything (just like the rest of us, I guess).

The poll seems clear to me that the vast majority of those who self identify as evangelical believe that Muslims are going to hell.  Why must there be multiple questions to identify them as evangelical?  Why should we doubt how these people self-identify?  If they self-identify as evangelical, isn't that good enough?  Do we really need to ask them "six or seven different questions"  to find out if they are really evangelical or not?  That seems unnecessarily convoluted.  It seems like one simple question would suffice - "do you identify as evangelical or not?"  Shouldn't we take them at their word at that point?   

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There were mainstream and evangelical professors at each. If there were ten professors, there would have been eight different answers on the "who will be saved" question. I also went to an evangelical university, seminary, and graduate school. There, the individual professors had broad latitude of personal belief on an issue such as we are discussing

If there is such broad latitude of belief as to who will be saved in mainstream and evangelical Christianity, why should I question the diversity of opinions in the poll?  

 

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13 hours ago, MiserereNobis said:

Hi.

From the current Catholic Catechism. Bold is mine:

Now, there are certainly Catholics who think differently, but that doesn't negate the official teaching of the Church. The Catholic Church is the sole Church of Christ. The Church of Christ was given to the Apostles, with Peter at the head, and is governed today by the Pope and Bishops in communion with him.

The Catechism goes on to say that the protestant "reformation" wounded the unity of the Church of Christ:

Catholicism does not deny that protestants are Christian. It also doesn't deny that there is truth and goodness and sanctification to be found in protestant communities:

Notice, though, that the "elements of sanctification and of truth" that are in protestant communities are "calls to 'Catholic unity.'" In other words, the truth and blessings that non-Catholics are given from Christ are there to help lead them back to the Catholic Church.

The Catechism continues in the section "Towards Unity":

We pray for the "reconciliation of all Christians in the unity of the one and only Church of Christ." We pray that all Christians will come to the sole Church of Christ, which subsists in the Catholic Church.

I hope this helps clarify the official teaching of the Catholic Church.

The difference between your church and mine in this regard is the fact that you have a Magesterium which defines orthodox doctrine.   I do not mean "Orthodox" in the sense of the branches of Catholicism which are not part of "Roman Catholicism"- I am using "orthodox" as an adjective which is contrasted with the word's opposite which would be "unorthodox", meaning something like "conforming to what is traditionally accepted as right or true, established and approved.

We have no such entity, but are encouraged to read the scriptures and interpret them for ourselves, following the Holy Spirit.  Those who get "too far out of line" would be corrected by their bishops, but there are no written guidelines for determining what is "orthodox" regarding a particular belief even for bishops.  

As LDS theologians have noted we do not believe in the concept of orthoDOXY,  "correct belief" but the principle of orthoPRAXIS, "correct action, practice, or behavior".  

The highest measure of "correct action" we have is the temple recommend interview which only peripherally touches on very central doctrines asking whether or not, for example if one believes in God, the atonement, the Restoration of the gospel, and the existence of modern prophets

Those are arguably the only four "doctrinal" questions in the interview- the rest is devoted to actions and practices, keeping specific commandments etc.   https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/october-2019-general-conference-temple-recommend

In short it becomes clear that our church is based on correct action and is more a life-style than a set of clearly defined doctrines.  IF you pass the interview, all the  blessings the church has to offer are available to all mankind.

I submit that compared to the required doctrines that most of Christianity imposes on its members- the Trinity,  the abstract nature of a transcendental God, and how though transcendent he can be considered a "Father". the question of how Christ could be human and retain his transcendent nature, the metaphysical status of the Eucharist, Original Sin and why it is just to be visited on all mankind, the problem of why a Good God would allow evil to happen, what it means for God to be omniscient and present everywhere at the same time, why one should pray for intercession of Saints while one could go directly to God himself,  what happens to those who never have nor were able to know about the existence of Christ, and so many other doctrinal concepts that one must believe  are "correctly" solved to be to be considered  "true "- that our beliefs are not very "exclusive" at all

 

 

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13 hours ago, pogi said:

 Yet we are singled out for being more exclusionist?

Remember your audience? The OP (according to my reading of his posts) is a Christian currently attending the local LDS congregation for the benefit of religious fellowship. He is naturally confronted with the "othering" which occurs there because, although he believes in Christ, he is not LDS. I am a formerly-Mormon atheist with immediate loved ones who are still LDS. LDS funerals, for example, will shape some of the important experiences that I can expect to have repeatedly throughout the remainder of my life. You as LDS are "our people" in an everyday way and your exclusionism does impact us directly.

