Marlene Winell makes a very interesting point today on the Debunking Christianity blog:
I’ve thought that there is a fundamental contradiction in the evangelical message of salvation because, according to them, it is NOT Christ’s atoning death that saves you, it is YOUR BELIEF in it. (otherwise everyone would be saved). Therefore, this is not a salvation by grace, it is another salvation by works, albeit cognitive work. You must DO several things – find out about and understand the atonement, accept that Jesus dies for your sins, feel guilt and express your sorrow for being responsible, ask forgiveness, and invite Jesus “into your heart” to rule for the rest of your life.
I’ve wandered a bit from my initial point, which was that this doctrine is a salvation by works, ie, it is the accomplishment of the believer. Maybe that is why fundamentalists are so smug.
Sometimes non-Christians are quite good at picking up on theological inconsistancies.
What are your thoughts?
Wow! Great sermon… thanks for sharing that link Steve.
That link may or may not work for you.
For some reason, when I tried to listen to it again it cut off after a couple of minutes.
“Maybe that is why fundamentalists are so smug.”
I think you are correct. Pride is a natural by-product of one’s decision. “I did it. I made the right choice.”
We are saved by grace, through faith. And that faith certainly is a gift and not our own doing.
This is one of the best sermons I have ever heard on the subject:
Winell makes a good point and illustrates how important it is that we speak of salvation accurately. Modern evangelicalism has become sloppy in its use of language.
Luther explained the 3rd article of the Apostles creed saying: “I believe that I cannot … believe” The work of belief is the work of the Holy Spirit. Even belief is a gift.
Arminian language turns belief into a work. Calvinism makes belief almost irrelevant. Luther expressed the razors edge of truth regarding belief. The only “work” we can do is the work of rejection.
The scripture says that saving faith is also a gift. It is a salvation by works for sure, but it is the work of God.
I don’t think it necessarily works as an argument against Christianity per say, but definitely against arminianism. But if you see the choice, which is a work, as a predestined gift (eph 2:10), then salvation must also still a gift.