Editor Stephanie Gross firstname.lastname@example.org
1:32 pm on Wednesday, June 20, 2012
"Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" (John 14:6, NRSV)
This text, about which you are speaking, as I understand it speaks not to the issue of salvation, but rather the intimacy of the relationship one can have with God, through the person of Jesus (as you see in the text, there is no mention of heaven or salvation, just "knowing" in a relational way). In other words, "if you want to see God's nature, live as I live, do as I do, pray as I pray, love as I love, welcome as I welcome, and there you shall come to understand God." As I said earlier, Jesus was trying to bring Judaism into a closer relationship with God. This is often mistakenly interpreted as a "salvation text." Also, we have to remember that these are words the Gospel writer John ATTRIBUTES to Jesus. There are no eyewitness accounts to the life and ministry of Jesus in the Bible (John's Gospel was probably written some 50-60 years after Jesus' death) and we must also remember that the Gospel writers, being human like you and me, often wrote with a particular agenda and message they wanted to get across. For John, that message was that through signs, people would come to the belief that Jesus is the Messiah. (John 20:30-31).
10:53 am on Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Grant, while many of my fellow Christians would not agree, it is not, in my opinion, about the agreements or disagreements about the Holy Book (I agree there is disagreement and that the BOOKS often contradict one another and with good reason), but the Holy and Sacred story and Presence the collection points us towards. There is a big difference. The irony to me is that some create a false idol of Scripture - something clearly forbidden in the story. Funny, isn't it?
10:32 am on Wednesday, June 20, 2012
I have spent my entire life along the journey of belief, faith, and engagement with the Holy and Sacred I know as God. I have come to and been nurtured in my faith and relationship with God through my relationship with Jesus. I am very clear today about what I believe and feel my eternity is in good shape. I am a student of scripture, knowing not only what it says, but its meaning (as I have come to understand it) based upon its historical context. Faith is not about "right belief" as much as it is about relationship and response. I also believe strongly in grace. Am I perfect? No. But the God I have come to know in Jesus is a welcoming and inclusive God and there is much condemnation expressed towards the arrogance in exclusivity of the Pharisees who think they "fully get it" when no one else does. I very much look forward to realizing my heavenly reward and joining you and Gandhi at the Grand Banquet Table. Thank you for your concern.
1:02 am on Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Whether I think they (or anyone) else is "Christian" is irrelevant. That kind of thing tends to devolve into arguments over who is "Christian enough." As a white, heterosexual male minister who is pro-choice, an ally of GLBTIQ persons, and with a more inclusive view of salvation, I am sure there are some who would not view me as "Christian." I know how that makes me feel, so I would rather go down that road with others.
I have done some research on the Mormon faith and do find it very different from my own understanding of the faith I practice. But then again, so do the people of Westboro Baptist Church and they call themselves "Christian." (And let me be clear, I am in NO WAY comparing Mormons to the idiots who follow Fred Phelps.) I do know that we often condemn things we do not understand and that countless Mormons are good, fine, compassionate, giving people.
11:17 pm on Tuesday, June 19, 2012
"Mormons don't believe in the Holy Trinity or salvation through Christ alone as Christians do."
"Christians believe that salvation is achieved through faith in Christ alone."
I have to admit I have very much enjoyed this thread, I would like to offer a word or caution or at least open the door of inclusion a good bit wider. As an ordained minister within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) I can say that I do not believe that salvation comes through Christ alone; rather I feel that my Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, etc. brother and sisters also shall achieve salvation. I am sensing a broader litmus test in the quotes above. Do I believe Jesus is the Messiah? Yes, I do. I am a Christian. But I believe God is bigger than any one faith tradition. Let us remember that Jesus was not a Christian himself. Nor was it his desire to begin a new faith tradition, rather to bring an existing one into a deeper relationship with God. All of this is to say that "Christian" is a broad label of folk. And when we talk about "traditional Christianity" whose tradition do we mean? Let us also remember the ways the "tradition" has been twisted over the last 2000 years by people (mostly men) whose purpose was to serve their own political means.
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