by Bil Aulenbach

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“Bulk of Christians Seek Salvation”—Not Me!

A friend emailed me this statement from a seminary professor: “The bulk of Christians seek salvation.” My friend likes to bait me, and he did so again. In a return email, I used a form of teaching that Jesus used often called didactics, which means one answers a question by asking a question. My questions to him were “What’s salvation?” and “Who is ‘the bulk’?” The truth is, I have no idea what people mean when they talk about salvation because there are so many concepts. Let’s look at a few:

  1. Some believe that when people are baptized, they are saved. I was baptized when I was three weeks old. Before and after the baptism, I cut loose in my diapers whenever I wanted. I didn’t care what time of day or night it was; I wailed until someone did what I wanted. I don’t get how baptism saved me. I was the same me before and after the event—self-centered and all about me.
  2. Fundamentalists state if people are baptized twice, or “born again,” they’ll be saved. I have a friend who was on skid row for seventeen years. He was baptized five times (he needed a place to stay and something to eat) but was still was a roaring drunk. He sobered up only when he took total responsibility for his life and worked through an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program.
  3. Another salvation concept is based on the completion of good works. If a man who doesn’t drink and is nice goes to church, attends weekly Bible study, pledges lots of money, and volunteers for everything, he’ll get a straight pass through the pearly gates when he dies, where he’ll spend eternity with all his friends. His first wife, who was meaner than a junkyard dog, will not be allowed in. I’ll share a secret—not a word of the above is ever going to happen. So why bother being dunked twice?

Here’s my take: Salvation is one of those words the folks in the “Christian club” love to throw around as they ask, “Are you saved?” Heaven help you if you say no. And it’s even worse if you say, “And I don’t want to be.” This question irritates me because it has strong hostile insinuations that if you haven’t been dunked and joined the “Everlasting Love” fundamentalist church, you will live in hell for now and eternity. That question is totally devoid of Jesus’s great message about agape love.

There are many more versions of salvation that make no more sense than the above, but enough of that.

I have no desire to be saved, but instead I seek a way to lead this life to the fullest. I know I have free choice and must be fully responsible for all my actions. No “Jesus, Sacrificial Lamb” is going to cover me or free me from being responsible. Therefore, the idea that Jesus’s death on the cross took away my sins is silly and a waste of a wonderful Jewish man. Finally, the supposed Great Master Planner of this horrendous deed should be locked up and the key thrown away. Today, sacrificing one’s child is called child abuse.

Am I saved? Absolutely not. Do I have the tools to lead life to the fullest? Absolutely yes!

What do my readers think?

Photo in the public domain courtesy of ariesa66.

5 Responses to “Bulk of Christians Seek Salvation”—Not Me!

  • Thanks again, Bill. And now we know a word for answering a question with another question. Didactic. All this time I thought that was an irritating conversationalist.

  • Salvation, Hmmm, sounds like it might be hooked up with Resurrection somehow. Rumors have it some folks believe in it. Reminds me of a story one of my minister Uncles told me. Hope you don’t mind me sharing it here.

    Seems Preacher Ralph was doing his evangelizing out in the country and ran across one of my other uncles plowing close to the road. Preacher Ralph stopped and after a brief get to know you explaining he was inviting people to the revival down at Rocky Creek Church, asked Uncle Logan, “Do you believe in the Resurrection?” Uncle Logan asked him, “well that depends, when is it”.

    Preacher Ralph answered, “It could be today or it could be tomorrow”. Uncle Logan then exclaimed, “Well then don’t you dare tell my wife…she’ll want to go both days.”

    Maybe salvation is somehow related. Whatta you think?

  • When I was young nursing student, brought up Episcopalian, I accompanied a friend to a Baptist Church, I was truly appalled when the preacher asked those that were saved to raise their hand. How can you be sure until the end of your life? Plus I believed it was very personal and shocked to see how they could pick out those who didn’t raise their hand. Never went to another Baptist service.

  • I was teaching a Bible study class years ago…so unprepared for such a task, but small new church and the scholar was unable to do it and talked me into holding down the fort for awhile. One extremely nice and very quiet sweet senior lady handed me a piece of paper Sunday after several months of my offering questions to the group. On it was written…”Here is the Biblical TNT”

    Romans 10:9-10New International Version (NIV)

    9 – If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 – For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
    Hmmm

  • I believe salvation theology was a very late developing theology. It may have been invented by the Catholic Church to sell indulgences…I don’t know but it makes sense to me that that is the answer.

    All I know is that I don’t believe we are saved in a world to come…I don’t even believe in a world to come. I believe this is all there is so we’d better make the best of it.

    I try to just stay with the teachings of Jesus…not Paul or the other writers who imitated Paul and definitely not John….or that writer called John, whatever his name was, before the gospels were named years later.

    I know it’s hard to know which of the teachings those who wrote the scriptures…many decades after Jesus was crucified, ….could actually be Jesus’ since the writers wrote so late they could never have known Jesus or even any of his disciples or even eyewitnesses. I would guess Jesus’ real teachings would be those that were counter cultural in his day. Matthew 25 might be a good start.minus the judgment part.

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