Edited by Meadowchik
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5 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Remember your audience? The OP (according to my reading of his posts) is a Christian currently attending the local LDS congregation for the benefit of religious fellowship. He is naturally confronted with the "othering" which occurs there because, although he believes in Christ, he is not LDS. I am a formerly-Mormon atheist with immediate loved ones who are still LDS. LDS funerals, for example, will shape some of the important experiences that I can expect to have repeatedly throughout the remainder of my life. You as LDS are "our people" in an everyday way and your exclusionism does impact us directly.

Thanks for a very important point. As you say, "I believe in Christ," yet as recently as yesterday it has been stated on this forum

"It would be incorrect and improper to portray so-called Christendom as equally inspired and equally valid, and for lack of a better term "apostate" is what the majority of the so-called Christian world is." 
So, I can only conclude that I (Navidad) am a part of the "so-called Christendom." I am, "for lack of a better term "apostate" as a part of "the majority of the so-called Christian world." All Christians who aren't members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - "so-called Christendom" are "apostates." Methinks that just might be considered mildly exclusive, is it not? Am I at fault for getting confused by the mixed messages?

 


 

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10 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

I submit that compared to the required doctrines that most of Christianity imposes on its members- the Trinity,  the abstract nature of a transcendental God, and how though transcendent he can be considered a "Father". the question of how Christ could be human and retain his transcendent nature, the metaphysical status of the Eucharist, Original Sin and why it is just to be visited on all mankind, the problem of why a Good God would allow evil to happen, what it means for God to be omniscient and present everywhere at the same time, why one should pray for intercession of Saints while one could go directly to God himself,  what happens to those who never have nor were able to know about the existence of Christ, and so many other doctrinal concepts that one must believe  are "correctly" solved to be to be considered  "true "- that our beliefs are not very "exclusive" at all

 

Hi Mark - I can only opine that I can't think of a single thing in your list that is required of me, or that I would suggest, as a pastor I would require of anyone else to have assurance of eternal life with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I assume by "most of Christianity" you are referring to an arithmetical summation of Catholicism and perhaps the Orthodox (in the group sense) as most of Christianity? Of course I can't and won't speak for them if all these things are required for them to experience eternal life in their understanding of their own faith. They can weigh in on that if they so choose.  I certainly don't believe a number of the things in your above paragraph. And more importantly, even if you are referring to Catholic and Orthodox Christians, I still don't think those who I have interacted with in those faiths would deny me eternity in heaven for not believing your long list of things, in addition to my being a non-Catholic. I think you are inventing a straw man in this paragraph. I have noticed a tendency for some of the folks here to make very broad sweeping generalizations, bordering on stereotypes about non-LDS Christianity. These generalizations fail to recognize the broad diversity in non-LDS Christiandom. That used to bother me more, now I just sigh. I also, with equal candor must say that the majority of the Christianity with which I am familiar make equally broad and sweeping generalizations about LDS Christians that border on stereotypes. I tell them that too! Perhaps that is the gist of the divisions within Christianity (including the LDS). I will continue to believe that this division and ugliness between His children make God cry.

Perhaps where I personally get confused is the simultaneous assertion of exclusivity and the apparent distaste for being seen as exclusive. Perhaps as some have said, it depends how we define exclusive and exclusivity. That is certainly fair. I tried to make it more direct and simple in the last paragraph of my post, which you have still not commented on. That is fine, but to me it is the heart of the question. Everything else is distraction. Perhaps as you suggested, I will repost that last paragraph and try and get a consensus from you all so I can bring this quest for understanding to a close.

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19 hours ago, pogi said:

It is my understanding that "evangelical" is the dominant branch with which many different subdivisions, or denominations can emerge. Am I wrong?  Are you suggesting that from that list of denominations that identify as evangelical, not one of them believe or teach that non-Christians (Mormons, Muslims, etc.) can't be saved?   

Because I asked them how they identify.  Whenever I engage in religious discussions, it is critical to know who I am talking to and where they are coming from.  That often is unhelpful however, as very few of you agree on anything (just like the rest of us, I guess).

