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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
               Friday, October 25 2002 

Jon Kennedy, webmaster "Personal" salvation

There is another sense in which yesterday's keywords ("personal religion") are often used and misused. Evangelicals ("Protestants who hold the traditional doctrines of salvation," for any who aren't sure how I'm using the term) say it's necessary, for the soul's salvation, to "know Jesus as your personal savior." Critics of this brand of Christianity often misinterpret the phrase "personal savior" as meaning a "private" Savior implying there's an exclusive hotline to God for their particular faith or experience, the operative word being "experience." Though some evangelicals, too, may naively understand it this way, all it means is that the faith must be an individual's own relationship with God, not just membership in a "faith group" or church.

We probably all know people who've gone "through the motions" of being baptized and/or joined a church, formally professing such faith but showing absolutely no interest in living according to any religion thereafter. Evangelicals stress that that's not enough. Neither the Orthodox or Catholic teachings (at least in their official documents) have any quarrel with this. Many Orthodox writers stress that being a Christian is being in relationship with God, one to one. Also, the whole emphasis of the Orthodox way ("religion" in its essence) is living according to the commandments and through constant communication with God (prayer), getting progresssively closer to God through repentance. Moreover, the teaching emphasizes that such a path is anything but easy. There may be churches that intentionally or unintentionally give their members the hope that just being baptized in the outward form or being in and paying their "dues" is enough to procure their salvation; if so, they're not in any sense orthodox, nor are they evangelical in the way the term is most commonly used.

The objection to the "personal Savior" phrasing seems to derive from the misunderstanding that those who use it are opposed to "church." Yesterday we discussed people whose personal religion is that private, but they're not calling themselves Christians. I have yet to meet anyone who believes that Christians can exist without a church (statistically, I suppose there are some...but they're not a movement I've encountered).

Some probably wonder why I bring this up in a public discussion forum. It has come up in the course of looking for topics worth discussing. And without meaning to boast, I'm one of the few writers who know the various sides of these issues, as represented, well enough to delve into them with some depth and confidence in what I'm saying.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Out too late

The man was in no shape to drive, so he wisely left his car parked and walked home. As he was walking unsteadily along, he was stopped by a policeman.

"What are you doing out here at 2 a.m.?" asked the officer.

"I'm going to a lecture." The man said. "And who is going to give a lecture at this hour?" the cop asked.

"My wife," said the man.

—Sent by Bob Kennedy

Thought for today

Funny?

Isn't it funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell?

Isn't it funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says?

Isn't it funny how everyone wants to go to heaven provided they don't have to believe, think, say, or do anything the Bible says?

Or is it scary?

—Sent by "Cowboy Ted" Lewallen

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