Salvation through Belief?

Discussing 1 Corinthians 15 in my Sunday school class a while back, I was struck by another way of understanding what Paul is saying in v17. Many have treated it as though Paul is saying that it is essential for salvation to believe in the resurrection. But it sounds to me that he is talking [Read More…]

The Salvation of Doctor Who

I had a book by Matt Rawle, published by Abingdon Press, drawn to my attention today. It is The Salvation of Doctor Who: A Small Group Study Connecting Christ and Culture (The Pop in Culture Series). I tend to be wary of small group studies for religious believers focused on popular culture, since they typically point out [Read More…]

Problems With Penal Substitution

DISAMBIGUATION: This blog post is not about penile substitution – for information on that topic, go here. Penal substitution is a phrase used to describe a particular view of the atonement, which says that Jesus took the place of the guilty in bearing God’s judgment due to them. Mike Bird (responding to William Walker) and Andrew Perriman (responding [Read More…]

Are You Backed Up?

I have often been struck by the parallel between religious terminology about salvation and the ways we talk about digital data: in terms of being “saved. And there are those who hope to achieve longer life, if not ultimately eternal life, by making a backup copy of their mind that can be transferred to a [Read More…]

Salvation by Arrogance Alone?

In a recent conversation on the blog, the common conservative Evangelical conversation point was brought up, which envisages God asking a recently-deceased person “Why should I let you into my heaven?” When asked what his own response to such a question would be, the person who brought it up provided a lengthy speech. While such [Read More…]

God with No Strings Attached?

David Hayward has created another thought-provoking cartoon. It illustrates the difficulties inherent in speaking about God. God, as the ultimate reality, transcends our understanding. For that very reason, those who desire certainty regularly fall prey to those who offer them substitutes, the less than ultimate, who claim to being God closer to them and to [Read More…]

Divine Protection

This came to me via Bob Cargill and Thom Stark on Facebook. It nicely makes the point that many Christian views of “salvation” are more like “protection” in the sense that word has in protection rackets. The one “protecting” you is also the one they are protecting you from. Perhaps genuine salvation ought to save [Read More…]

Mainline Conviction

Roger Olson blogged today about a New York Times article about mainline Protestantism in the United States as a major historic force which has been neglected in recent years in favor of a focus on Evangelicalism and other vibrant newcomers. He offers a yes-and-no response to the question of the current vitality of mainline Protestantism. [Read More…]

Salus Extra Ecclesiam

David Hayward posted this cartoon, under the title “Two Differing Views of Church”: One could do the same with the Bible, Jesus, and just about anything else. And Christians have had these discussions, and disagreed about the answers to them, as far back as we can trace.   [Read more…]

Fatalism and Despair in Hebrews 6?

Today my Sunday school class reached the end of Hebrews 6. It is a famous passage, often related by Protestants in particular traditions to discussions of whether “once saved, always saved” and that sort of thing. For those unfamiliar with the text, here is the most controversial portion (Hebrews 6:4-6a, NIV): It is impossible for [Read More…]