The poll seems clear to me that the vast majority of those who self identify as evangelical believe that Muslims are going to hell.  Why must there be multiple questions to identify them as evangelical?  Why should we doubt how these people self-identify?  If they self-identify as evangelical, isn't that good enough?  Do we really need to ask them "six or seven different questions"  to find out if they are really evangelical or not?  That seems unnecessarily convoluted.  It seems like one simple question would suffice - "do you identify as evangelical or not?"  Shouldn't we take them at their word at that point?   

If there is such broad latitude of belief as to who will be saved in mainstream and evangelical Christianity, why should I question the diversity of opinions in the poll?  

 

Hi Pogi: I am not sure I understand your first statement so I can’t respond to it. Please clarify for me. Perhaps I am simply dense!

No, I would not be so bold as to declare that there is not “one” group, association, or tiny denomination that teaches that without exception no non-Christian can be saved (look forward to eternal life). There are hundreds of individual groups with non-LDS Christianity. I would be a fool if I suggested that I know the unique and specific beliefs contained in every one of them. What I can say, is I don’t know of any such groups. I have never come across such a group. I believe the vast majority, if not all non-LDS Christian groups believe that members of other Christian groups can have assurance of eternal life and that the most if not the vast majority of Christian groups teach that they cannot say with certainty who Christ will judge and declare to be “worthy” to live with Him for eternity.

The Scriptures say that no one comes unto the Father but by Christ. I think this has two probable meanings which are not inherently contradictory. First, faith in the atonement of Christ is the regular and normative way people come to the Father. Second, Christ is the judge. He has a way to balance justice and mercy that is way above our own ability to do. Therefore, He is the final arbiter of who gets to “come to the Father” for eternity. We cannot dare to assume what His decision will be on every individual who has ever lived. As I have said here it is my personal belief that his mercy is broad and that He will decide based on light, response to the light, and faith. And one more thing I believe – Christ’s decision will be made on the individual. I do not believe Christ will take into consideration the earthly group religious affiliation of the person at all. Not a factor!

I believe the Pew data support my position. First, it is clear this is a follow-up poll. Only those who in a former poll indicated they believed that eternal life (salvation) is available to folks in many religions were included in this survey. So 100% of the Protestants in this survey had already affirmed that. From the poll text – “The new survey asks those who say many religions can lead to eternal life whether or not they think a series of specific religions (including Judaism, Islam and Hinduism) can lead to eternal life, as well as whether they think atheists or people who have no religious faith can achieve eternal life. The findings confirm that most people who say many religions can lead to eternal life take the view that even non-Christian faiths can lead to eternal salvation.”  This is the position I have maintained all along, and the Pew data confirm it.

That data also include, in the words of the text: “Taken as a whole, these responses reveal that most American Christians, including evangelicals, have more than just other Christian denominations in mind when they say there are many paths to salvation. For example, among white mainline Protestants (85%), black Protestants (81%) and white Catholics (88%), more than eight-in-ten of those who say many religions can lead to eternal life cite at least one non-Christian religion that can do so.” Certainly 8 in 10 is most!

Last, from the poll text, “Significant numbers of white evangelical Protestants also believe various non-Christian religions can lead to eternal life, though these figures tend to be lower than those seen among other religious groups; nearly three-quarters (72%) of evangelicals who say many religions can lead to salvation name at least one non-Christian faith that can do so.”  Again, just among evangelicals, 3 in 4 believe that at least one non-Christian faith can lead to eternal life for its adherents. Again, that is most! All the data in the poll you cited confirm my position. Also, you make a huge leap when you state that “the vast majority of those who self-identify as evangelical believe that Muslims are going to hell.” This goes against the evangelical grain that salvation and eternal life decisions are made on an individual basis as I have suggested above. Saying that the teachings of the Muslim faith don’t lead to eternal life, is very different that saying that no Muslim will experience eternal life. It also suggests a monolithic position among evangelicals about hell which I would suggest is not there. I must reject your conclusion on both counts.

Finally, yes I do think it is worthwhile to understand what are the specific beliefs and position of someone in the non-LDS community with whom you are speaking. Probably many of the “grass-roots in the pew” Christians might not even be familiar with the actual distinctions of mainstream, fundamentalist, and evangelical Christians. Fundamentalism often carried a negative connotation, even among Protestants, so they may prefer to be identified as evangelicals. I would simply ask them what distinguishes evangelicals from other forms of Christianity. Their answer will tell you if they understand evangelicalism. In five minutes, you could determine who you are speaking with, what the likelihood of him or her having certain specific beliefs and how to dialogue with them. Isn’t all of that important, especially from a missiological, dialogue, debate, or hollering at each other perspective?

