Alexis Jacobi wrote: ↑Sun Jan 16, 2022 8:45 pm
The Psalms are replete with various messages about salvation and redemption.
Redemption is an aspect of salvation...but salvation is the overarching concept.
They're distinct concepts. If you've never found reason to take a look at Systematic Theology, you wouldn't have reason to realize how precise these concepts actually are. They're not nearly so fuzzy as it appears you imagine they are. There are able scholars who have literally gone through every Scriptural mention of them, evaluating their respective nuances and implications, and arriving at quite firm definitions of terms.
Obviously, you and I can't do all that here: a good book on Systematic Theology is a really big, heavy tome. But it's worth knowing that such things exist, and that the philosophical work has been done on these things to create the kind of precision of discussion that you seem to be imagining not to be there.
It is. Check it out, and you'll see.
...there are many different levels to processes of the aid of God.
When you asked for a definition of salvation, this is why I gave you two. I did my best to summarize in "common sense" language myself, but also felt I owed it to you (since you're obviously quite intelligent) to add in the more expansive, sophisticated exposition you saw in the second definition. It's a sophisticated question, actually.
But sophisticated things aren't necessarily unclear things. Salvation is actually an extremely precise and well-defined concept. Multifarious, it is indeed; but it is not contradictory, not variable, not at all a confused concept. The theology around it is quite solid, you'll find.
And there are many different ideas about what the result of salvation is.
There are both good, clear ideas, and foolish bad ones. But the existence of the latter is of no consequence to the reality of the former.
To illustrate, there are many ideas today about what 2+2 might total to (as hard as that is to imagine: https://newdiscourses.com/2020/08/2-plu ... -equals-5/
). But 2+2 is actually quite a clear, precise concept, with a definite answer of 4. The rest is nonsense. We can simply disregard most opinions on that subject.
how Christians define a sovereign person and the sanctity of persons
There is no "sovereign" person, in Christian thought...nor is anything "sanctified" unless it is "set apart to God," which is the proper meaning of that term.
You see, Systematic Theology isn't wimpy on these questions. There are answers.
It seems to me that when you personalize salvation, and liberation, and redemption, into something that the divine agent grants after being implored for it, that a mistake of a sort is made. Because the ideas are not persons, and are impersonal, and therefore anyone who gets involved with the ideas -- with theological ideas let's say, or ideas about the sanctity of the person -- concomitantly gets involved with the processes.
Well, I could say much about this. One thing is that I didn't "personalize" a thing: God did. I'm just repeating what He says about it in Scripture. That's why I quote...so you can see for yourself, without imagining the ideas are just mine, and so that you can criticize my understanding of the text, if you feel that's warranted.
But the second is perhaps more important. These things are not "ideas," not mere "concepts." These are terms the Scriptures use to illuminate the process of exactly how salvation dynamically works. So one can read the "ideas" and not take them to heart; in which case, the only "process" one is involving oneself with is not salvation but only idle speculation or curiosity.
I say again what both Torah
and the New Testament insist is the case...what the voice at Sinai told Israel is true: those who hear God speak are responsible for what they hear. There is no safety in "intellectualizing" instead of responding obediently...not when God speaks. When He speaks, man must respond. There is no other option.
When one 'joins' the Church,
This is yet another Catholic-Christian difference.
By Catholicism, one is saved by joining the Church. Period. As the old axiom goes, "Ex ecclesiam, nulla salus":
nobody is saved outside of the Church. In Christianity, one becomes a member of the Church only AFTER salvation, as a product of it...not as a condition of salvation. Being in the Church itself has nothing to do with saving a man or woman.
This explains the long period of catechesis, as well. Catholicism depends on a person joining the Church and performing its "sacraments," participating in its rituals (particularlly the Mass, but all the rituals) and remaining in its fold; if one gets out of that, one is lost again. Not so in Christianity: in Christianity, one comes very simply, through faith in Jesus Christ, and without embellishment or ecclesiastical inventions. And churches themselves, while they are congregations of saved people, have in themselves no power to save. That is God's prerogative, not man's, as I showed in my last message.
God's plan never pleases men. They want honour for themselves. They also want power: they want to be able to "do something" to earn their salvation. They want it in their hands. And when it is done, they want to be able to save some credit for themselves; to have some way to remember that they did "earn" it after all...
