What must I do to be saved? Research

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DAL | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, May 16 2022 4:33 PM | Locked

Can you help me answer this question based on your tradition? I’m not interested in who’s right, just on what you would tell me if I visited your church, whatever your tradition is.  Examples of traditions I’m interested in: 

1. Presbyterian

2.  Pentecostal; trinitarian or Unitarian

3. Baptist; Southern or other branches.

4.  Catholic (Hope you can contribute MJ).

5.  Orthodox (Yes, you too MJ)

6.  Methodist

7.  Mormon

8. Adventist or Seventh Day Adventist,

9.  Christian church (Maybe DMB can help), etc.

If I didn’t mention your tradition, please include it with your answer.

Thanks in advance for your participation.

DAL

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 16 2022 4:59 PM | Locked

DAL:

4.  Catholic (Hope you can contribute MJ).

5.  Orthodox (Yes, you too MJ)

A dear friend, an older Chicago Irish-Catholic woman with several close family members in the holy orders, loved to tell a story of being asked "Are you saved?" She found the question itself hilarious as its focus is so un-Catholic. In general, the question is considered unanswerable - God is free to save whomever He wants under whatever criteria he chooses to apply. So, the most accurate answer is what you must do to be saved is to be a member of the family of God. The normal path to being a member of the family of God is baptism - physical or baptism of desire. However, Catholic 101: How are we saved? | The Jesuit Post is an excellent exposition on why the question may provoke laughter. 

If you want a more explicit answer:

WHAT MUST A CATHOLIC DO TO BE SAVED?

At Baptism Divine Life (a supernatural Birth) enters the soul, virtues are infused (habitual grace) and the person needs to put into practice (by grace) what has been received.

For the normal Catholic, therefore, the question of one's salvation is not a major concern or emphasis; rather it is to love God by following His will by means of a sacramental life, preceded and followed by prayer, penance, love of neighbor, in one's state of life. There is a trust that God will bring one to heaven because of what He has started in the soul. 

The Orthodox express it in somewhat different terms but essentially come to the same conclusion through less discursive thought. Put another way, you are asking a very Protestant question which many in the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox circles find a challenge to answer as the assumptions underlying the question are so foreign.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 16 2022 5:08 PM | Locked

Thank you, MJ! I will definitely read the material in the links you provided.  

I wonder if there’s a resource or if Logos could make a guide that answers this question from each tradition’s perspective?

DAL

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 16 2022 5:15 PM | Locked

I don't know of such a resource. The Lexham Survey of Theology should serve that purpose, but it (in my opinion) needs serious reworking to be useful.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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xnman | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 16 2022 5:33 PM | Locked

I'll probably cause a stir .... but I'll put forth my answer to this question...

The Question has plagued people since Jesus walked on this earth... from a Church of Christ background.....

In Luke 10:25.... the lawyer asked Jesus that question.... and since people that lived then was under the Law of Moses.... Jesus showed the man what he must do.... which was to keep the Law of Moses... which they lived under at the time...Read Luke 10:25-29.

In Acts 2:14-39... Peter stood up and told the people they had killed Jesus, the Son of God... Act 2:36...  and in Acts 2:37... the people asked Peter, "What shall we do"....  which meant... the people wanted to know that to do to get right with God, or what must they do to be saved?"

And Peter answered them in Act 2:38-39  ... Repent and be baptized (for or into) the remission of your sins. Notice the people believed they had killed the Son of God...Jesus... so they believed in Jesus.... they confessed (admitted) to their sin ...and wanted to change....  so Peter told them simply..... Repent (turn away from sin) and be baptized...(immersed in water)....

Again we have the story of Saul of Tarsus.... which came to be the apostle Paul... on the road to Damascus....  in Acts 9:1-19.

Saul met Jesus...came to believe in Jesus on the road... and asked Jesus "What do you want me to do?" - Act 9:6.  Jesus told him what he must do.... in that verse....

and in Act 9:18... Saul of Tarsus was baptized.... 