I hope I have spoken to each of your points. Thanks for the dialogue and for not “hollering!” Ha!  

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23 hours ago, Navidad said:

 

This comes up so much with you (not saying that is bad) that I can see there is some break down of understanding from us or you.  

So to help me understand I have a couple of questions for you.  Please keep the answer to "yes" or "no" and then I can see what to ask to be able to understand more at that point.

 

1) Do you, personally, believe a practicing muslim with no belief of Jesus as our Savior when he dies can have eternal life?

2. Are there christian churches who it is their beliefs (doctrine/whatever you want to call it) who believe that a practicing muslim with no belief of Jesus as our Saviour can not have eternal life?

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44 minutes ago, Navidad said:

Hi Mark - I can only opine that I can't think of a single thing in your list that is required of me, or that I would suggest, as a pastor I would require of anyone else to have assurance of eternal life with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I assume by "most of Christianity" you are referring to an arithmetical summation of Catholicism and perhaps the Orthodox (in the group sense) as most of Christianity? Of course I can't and won't speak for them if all these things are required for them to experience eternal life in their understanding of their own faith. They can weigh in on that if they so choose.  I certainly don't believe a number of the things in your above paragraph. And more importantly, even if you are referring to Catholic and Orthodox Christians, I still don't think those who I have interacted with in those faiths would deny me eternity in heaven for not believing your long list of things, in addition to my being a non-Catholic. I think you are inventing a straw man in this paragraph. I have noticed a tendency for some of the folks here to make very broad sweeping generalizations, bordering on stereotypes about non-LDS Christianity. These generalizations fail to recognize the broad diversity in non-LDS Christiandom. That used to bother me more, now I just sigh. I also, with equal candor must say that the majority of the Christianity with which I am familiar make equally broad and sweeping generalizations about LDS Christians that border on stereotypes. I tell them that too! Perhaps that is the gist of the divisions within Christianity (including the LDS). I will continue to believe that this division and ugliness between His children make God cry.

Perhaps where I personally get confused is the simultaneous assertion of exclusivity and the apparent distaste for being seen as exclusive. Perhaps as some have said, it depends how we define exclusive and exclusivity. That is certainly fair. I tried to make it more direct and simple in the last paragraph of my post, which you have still not commented on. That is fine, but to me it is the heart of the question. Everything else is distraction. Perhaps as you suggested, I will repost that last paragraph and try and get a consensus from you all so I can bring this quest for understanding to a close.

And I just sigh about your sweeping generalizations,strawmen, our supposed denying you of heaven, and your inability to listen, your passive aggressive pleading for answers, and you ignoring them when given. 

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1 hour ago, Navidad said:

Hi Mark - I can only opine that I can't think of a single thing in your list that is required of me, or that I would suggest, as a pastor I would require of anyone else to have assurance of eternal life with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

And so then there is no requirement for belief in Jesus at all, and no reason to accept you as a pastor, or Christianity at all.  That makes it a waste of time.

Yes I agree then that your way certainly is not exclusive.  If what you say is true it is not even a "way".

It is nothing. It requires nothing it gives no promises.

It does not even define what Jesus Christ is or could be

If what you say is true I don't even know why you could call it Christianity.

 

Edited by mfbukowski
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I have modified just a bit what I wrote in an earlier post. This is my attempt to summarize in one paragraph what I mean by the term exclusive. I think this paragraph reflects the essence of the matter. My question is this, would you as faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints affirm that what I have written is reasonably for a lay person, accurate? If not, what would you amend? What have I said that is incorrect? I would like to move beyond my uncertainty and confusion. I am sure you all would like me to do so as well. I need a simple statement about which I can come to a conclusion. Hundreds of pages and thousands of words don't help. They simply raise too many other questions. This simple statement is I believe the heart of the matter for me. Perhaps not for you when you joined the church, perhaps not for anyone else. Thanks in advance for your consideration of and comments about this statement.

