My Question:SALVATION

Hi everyone,
I like to ask anyone here who might be able to help me understand the many different doctrines of salvation. Particularly which ‘Ordo Solitus’ to follow. I see many Christians caught up in discussions fo such nature and it always seems to be a big issue amongst some of them.

Since my own journey, I have found that I am and will always be a sinner. No matter how much I try, my thoughts, desires, and wants are always trying to influence me every day. The one thing I have found in my times of weakness is the word of God. It soothes my aching and weary soul.

It is truly my insufficient nature that I continuously fall short of what is pleasing to God. I pray for his Spirit to guide me.

But many people will ask me what doctrines and paths to walk and I feel burdened to answer. I always tell them to pray and ask God to help to guide them.

Am I doing the right thing?

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Hello Br Luke, just so you know, I know of NO Christian who does not have those same issues! Paul so eloquently shared his struggles with this in Roman’s 7 for all of us to understand that we will fight against our fleshy desires until Christ brings us home.

Would you please explain a bit more about what you mean regarding “the different doctrines of salvation” question?

Blessings

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Are you wondering what the different doctrines are concerning how one obtains salvation?

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Hi Brother Zanias,
Thank you for your response and I am grateful. Without any doubt, salvation would not be an issue amongst Christians but the point I am trying to make is how to we come to terms when we talk to fellow Christian of different denominations who take this issue very seriously.
The Reformist, Lutheran, Roman Catholic have very different doctrines that are central to their church and make it a very important issue.
Not only is this important amongst Christians but is now an issue when I talk to non-believers as well. I talk to many Muslims in my country and I have faced this question. I have heard them look away from Islam for that same reason when in this country are Sunni, of the Shafi’i doctrine is the faith Muslims follow and Shia is considered false doctrine.
They have even raided Shia groups and banned their meetings. Many Muslims look at this aggressive separation as a problem and this leads them to ask about doctrine differences in Christianity.
I have always used the Cross and Jesus Christ as central to any discussions with them but this is a question that cannot be avoided especially when they begin to ask about church services they want to attend. Especially now when most services are online and they can watch in safety at home without any repercussions.
I know of some who were already attending quietly before the lockdown.

God Bless

Hi Brother James,
Thank you for your question. Actually I am very familiar about the many doctrines of salvation out there. In the arena of Apologetics, how do we approach that question, with an answer that adds credibility and is pleasing in the eyes of God.
Non-believers use it as an argument against Christianity. I studied Christian Theology at the Seminary and well aware of the many doctrines of “Ordo Solitus”.
I have Muslim, that have been asking me this question often too.

Hope for your input to help me approach it in an Apologetic manner to offer an answer to them. Thank you and God Bless.

Ah - so you’re wanting to know about the order, or the sequence of events, the steps involved in the salvation of a soul - is that it?

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Hi Ram.
First and foremost there is nobody righteous before God. ROM 3: 11 - None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for god.
1John 3: 8-10 is about being reborn in Christ and only with God’s seed, that is the Holy Spirit can we keep from sinning.
There is none who is sinless before God, and judgement is by the Lord, not ours. In my humility, I seek God every day to give me the strength to do what is pleasing to God. Those who claim righteousness are under whose judgement? For Christ said in Matt 7:1-2 - Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgement you pronounce, you will be judge, and with the measure, you use it will be measured to you.
I don’t claim any righteousness or anything more but I am well aware of my sin nature. It is in scripture and the promise of the Cross and Jesus’s resurrection that I place my sinful soul. I acknowledge my humanistic nature and I am in constant turmoil in living a life that is pleasing to God. My knowledge of my deficiencies keeps me aware of the evil around me.
It is within those parameters that I ask anyone here who can provide an answer to the question of “Ordo Salutis” - order to salvation.
Many denominations claim different stages to salvation as many of you realize and this is becoming a question amongst non-believers.

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Hi James, @jlyons
Yes, The reason I ask is that many non-believers who are seeking answers become disoriented and confused when it comes to the doctrines of salvation. In the apologetic arena, a question like this can be very important so as not to confuse the non-believer.
I am trying to get an idea of how others here approach this question when talking with others.
Thank you and God Bless

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Hi Luke, I apologize for the delay in responding to your question. I believe I understand your question to be, “how do we deal with people from the numerous denominations and their understanding of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ”. Is that close?

