How may a Christian look at other "worshippers of God" ? Here is
"The plan of salvation also includes
those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom
are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and
together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's
judge on the last day.
-- quoted from Section 841 of The Catechism of the Catholic
Church, (c) 1994 (page 223).
(As the Catholics comprise 52% of Christendom, this is a very interesting
PS -- the person who wants to think accurately about these matters will want to reflect
on the Scriptures themselves: "Whoever lives in love lives in God" 1 John 4:16; "Everyone who
loves has been born of God..." 1 John 4:7.
Billy Graham, who has preached the Gospel everywhere he could, is quoted as saying that God
is "calling out people from the world for His name, whether they come from the Muslim world,
or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world or the nonbelieving world, they are members of the
Body of Christ because they've been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus
but they know in their hearts that they need something that they don't have, and they turn to the
only light that they have, and I think that they are saved, and that they're going to be with us in
heaven." Similarly, Tony Campolo is quoted as seeing it this way: "Jesus is the
only Savior, but not everybody who is saved by him is aware that he is the one doing the saving."
A letter writer to Christianity Today said that "C. S. Lewis explicitly argued for exactly
the same position in Chapter 15 of The Last Battle."
(letter from Craig Payne, p. 10 of CT 3/03, citing Campolo from CT article "The Positive
Prophet" in January CT.) Harold Lindsell, not noted for being accomodating, said that, "A
sovereign God can apply salvation to whomever He wills, including infants, imbeciles, or to
those who follow fully the light of conscience." (p 17 of The Battle for the Bible,
Zondervan (c) 1976).
Itís a telling note on the state of this idea in Christendom today, that I found the quote of Rev.
Graham in a pamphlet denouncing him and calling for strict separation.
I can only commend again to your attention the plain statement of the Scriptures,
above, while cautioning that self-regard for self-perceived goodness and noble-mindedness, shared regard for our
humanness, and many other characteristics can be taken for "living in love" but do not met the
The non-explicit presence and work of Christ is attested in Scripture: "They drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ" (speaking of the desert passage of the children of the Hebrews). (1 Cor. 10:4 NIV)
When Helen Keller was taught about Jesus, she said, "Is that His name? I always knew Him, but I never knew His name."
It is all too easy to become infatuated with such ideas and turn them into a belief which subtly becomes self-serving rather than God-serving, believing that all we have to do is be nice to each other... The passage from Corinthians cited above, goes on to note that "God was not pleased with most of them" and that "these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolators..." People today, we observe, do not make "gods" of silver and gold; they become their own gods, placing their own welfare as the highest object, trusting their own perception where they feel it differs from the Word of God, passing judgment on what God can respectably do -- without first being sanctified to the Lord. (One theologian published the "criteria" that God had to meet to be his God).
(That was a nasty twist to a warm and fuzzy start, wasn't it!)
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