"So my use of the term exclusive that I apply to the LDS faith relates to its belief and certainty that God has restored the apostate Christian church. He purified it solely and uniquely, by placing His authority and plan of salvation (His gospel) in the hands of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This Church then provides the only conduit through which the opportunity, means, and assurance of eternal life flow for all humans on the earth. This authority and responsibility extends beyond the grave into the spirit world where LDS missionaries will offer opportunity for everyone to accept LDS beliefs and ordinances. With few exceptions all will accept because they will then, beyond death know that the LDS gospel was the true gospel. Therefore the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can also sincerely declare an inclusiveness about their faith. After all, it is not your doing that God chose you to be His sole conduit. At the same time that must be a great privilege and responsibility. Take my faith and add your ordinances, authority and God-directed processes and there is hope (not assurance) for me that one day I will live forever in the presence of God the Father and Son. That ultimate decision rests with the Savior. You would add that there is hope as well that I might even, depending on my worthiness become more fully as They are, complete with additional blessings since I have Their essence within me already as a spirit child born of their loins."

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41 minutes ago, Rain said:

This comes up so much with you (not saying that is bad) that I can see there is some break down of understanding from us or you.  

So to help me understand I have a couple of questions for you.  Please keep the answer to "yes" or "no" and then I can see what to ask to be able to understand more at that point.

 

1) Do you, personally, believe a practicing muslim with no belief of Jesus as our Savior when he dies can have eternal life?

2. Are there christian churches who it is their beliefs (doctrine/whatever you want to call it) who believe that a practicing muslim with no belief of Jesus as our Saviour can not have eternal life?

Hi Rain:

1) The way you worded your question with the use of the word "can" my answer is "Yes" absolutely

2) Trickier, but I have to say "Yes" because the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints immediately comes to my mind. I certainly believe the LDS church is a Christian church.

Now I know what it feels like to be interviewed by Chris Wallace. Being forced into a yes or no response isn't easy! Ha! Remember my definition of eternal life is living forever in the presence of God the Father and Son. Nothing else is eternal life; neither living in the terrestrial or telestial kingdom is eternal life.

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59 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

And I just sigh about your sweeping generalizations,strawmen, our supposed denying you of heaven, and your inability to listen, your passive aggressive pleading for answers, and you ignoring them when given. 

OK....It would help if you gave me examples. I sense you are done with this topic. Maybe next time I will post something about Wittgenstein; then I can regain your favor. Of course I have to learn something about him first, including how to spell his last name! Passive aggressive? Wow, I don't think I have ever been called that before. Passive-aggressive and apostate all in the same 24 hours! I am gonna go get a hug from my wife!

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1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

And so then there is no requirement for belief in Jesus at all, and no reason to accept you as a pastor, or Christianity at all.  That makes it a waste of time.

Yes I agree then that your way certainly is not exclusive.  If what you say is true it is not even a "way".

It is nothing. It requires nothing it gives no promises.

It does not even define what Jesus Christ is or could be

If what you say is true I don't even know why you could call it Christianity.

 

Hi Mark: Let me assure you I teach and believe that Jesus Christ is "the way, the truth, and the life" - no one comes to the Father but by Him. If that isn't Christianity, then I don't know what is. Define Jesus Christ - OK> He is a member of the Godhead who came to earth to be born as a baby at the direction of His Father. He then became the incarnate God, fully human and fully God. He willingly placed Himself on the cross to die to provide the ultimate and final sacrifice for sins. He died and rose again breaking the bonds of both death and sin. He then ascended back into heaven where He will be the final judge and judge-advocate for humankind. In that capacity HE AND HE ALONE will decide who gets eternal life. His decision is final. No appellate court. Those whom He, in His mercy allows entrance will learn, grow, serve and enjoy eternity in His presence. I, as pastor, human, or Christian will never be the judge of someone else's eternal destiny. That would be to usurp the role of the Christ, the Redeemer, the only one who sits on the judgment seat. I refuse to do that.

Edited by Navidad
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31 minutes ago, Navidad said:

Hi Rain:

1) The way you worded your question with the use of the word "can" my answer is "Yes" absolutely

2) Trickier, but I have to say "Yes" because the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints immediately comes to my mind. I certainly believe the LDS church is a Christian church.

Now I know what it feels like to be interviewed by Chris Wallace. Being forced into a yes or no response isn't easy! Ha! Remember my definition of eternal life is living forever in the presence of God the Father and Son. Nothing else is eternal life; neither living in the terrestrial or telestial kingdom is eternal life.

Thanks.

I hope this doesn't sound offensive, but we started doing this with our children early on.  We told them "you can explain your answer after, but start with a 'yes' or 'no' first."  Our communication with them became much better.