Unfortunately, this is not a problem limited only to Christianity as you also indicate. It affects almost every religious group. Islam has multiple sects or denominations as doe Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. It is a real human problem because God made us in His image with free will and minds and senses that hear what we want and think as we like. Pride affects many things.

Fortunately, we Christians have a place to go where Truth resides, the Bible, and access to the author, the Spirit, to help us get to the Truth and to be able to mostly get to a point of unity where we can agree on the important truths of our faith. This can only come and must come from an open, honest, and willing study of God’s Word. We see His direction for reaching unity in Eph 4. However, it isn’t easy nor, sadly, will it happen this side of glory but that doesn’t mean we should give up!

How I approach it? I invite as many as want to come to Bible studies where we look at God’s Word and work out what it is saying. There are some mysteries that we cannot fully comprehend BUT we can comprehend the important points of sin, righteousness, and judgement to come.

Your heart seems to be in the right place, Luke, don’t let the world (Satan’s domain) stop you from sharing Christ. Don’t let the different theologies of men rob you of the joy of your salvation in Christ. Don’t get hung up or locked in to a view of God that can’t be changed as He reveals more and more of Himself in the pages of the Word. I’m sure you have noticed that as you continue to grow in your faith and sanctification, you see things differently and more clearly. How exciting is that!

God bless,
Peter

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Also tell them to read the Bible. The Bible teaches us how to be saved and how to live. :slight_smile:

Hi David @logician36,
Without any doubt, the Bible is the foundation upon which we live by and account our sinful nature towards redemption. But unfortunately, many doctrines have been written for a Christian to find salvation. Different denominations prescribe different ways of achieving salvation.
My question is an open question to get views on how we answer this question to a nonbeliever. I too have my own believes in achieving redemption which is in the Triune God, centred on the cross and what Jesus did for us and the power of the Holy Spirit in my life today.

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I would describe the steps in the process of a conversion like this:

At some point in a child’s life, he will become aware that he has done wrong, and he will feel guilt and shame. He will probably try to hide his sin from his parents, he may lie to evade accountability. But at that point, he has become morally aware. His conscience has awakened. He is confronted with his need for forgiveness. For Christian parents, this would be a golden “teaching moment”.

As the child grows and asks his endless “why” questions, he will be exposed to creation, and in most homes, he will be instructed about God. He is beginning to make connections between his moral accountability and his Creator.

In a Christian home, the child will be exposed to the stories that explain how Christ has paid for his sins and how he can come to Christ for forgiveness and be changed on the inside. Most people who come to Christ do so during their childhood years.

But even those who come by stranger paths must first become morally aware, and must recognize their accountability to their Creator. And there is only so much that creation can reveal about God. At some point, there must be a revelation of the gospel - how shall they hear without a preacher?

Moral awareness…“God” awareness…gospel awareness…

But being aware of these truths is not enough. The Holy Spirit must convince the sinner of his need to repent and place his trust in the death of Christ to pay for his sins and the resurrection of Christ to raise him to new life. And as the Spirit draws him, as the sinner yields his will to God’s, then he is justified before God in a moment of Spiritual conversion:

a) the old man he used to be on the inside is crucified with Christ,
b) a new man is raised up within him (or born within him - the Bible uses both expressions),
c) this indwelling Spirit interconnects him in a Spiritual union with all other saints across the ages and around the world (the Bible describes this as being baptized by the Spirit into the Body of Christ),
d) he becomes an immediate heir to a glorious future - this is the actual point of adoption.

As His life proceeds, he will experience a lifelong process of sanctification whereby the indwelling Spirit conforms him by increasing degrees into the likeness of Christ.

And this process will be consummated when he leaves this world and stands perfect before his Savior in the afterlife.

Moral awareness…“God” awareness…gospel awareness…Spiritual conviction…justification by faith… sanctification throughout life…glorification in eternity.

I will admit that I have simplified this greatly, so if you have any more specific questions about certain steps in this process, let me know and I will try to answer as best I can.

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Hi James @jlyons
I am truly blessed with your reply and is greatly appreciated. There are many doctrines for salvation which are used by many different churches and ultimately it is the cross and the significance it represents for all believers. No matter what denomination we adhere to, without Christ there is no salvation.

