Theology Corner

Addressing commonly asked questions about Christianity from the perspective of a non-theologian

Theology Corner

1.)  CAN GOD'S WILL BE THWARTED?

2.)  DID GOD ELECT ONLY A FEW FOR SALVATION WHILE CONDEMNING THE GREATER PART OF MANKIND TO HELL?

3.)  FAITH OR SALVATION: WHICH COMES FIRST?

4.)  DID GOD THE FATHER BEGET JESUS CHRIST?

5.)  WHAT ARE THE TWO NATURES OF CHRIST?

6.)  WHAT IS ANTINOMIANISM?

7.)  WHAT IS SABELLIANISM?

8.)  WHAT IS PELAGIANISM?

9.)  DOES LOVE REALLY WIN?

10.)  IS YOUR WILL REALLY YOUR WILL?

11.)  CAN TWO THEOLOGIES BE TESTED FOR COMPATIBILITY?

12.)  WHAT IS THE FRAUD OF FIDEISM?

13.)  IS CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY COMPATIBLE WITH JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES THEOLOGY?

14.)  IS CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY COMPATIBLE WITH CHRISTIAN SCIENCE THEOLOGY?

15.)  IS CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY COMPATIBLE WITH MORMON THEOLOGY?

16.)  IS CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY COMPATIBLE WITH UNITARIAN UNIVERSALISTS THEOLOGY?

17.)  IS CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY COMPATIBLE WITH SCIENTOLOGY THEOLOGY?

18.)  IS CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY COMPATIBLE WITH UNIFICATION CHURCH THEOLOGY?

19.)  IS CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY COMPATIBLE WITH THE WAY INTERNATIONAL THEOLOGY?

20.)  IS CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY COMPATIBLE WITH THE WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD THEOLOGY?

21.)  IS REPENTANCE REALLY NECESSARY?

22.)  WHAT ARE SOME MUSINGS OF A METHODIST THEOLOGIAN ON LIMITED ATONEMENT?

23.)  WHAT ARE SOME QUESTIONS FOR THOSE WHO TEACH A LIMITED ATONEMENT PROVIDED ONLY FOR THE ELECT OF GOD?

24.)  WHAT WERE CALVIN'S ACTUAL WORDS?

25.)  WHAT IS GNOSTICISM?

26.)  WHAT IS THE UNPARDONABLE SIN?

27.)  IS CLASSICAL CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY COMPATIBLE WITH PROGRESSIVE CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY?

1.)  IS CHRISTIANITY COMPATIBLE WITH POSITIVE TOLERANCE?

2.)  CAN WE HAVE A FORM OF GODLINESS, BUT DENY THE POWER THEREOF?

3.)  WHAT IS THE GREAT WAR?

4.)  SHOULD PRESIDENT TRUMP HAVE BEEN IMPEACHED FOR IMMORALITY?

5.)  WHO SAID MOSES WAS HUMBLE?

6.)  COULD CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE BENEFIT FROM WOKE REVISION?

7.)  DID EINSTEIN BELIEVE ALL CHRISTIANS WERE CALVINISTS?

8.)  WHY IS MARXISM A MAGNET?

9.)  WHAT IS TRUE SCIENCE?

10.)  CAN YOU LOSE YOUR SALVATION?

11.)  WHAT ARE THE SYNOPTIC GOSPELS?

12.)  WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS?

13.)  WAS PAUL ENTIRELY SANCTIFIED?

14.)  ARE YOU LIVING IN A WORLD AT WAR?

15.)  WHAT IS THE DIRECT METHOD FOR PROVING A CONDITIONAL PROPOSITION IS TRUE?

16.)  WHAT IS THE CONTRAPOSITIVE METHOD FOR PROVING A CONDITIONAL PROPOSITION IS TRUE?

17.)  WHAT IS THE CONTRADICTION METHOD FOR PROVING A CONDITIONAL PROPOSITION IS TRUE?

18.)  WHAT MIGHT A METHODIST THEOLOGIAN SAY ABOUT PURGATORY?

19.)  WHICH BIBLE PASSAGES ELUCIDATE CORE ASPECTS OF CHRISTIANITY?

20.)  DO SELECTED NIV VERSES ELUCIDATE CORE ASPECTS OF CHRISTIANITY?

21.)  DO SELECTED AKJV VERSES ELUCIDATE CORE ASPECTS OF CHRISTIANITY?

22.)  DO SELECTED YLT VERSES ELUCIDATE CORE ASPECTS OF CHRISTIANITY?

23.)  DO SELECTED 'VOICE' VERSES ELUCIDATE CORE ASPECTS OF CHRISTIANITY?

24.)  COULD THE CONCEPT OF 'SALVATION ONLY FOR THE ELECT' HAVE BEEN ROOTED IN THE MIND OF AUGUSTINE BEFORE HE EMBRACED CHRISTIANITY?