Ok, 2 more questions please.

1. Qualifying "can" seems to imply that some won't have eternal life.   Is that correct?  (Yes or no)

2. If yes, is that because of their 'behavior' or is it because of a 'lack belief in Christ'?

 

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19 minutes ago, Rain said:

Thanks.

I hope this doesn't sound offensive, but we started doing this with our children early on.  We told them "you can explain your answer after, but start with a 'yes' or 'no' first."  Our communication with them became much better.

Ok, 2 more questions please.

1. Qualifying "can" seems to imply that some won't have eternal life.   Is that correct?  (Yes or no)

2. If yes, is that because of their 'behavior' or is it because of a 'lack belief in Christ'?

 

No offense at all. I think it is a great idea.

1. Yes .......same as with Baptists, Mennonites, Mormons, and Catholics. No church saves anyone

2. Sorry, I can't choose between those two. It could be either, but I think it would more likely have to do with light, faith and seeking, especially with those who have never heard.

That is the best I can do with a forced choice. 

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1 hour ago, Navidad said:

Hi Mark: Let me assure you I teach and believe that Jesus Christ is "the way, the truth, and the life" - no one comes to the Father but by Him. If that isn't Christianity, then I don't know what is. Define Jesus Christ - OK> He is a member of the Godhead who came to earth to be born as a baby at the direction of His Father. He then became the incarnate God, fully human and fully God. He willingly placed Himself on the cross to die to provide the ultimate and final sacrifice for sins. He died and rose again breaking the bonds of both death and sin. He then ascended back into heaven where He will be the final judge and judge-advocate for humankind. In that capacity HE AND HE ALONE will decide who gets eternal life. His decision is final. No appellate court. Those whom He, in His mercy allows entrance will learn, grow, serve and enjoy eternity in His presence. I, as pastor, human, or Christian will never be the judge of someone else's eternal destiny. That would be to usurp the role of the Christ, the Redeemer, the only one who sits on the judgment seat. I refuse to do that.

This is highly exclusive, especially when just before this you said that a practicing Muslim could attain eternal life apparently without believing that Christ is God.

YOU are clearly either an exclusivist or very confused.

This is the same problem you allege the LDS of having.

There is either a correct path or not, and according to this statement, you have defined what IS the correct path:

'" '"Let me assure you I teach and believe that Jesus Christ is "the way, the truth, and the life" - no one comes to the Father but by Him."" ""

No Muslims, Buddhists, Parsis, Sikhs, Pagans, Atheists, Bahais, etc etc

Most of the human population are therefore barred from "coming to the Father", whatever that means.

 How can you say you are NOT exclusivist?

But you have been asked that probably dozens of times but you never respond or explain how that is NOT exclusivist.

 

 

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55 minutes ago, Navidad said:

That is the best I can do with a forced choice

And a forced choice is all the option you give us.

 Exclusivist or not?

Sure in the same way you are.

That is the best I can do with a forced choice

Exclusivist, but everyone will see it as the right choice. And all will accept that choice, thereby not making it NOT exclusive at all.

It is as if you are defining believers in the law of gravity as exclusivist.

As always, it is only semantic :)

Just as Wittgenstein would say

Edited by mfbukowski
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1 hour ago, Navidad said:

No offense at all. I think it is a great idea.

1. Yes .......same as with Baptists, Mennonites, Mormons, and Catholics. No church saves anyone

2. Sorry, I can't choose between those two. It could be either, but I think it would more likely have to do with light, faith and seeking, especially with those who have never heard.

That is the best I can do with a forced choice. 

I think you did great! I was concerned about the question myself, but wasn't sure how to word it better. 

So (recognizing that really only God can judge) would you feel a muslim with faith, seeking for light, but firmly believing in no Jesus (not that he was obstinate, but faithful like you), would have eternal life?

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13 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

This is highly exclusive, especially when just before this you said that a practicing Muslim could attain eternal life apparently without believing that Christ is God.

YOU are clearly either an exclusivist or very confused.

This is the same problem you allege the LDS of having.

There is either a correct path or not, and according to this statement, you have defined what IS the correct path:

'" '"Let me assure you I teach and believe that Jesus Christ is "the way, the truth, and the life" - no one comes to the Father but by Him."" ""

No Muslims, Buddhists, Parsis, Sikhs, Pagans, Atheists, Bahais, etc etc

Most of the human population are therefore barred from "coming to the Father", whatever that means.