The interesting question is when we talk to non-believers and the question is asked, why isn’t there one doctrine of salvation. Especially, when talking to Muslim who are seeking answers.

All churches hold to the doctrine of salvation from the Cross and Jesus Christ but follow many different interpretations of salvation. Even the rites of baptism is a very touchy subject.

I deeply appreciate your answer and look forward to sharing with you more.

God Bless

Yes - I see your point. I would say that there is one doctrine of salvation that has been historically common to all genuinely Christian denominations - salvation by the grace of God through the repentant sinner’s faith in the gospel of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection for our sins.

This has been the critical element that for centuries now has united Lutherans, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists, Quakers, Mennonites, Pentecostals and scores of others. Regardless of their many other differences, these groups would all agree that those who follow the historic teachings common among them concerning salvation are truly brethren in Christ.

There are a few groups that characterize themselves as genuinely Christian who make salvation a combination of faith and works, but most Christians generally recognize these as cultic. Still, it is reasonable to suppose that there may be misguided people involved in these pseudo-christian groups who have believed the gospel, not because of what their church teaches but in spite of it. Just as there are people involved in genuinely Christian churches who have never truly trusted the grace of God through the gospel alone.

For that reason, any given individual’s claim of salvation would need to be evaluated on a case by case basis. But they will all either say they are saved by the grace of God through faith in His gospel, or they will say they’re saved by some combination of faith plus works.

Those are really the only two answers I’ve ever heard from anyone claiming to be a Christian.

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Hi Luke,

Thank you for asking this question. Can you clarify me on this? What are the different doctrines of Salvation you are referring to?

Blessings!

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Hi Elio @elsie.elio
Thank you for your question. ‘Ordo Solitus’, describes the process by which the work of salvation wrought in Christ is subjectively realized. How do we know we are being or saved?

Firstly, the Bible does not explicitly gives us a complete order of salvation but offers sufficient process or steps. The closest mention is in
Rom 8: 29-30 - For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those who he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

The doctrine of the order of salvation is the fruit of the Reformation. So we have the 1. Reformist view, the 2. Lutheran view, the 3. Roman Catholic view, 4. The Arminian view and 5. the Wesleyan view. These are the ones I have studied in seminary. You can get a wonderful insight in Louis Berkhof book - 'Systematic Theology - complete combined edition 1996 - Eerdmans Publishing Pg 415-422.

I like Berkhof comments to the various doctrines.

Back to my original question. If there are various doctrines of salvation ‘Ordo Solitus’ and plus the various doctrines of atonement (which I won’t talk about yet), how do we provide a good answer to the questions from a non-believer without having a non-believer being weighed by the burden of church doctrines? I like to hear your opinions on this subject.

Thank you and God Bless

Hi Luke,

How are you. My apologies for the delayed reply.

Yes you are right that the work of salvation is subjectively realized. Some recent theologians such as Karl Barth, G. Berkouwer and H. Ridderbos have criticised the idea of an “order of salvation.” For example, Barth sees the ordo salutis as running the risk of “psychologizing” salvation and Berkouwer is concerned the ordering does not do justice to the “fullness” of salvation. Another criticism comes from Richard Gaffin who asserts “that union with Christ is for Paul the overarching factor within which the various elements of the order of Salvation are to be considered.” (Robert Letham The Westminster Assembly (Phillipsburg: P&R, 2009): 245.)

However, those wishing to sustain an idea of sequential order in salvation appeal to Romans 8:29-30 (KJV); For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

I agree with James Lyon that there is only one doctrine of Salvation – Faith in Jesus plus nothing (Ephesians 2:8-9) and our basis is 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.

I hope I contributed something here.

Blessings

Elsie

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Hi Elsie @elsie.elio

Wonderfully put and I concur full-heartedly. The theological upheaval pertaining to the doctrine of salvation has divided the church as well. Sadly enough.

In the apologetics arena, I find that when we are faced with this question, there are two ways to proceed. If the Questioner is looking for a debate and a confrontation, any answer will not suffice. If the Questioner is truly seeking truth, then for an apologist, we must focus on Christ. How Christ offers that answers to all questions in our life. Once the motives of the questioner are established, how we approach the answers will take very different approaches.

Thank you for sharing your answer. God Bless