25.)  DID AUGUSTINE RECEIVE PUSHBACK FOR HIS TEACHING OF 'SALVATION ONLY FOR THE ELECT' DURING HIS LIFETIME?

CAN YOU JUST INVITE JESUS INTO YOUR HEART AND BE SAVED?

One of the core beliefs of Christianity can be stated as follows:

 

Each person who responds to God’s grace and the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ by confession of sin, remorse, repentance, faith and obedience receives the great gift of salvation. Each person who resists God’s grace is condemned to everlasting punishment.

 

  • Each person who responds to God’s grace and the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ by
  • confession of sin (Ps 32:3-5; 1 John 1:8-10),
  • remorse (Ps 66:18; Luke 18:13),
  • repentance (Mat 3:8; Rom 12:2, 13:14; Eph 4:23-24; Rev 2:5, 16, 3:3, 19),
  • faith (John 6:29, 3:16-17; Acts 16:31; Eph 2:8-10) and
  • obedience (Mat 28:20; Luke 11:28; John 14:15; Rom 1:5, 6:16; Heb 5:9)
  • receives the great gift of salvation (Acts 4:12; Rom 1:16; 2 Cor 7:10; 1 Thes 5:9; Heb 5:9; 1 Pet 1:9, 18-19).
  • Each person who resists God’s grace is condemned to everlasting punishment (Mat 25:46; 2 Thes 1:8-9).

 

The salvation of man, which comes by the substitutionary atonement, has many facets including but not limited to:

 

  • Redemption (Rom 3:24; 8:23) - You are freed from the bondage of sin for the first time in your life.
  • Forgiveness (Mat 6:9-15; 1 John 1:8-10) – You are forgiven your sins by God.
  • Justification (Rom 3:21-26) – You are declared righteous by God; this legal declaration is valid because Christ died to pay the penalty for your sin and lived a life of perfect righteousness that can in turn be imputed to you.
  • Adoption (Rom 3:23; Gal 3:26; 1 John 3:2) – You are a joint heir with Jesus to the Kingdom of God.
  • Regeneration (John 3:1-21) - The Holy Spirit makes known to you the will of God and helps you discern truth from lie.       He occupies and purifies all the rooms of your heart into which He is invited. For the first time in your life you are not a prisoner of sin.  You are free to pursue the path of righteousness. This is the first day of your Christian life and you are a new creature in Christ.  This is the mechanism of your redemption.
  • Sanctification (Heb 6:1; 1 Pet 1:13-16) - You are led by the Holy Spirit along the path toward holiness; this is a lifetime journey.
  • Reconciliation (Eph 2:11-22) - You are reconciled with all other believers.
  • Unification (Eph 3:1-11) – You are united with all believers in the Church of Jesus Christ.
  • Glorification (Rom 8:30) – You will complete the journey along the path of sanctification when your mission in this life is done.

 

But, in many churches, confession of sin, remorse and repentance are of little or no importance.  The preacher seldom mentions sin.  Instead, he tells you, “Jesus loves you just the way you are!”  He says, “Just invite Jesus into your heart and you will be saved; nothing more is required.”   

Unfortunately, for many contemporary preachers, there is no place in the Bible where a non-believer is instructed to ask Jesus into his/her heart to achieve salvation.  In other words, no place in the Bible says that, if you ask Jesus into your heart, you will be saved.  But, unfortunately, this non-Biblical tactic has grown to become the norm because it is so easy and user friendly compared to the requirement that you must confess your sin nature and behavior, have remorse in your heart and repent!

The crucifixion must be regarded not merely as an occurrence brought about by mere circumstances, but as the great end for which Jesus Christ came into the world; the motive for the atonement is found in the love of God. Scriptures regard the suffering and death of Christ as a propitiation (1 John 2:2, 1 John 4:10; Rom 3:25), a redemption (Rom 3:24; Gal 3:13; Eph 1:7) and a reconciliation (Rom 5:10-11; 2 Cor 5:18-19; Col 1:20-22). Jesus was the propitiation which calmed the wrath of God and atoned for the sin of man. He redeemed or bought back each of our souls from the bondage of sin and He allowed God and man to reconcile.  In the context of scripture, salvation means salvation from the bondage of sin.

In the 200-year-old words of Richard Watson, the first Methodist theologian after John Wesley:

 

"…the preparatory process, which leads to regeneration, as it leads to pardon, commences with conviction and contrition, and goes on to a repentant turning to the Lord.  In the order which God has established, regeneration does not take place without this process.  Conviction of the evil and danger of an unregenerate state must first be felt."  (Watson, v2, p 267)

 

Conviction comes from the Greek elenchus, which means to convince someone of the truth; to reprove; to accuse, refute, or cross-examine.  In other words, when the Holy Spirit convicts you of your sin, only then have you confessed your sin to God.  Next, contrition means to feel remorse or feel the great burden of sorrow and regret for the consequences of your sin.

Conviction, contrition and repentance cannot be replaced by: just invite Jesus into your heart!  This is also discussed in Section 8.14 of Theology Corner.