Website owner:  James Miller

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   SALVATION?         12/91

   What criterion will God use in deciding the eternal destiny of 
   the human soul?  On what criterion will he base his decision in 
   deciding whether a soul will be sent to heaven or to hell?  
   What does the Bible have to say on the subject of salvation?  
   What criterion does it set forth that one must meet in order to 
   go to heaven?  This question we have just asked is probably the 
   most important of all religious questions.  What does the Bible 
   have to say?  If we  collect all the passages together that 
   have something to say on this subject (and there are many, 
   especially in the New Testament) we would have a very difficult 
   time stating a clear answer to this question.  Some passages 
   seem to give one criterion, other passages another criterion, 
   and still other passages still another criterion.  When one 
   puts all the different passages together it is not at all clear 
   what the real criterion is.  Some of the criteria seem to be at 
   odds with other criteria.  There seems to be some 
   inconsistencies and contradictions between different passages 
   of scripture.  There may be a number of passages that would 
   suggest one criterion but then there are also a number that 
   would suggest a quite different criterion.  So, considered all 
   together, all these different passages give a rather nebulous 
   and confusing answer to the question.  In fact, they give no 
   clear answer.  The words and phrases that are used in defining 
   the criterion are often rather vague and nebulous.  One can 
   well ask questions like: "What precisely is meant by phrases 
   such as 'belief in Jesus', 'faith in God', etc.".  I personally 
   believe that the real criterion amounts to "turning away from 
   sin, turning to God, and following him by leading a righteous, 
   upright life."  This seems to be the criterion implied by much 
   of scripture and it appeals to my reason and common sense. 

   All I have said, I state as what I think is an impartial 
   assessment of the situation.  As a Christian I think one of the 
   first and most important things that are required of me is 
   honesty.  And I must then be honest in my appraisal of this 

   One of the big mistakes that evangelicals make is to claim that 
   the Bible gives a clear, unequivocal answer to the question of 
   how to be saved.  When they do this they are just not being 
   honest.  They are not being honest with themselves or with 
   others.  This is the beginning of their self-deception.  It is 
   their first big mistake.  They present their particular formula 
   for salvation and quote all the scripture that supports this 
   formula.  And they say the Bible is perfectly clear and there 
   is just no question.  What they do is to simply ignore and 
   refuse to see all the scripture that conflicts with their 
   particular viewpoint.  They persist in lying to themselves in 
   this regard and soon come to be perfectly blind to all 
   scripture that is inconsistent with their viewpoint. 

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