 How can you say you are NOT exclusivist?

But you have been asked that probably dozens of times but you never respond or explain how that is NOT exclusivist.

 

 

Mark - We are talking past each other. You are not correctly interpreting what I believe. I think you might have missed a post. No blame implied. I have posted a lot.......I believe Christ is the way to the Father. Period. I believe there are two components of this - 1. Christ's atonement makes the whole salvation process possible. I am confident of that. Without that, no man could come to the Father of Righteousness. 2. Christ sits on the judgment seat. He will judge humanity and determine whether or not they have access to the Father. He is the judge and the judge-advocate. He will judge each person individually and decide who will have access to eternal life with Him and His Father. This is the second way that no man cometh unto the Father but by Him. The first is via the reality of His atonement; the second is by His Judgment. I (speaking only for myself) believe the latter has nothing to do with what church someone attended, whether they went to any church, whether they were baptized, washed feet, were sealed, read their Bible every day (my wife and I do) or not, etc.

I honestly do not know what all He will take into consideration. What I believe is He will use his judgment (pun intended) to make an individual decision on each individual person. His mercy will perfectly balance his justice - I have every confidence in Him. Did you see the post where I posted the lyrics to the song "There's a Wideness in God's Mercy"? Christ is the final judge, the arbiter of who gets to the Father. In this way also He is the way, the truth, and the life. I believe this judgment is based on light, faith, anticipation, and I don't know what else. So of course if He chooses, He will grant access to certain Muslims, Buddhists, Parsis, Sikhs, Pagans, Atheists, Bahais, etc etc., just as he will grant access to Baptists, Mormons, Catholics, and Mennonites, but not all. I have a belief that not all who call or use His name,  will He allow access to the Father. I do not believe we know all the details of what you term "the correct path." There is an Iron Rod. It is our confidence in His atonement and justice. Is the correct path simply being a member of the LDS Church? I don't think so. Is the correct path being a member of the Mennonite Church? I don't think so. Is the correct path crying out "Forgive me" at your deathbed? I doubt it.

It is neither simplistic, reductionist, or knowable. I would think as a philosopher you would like that. Christ is the judge; "He is the way, the truth, and the life." Without the atonement there would be no forgiveness of sins. With it, whether one has knowledge of it or not, there is a path. Am I a universalist? No, because I believe He will say no to some. Maybe He will say no to you, or to me. What confidence do I have? I have confidence in Christ as the Savior and Redeemer. What certainty to I have? None, and I am glad of it. I believe He will say yes to many more. He is the one who suffered and died. He knows all about each of us (I do believe He is omniscient-so we probably differ on that). I believe the Book of Life is metaphorical. I do not believe there are databases in heaven tracking who is baptized where and when. Having said that I fully admit, I don't understand it all. However, I am sure that the fact, not the knowledge of His atonement made our redemption and eternal life possible. I am sure He will be the judge. No appeals court. What all His criteria will be is way over my pay grade. I am sure I will not put myself in the Bema seat to judge you, my neighbor, or anyone else. You don't have to give an account of yourself to me. He is the judge and His death, burial, and resurrection made it all possible. Indeed "no one comes ot the Father but by Him - His judgment, mercy and justice.
 

 

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28 minutes ago, Rain said:

I think you did great! I was concerned about the question myself, but wasn't sure how to word it better. 

So (recognizing that really only God can judge) would you feel a muslim with faith, seeking for light, but firmly believing in no Jesus (not that he was obstinate, but faithful like you), would have eternal life?

I wish you had said "could have" then I would answer Yes, he certainly could. I think one way we are failing to communicate is that I believe all these decisions are individual, for the Mormon, the Muslim, and the Mennonites (the three Musketeers!). At the judgment seat all three - the Muslim, Mormon, and Mennonite will be judged by Christ, as individuals - no need for me to tell him I was baptized by my father in Niagara Falls, NY in 1956 in XYZ church. I don't believe He will care about any of that. If anything He will look into each person's heart, mind, and eyes, and will see something that indeed is of importance to Him. I hope he can see one half in me what He will see in my wife's eyes, heart, and mind. Her eyes will be filled with tears and wonder just to be in her beloved Savior's presence. He will render a decision, perhaps as the scripture says after each one gives an account (the totality of which Christ will know anyway). People tried to invent denominations in the first century. I am of Peter! Ha! I am of Paul! Ha, I am of Apollos! BTW, I always liked Apollos - I think he wrote Hebrews. None of that mattered then, and what denomination or religious group won't matter at the judgment seat either. I will stand there as me, myself and I. Thanks - now I really have failed the yes or no test. Sorry.

