Wednesday saw some of at the Red Lion to discuss issues arising from this book and ‘The Love Wins Companion’ we’ve bought to help us along. It seemed important to discuss first why it can be so hard to voice questions / doubts in Christian groups.
One of the reasons is the fear of being judged and ‘stuck’ in time in others’ judgments, as opposed to those viewpoints being true for us at one point of time on our journey. This was well illustrated in the ‘Companion’ where an interview with Billy Graham in 1997 revealed a surprising response, for many of us, concerning who is ‘saved’.
‘I think that everybody that loves Christ, or knows Christ, whether they’re conscious of it or not, they’re members of the body of Christ…the Apostle James…said that God’s purpose for this age is to call out a people for his name. And that’s what God is doing today. He’s calling people out of this world for his name,whether they come from the Muslim world or the Buddhist world or the Christian world or the non-believing world, they are members of the body of Christ, because they have been called by Christ. 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’.
That certainly gave us something to discuss along with what our previously held views on who was saved had been and the reasons some of us had come to questions these; whether we believed atheists would go to heaven; whether it’s important to know where we’re going when we die; and whether going to heaven or not is the message of Christianity.
All of this was, of course, set in the context of Jesus’ teaching. It is extraordinary how much of a gap there is between the answers many Christians might give to the question of how are we saved and the answers Jesus seems to give!
We had a very interesting evening, with everyone having plenty to say and decided to do chapter two next week, looking at heaven and what we mean by that – so watch this space for more on that and if any of you out there haven’t read ‘Love Wins’ – give it a go – it’s definitely worth a look.