You will have to spell out what *God's plan is*
I just meant to use the term very generally. What I mean is simply that, at least naturally, man never likes God's ideas. They're too galling to human pride. That could be said of any of the many things God has planned.
...it seems to me that any number of people, millions, maybe billions? have been 'saved' in the Evangelical sense. But this does not mean a great deal really, though perhaps to them, or inside of them, it does.
That depends. If "being saved" is just an inner feeling they have, then it's worthless, obviously. It might not even be true they're saved, in that case. But if salvation is, as Torah
and the New Testament both say, the work of God, it means everything.
does not do inferior work.
My understanding of the dynamic of life itself, at a structural level, in biology, in natural systems, in ecological systems, is that beings strive for power. The name of the game is domination, where that becomes possible. What holds it in check are ecological forces -- other beings essentially -- who also are fighting in the same way.
But think of what a grim view of life that is.
All creatures struggling to have power, and each biting and killing the others to get it? That's truly "nature red in tooth and claw," to quote Tennyson.
Is that all that's going on here? Is it anything but a reductional view of life? I would say it is. But we can explore the bad consequences of that view if you like. It's rather Nietzschean, if not even Social Darwinian, actually.
What I think that you will do is if I present some 'saved Christian' who yet is deeply involved int he power-games of the world, you will say "Oh but that person is not a true Christian".
You haven't given me the chance.
But what I am trying to point out is that there are millions of (in this case I refer to) Evangelicals who declaim their 'saved condition' -- and who can say that they are not?
God can, of course.
But as I said earlier, our concern should be more with ourselves than them.
"No, I didn't do it, God did it!" It is a typical claim, isn't it?
Not from anybody I know. Who are you thinking of?
To give up oneself to God...that's galling to the spirit of mankind.
You will have to define what results from 'giving oneself up to God'. Because if you mean actual material sacrifices, or something like 'renunciation from the world', yes, that is extremely difficult and only certain people seem to want that, or to be capable of it.
Oh no...not at all.
Save me from the guilt of bloodshed, God, the God of my salvation;
Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness.
Lord, open my lips,
So that my mouth may declare Your praise.
For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
You do not take pleasure in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, God, You will not despise.
Once again, metanoia
is the key. A spirit that is " broken" toward God is one that has given up his own preferences and beliefs, and instead decided to bow to God, admitting the truth of His assessment of us, and appealing to Him for His salvation. This, God does not ever despise.
But all that you are doing is pointing out that man, by nature, is stubborn and rebellious. But the larger question is In what way will one connect with 'God's plan'?
Benny Hinn is what's called a "Charismatic" televangelist.
I wonder what HaShem
will say to him?
Never mind. I can read Scripture. 2 Peter 2 says,
"But false prophets also appeared among the people [i.e. in the days of ancient Israel], just as there will also be false teachers among you,[i.e. in the Last Days] who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their indecent behavior, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. ..."
If Christian salvation is just a *state* arrived at (to be 'saved') I am not sure if it can have much purpose in this world.
It has huge significance.
You spoke earlier of a view of life driven by the will to power. That is, indeed the situation of mankind without God. Power...his own power...becomes man's only possible goal and idol, and life turns into a struggle for the domination of some by others. That's a nasty, bitter world.
What will free a man from the will to power? Giving up his power. Why would he do that? To experience the power of God in his life. The Bible talks about "death to self," and rebirth to "new life." In the birth that comes from above, man gives up his own power, and accepts the power of God in his life. After that, he no longer has a desperate, competitive need to dominate others: he can serve them unselfishly, knowing that his hope and his reward are with God.
But that is another issue, isn't it? Christian depreciation of *the world* and indeed of building things here in this plane.
It's not a "deprecation." It's a rethinking of the importance of those things, a placing them in a new light, the light of God.
Christians, you cannot help but notice, are not quietists. Most are in terms of politics...but that's because politics are the strategy of men without God. In matters of charity, kindness, giving aid, sharing and so forth, you will find that Christians are extraordinarily active. And you'll find them in education, medicine, exploration, science, academics, philosophy, the arts...any area in which humankind may be benefitted, you'll find active Christians.
These are active people: just not in the ways the rest of the world values.
I like Dr. Peterson. He's a rare voice of sanity in a largely insane world. And he's doing some very interesting thinking about spiritual matters lately...
Here's one you might enjoy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbVwV8_TEkM