Christian Looks at Scripture and Salvation

My occasionally-frequently commenting friend Dick Martin is back in the comboxes. Rather than let the commentary stand there with Romans 6:3-9, I thought I’d pull it out and respond here. From Wednesday:

This passage is talking to those who have put their faith and trust is the finish work of Jesus. By Faith we can receive the Promise of Everlasting Life. for when Jesus Died He died in Your Place. He died for those who’s smallest sin would keep them out of Heaven. Verse 11 say’s that “we are to consider ourselves Dead to sin, but alive to God (IN CHRIST) Jesus. This is the massage that the living need to hear until it gets down in their spirit and they will know that they know, that they know and be assured of having already been accounted for Righteousness. glory; glory; glory. Thank you Jesus. He is Coming Soon.

Many of my relatives were and are evangelical Protestants. So this line of thinking is familiar to me. I don’t want to dwell on what trips up many others, including some Christians, the notion that God bars heaven, somehow, for that “smallest” sin. Sin can be a fixation for Catholics and Protestants alike.

Instead, I’d just like to point out what a modern approach is represented here, namely the one that seeks to “know” salvation.

From earlier today:

This is speaking about your putting to death your Old sinful Nature you were born with.   Baptism is bringing Life into your dead ( to God) Spirit.  If you Have Jesus you Have LIFE. With Out Jesus you do not have LIFE. Born again means your Spirit becomes alive (plugged  into His Life ad Power.) how are dead in your trespasses and SINs.  The scriptures say, “If you believe in your heart and confess with you mouth, the Lord Jesus and who he is, you shall be Saved.  Believe and confess= eternal Life. Everyone has to do this ( Individually ). has to comprehend it and to reason it.

My skepticism on this line of thought has been crystallizing as I’ve been reading Evangelii Gaudium and more materials on a Christian approach that more deeply incorporates evangelization and discipleship.

Those two pillars are supposedly hallmarks of American Protestantism, especially the strain that led from mission to megachurch. But one thing that strikes me as a big problem across the board (for Catholics and Protestants alike) is a focus on a service model of Christianity. There is a minority slice of the People of God who exist (and are hired) to serve and service a membership. The largest portion of Christians are on the receiving end of goods and services. Bible studies, children’s babysitting education, music, preaching, counseling at lower rates than psychology, wedding prep, funerals, a charity to lower one’s taxes, etc.. And to be sure, most of this servicing work is good and needed work. But I don’t think it gets at the core mission of Christianity. And our Bible-based friends like Mr Martin are not immune.

According to today’s formula, a Christian can become a finished product by completely ignoring the core evangelical commandment of the Lord:

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you … (Matt 28:19-20a)

The more I read and reflect on this and review documents and books on evangelization, the more I’m convinced that this vector will be absolutely key for third millennium Christianity. I think it will leave behind older outdated notions of cultural Catholicism. And probably some of the dead-ends of our Protestant sisters and brothers.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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