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33 minutes ago, Navidad said:

Mark - We are talking past each other. You are not correctly interpreting what I believe. I think you might have missed a post. No blame implied. I have posted a lot.......I believe Christ is the way to the Father. Period. I believe there are two components of this - 1. Christ's atonement makes the whole salvation process possible. I am confident of that. Without that, no man could come to the Father of Righteousness. 2. Christ sits on the judgment seat. He will judge humanity and determine whether or not they have access to the Father. He is the judge and the judge-advocate. He will judge each person individually and decide who will have access to eternal life with Him and His Father. This is the second way that no man cometh unto the Father but by Him. The first is via the reality of His atonement; the second is by His Judgment. I (speaking only for myself) believe the latter has nothing to do with what church someone attended, whether they went to any church, whether they were baptized, washed feet, were sealed, read their Bible every day (my wife and I do) or not, etc.

I honestly do not know what all He will take into consideration. What I believe is He will use his judgment (pun intended) to make an individual decision on each individual person. His mercy will perfectly balance his justice - I have every confidence in Him. Did you see the post where I posted the lyrics to the song "There's a Wideness in God's Mercy"? Christ is the final judge, the arbiter of who gets to the Father. In this way also He is the way, the truth, and the life. I believe this judgment is based on light, faith, anticipation, and I don't know what else. So of course if He chooses, He will grant access to certain Muslims, Buddhists, Parsis, Sikhs, Pagans, Atheists, Bahais, etc etc., just as he will grant access to Baptists, Mormons, Catholics, and Mennonites, but not all. I have a belief that not all who call or use His name,  will He allow access to the Father. I do not believe we know all the details of what you term "the correct path." There is an Iron Rod. It is our confidence in His atonement and justice. Is the correct path simply being a member of the LDS Church? I don't think so. Is the correct path being a member of the Mennonite Church? I don't think so. Is the correct path crying out "Forgive me" at your deathbed? I doubt it.

It is neither simplistic, reductionist, or knowable. I would think as a philosopher you would like that. Christ is the judge; "He is the way, the truth, and the life." Without the atonement there would be no forgiveness of sins. With it, whether one has knowledge of it or not, there is a path. Am I a universalist? No, because I believe He will say no to some. Maybe He will say no to you, or to me. What confidence do I have? I have confidence in Christ as the Savior and Redeemer. What certainty to I have? None, and I am glad of it. I believe He will say yes to many more. He is the one who suffered and died. He knows all about each of us (I do believe He is omniscient-so we probably differ on that). I believe the Book of Life is metaphorical. I do not believe there are databases in heaven tracking who is baptized where and when. Having said that I fully admit, I don't understand it all. However, I am sure that the fact, not the knowledge of His atonement made our redemption and eternal life possible. I am sure He will be the judge. No appeals court. What all His criteria will be is way over my pay grade. I am sure I will not put myself in the Bema seat to judge you, my neighbor, or anyone else. You don't have to give an account of yourself to me. He is the judge and His death, burial, and resurrection made it all possible. Indeed "no one comes ot the Father but by Him - His judgment, mercy and justice.
 

 

I don't understand any of that, and find it very confusing

And no, philosophers prefer clear definitions, and least coherent theories which can be discussed.

So Jesus is our judge but you don't know on what basis he judges us, I guess as long as we accept "the atonement", left undefined.

I don't see that as a productive point of view for deriving purpose in one's life. That provides no direction for mankind.

And you are not correctly interpreting what I believe either.

I believe your way is at least as exclusive as mine, but I see it as terribly undefined while ours is at least defined. 

So what exactly do I need to do to achieve eternal life?

Please make it simple for me.

Give me a list.

Without a list we will be judged but we don't even know on what basis? What's the use of that? How does knowing that improve my life or give it meaning?

Please answer that part.

If the first sentence of your post had been "believe this and you will have eternal life" it would have made more sense to me. At least you are saying to DO something 

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17 minutes ago, Navidad said:

Her eyes will be filled with tears and wonder just to be in her beloved Savior's presence.

Why? How does she know he is her Savior and what does that mean? What did she have to do to make him her savior.?

Edited by mfbukowski
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