So the answer to "What must I do to be saved?"  is rather simple when we look into the Bible... and let the Bible answer....

1. Must come to know about Jesus being the Son of God ...... called Hear.

2. Must come to believe Jesus is the Son of God.... called Believe.

3. Must turn to Jesus and turn away from sin ... called Repent.

4. Must Confess Jesus before men..... called Confess.

6. Must be baptized to wash away sins .... called Baptize.

7. Must live faithfully the way Jesus wants ....   called Live Faithful.

I know out of John Calvin's teachings... that one pray the sinners prayer.... take Jesus in your heart... and one is said to be saved....    but I don't find that teaching or the sinner's prayer anywhere in Holy Scripture....

I know some teach... that one is baptized after they are saved..... but again... I don't find that anywhere in Holy Scripture....

And all I know from God.... is what I read in the Bible.... 

xn = Christan  man=man -- Acts 11:26 "....and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch".

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 16 2022 6:04 PM | Locked

Thanks xman, the simple plan of salvation should’ve been enough. The other comments about Calvin or other doctrines are not needed.

Just food for thought…The original plan of salvation in churches of Christ was: faith, repentance, baptism, remission of sins, gift of the Holy Spirit. This was put together by Walter Scott who had tremendous success with it.  Scott laid emphasis on what God does in response to man’s obedience, the remission of sins and the Holy Spirit.  The current “altered” plan in today’s churches of Christ lays emphasis on what man does (because God has already done his part now “we must do our part.”).

So in reality, we had one plan of salvation by Scott and then someone “modified” it and that’s what we use today.  Interesting history. You can read about it in the book “The Stone-Campbell Movement: The Story of the American Restoration Movement,” found in Logos.

DAL

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Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 16 2022 6:06 PM | Locked

For this Lutheran, I turn to Luther's Small Catechism on Baptism:



THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY BAPTISM



As the head of the family should teach it in a simple way to his household


First
What is Baptism?

Baptism is not just plain water, but it is the water included in God’s command and combined with God’s word.

Which is that word of God?

Christ our Lord says in the last chapter of Matthew: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt. 28:19)


Second
What benefits does Baptism give?

It works forgiveness of sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.

Which are these words and promises of God?
Christ our Lord says in the last chapter of Mark: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:16)


Third
How can water do such great things?

Certainly not just water, but the word of God in and with the water does these things, along with the faith which trusts this word of God in the water. For without God’s word the water is plain water and no Baptism. But with the word of God it is a Baptism, that is, a life-giving water, rich in grace, and a washing of the new birth in the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul says in Titus, chapter three:
“He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying.” (Titus 3:5–8)


Fourth
What does such baptizing with water indicate?

It indicates that the Old Adam in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

Where is this written?

St. Paul writes in Romans chapter six: “We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Rom. 6:4)


Luther. (2017). Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation (pp. 23–24). Concordia Publishing House.

Now, me theologizing based on this: The question "What must I do to be saved" is kinda the wrong question. As the bumper sticker says, "If God is your Co-pilot, you are in the wrong seat." Whenever we look at ourselves we can never "merit" eternal life. God does not grade on a curve, giving us credit for opening the door to our hearts, or meeting any pro-forma work of contrition..The Christian is always a sinner "in res" (in ourselves) when we look at ourselves since the Christian Life is always asking us to keep walking into paths we can hardly even imagine (Eph 3:20). But when I am told what God says about me, and what all he has done to accomplish it, I literally cannot imagine that the one who has done all that will not bring it to completion in the Kingdom of God he has promised me, and so I am fully justified in hope (in spes).

Or, as I taught a confirmation class - Jesus takes our sinful Past, gives us his promised Future, so we can live in the Present. And each day - indeed hour, we are in this same state as Christians. That is the daily drowning the Old Adam in us in repentance, and walking by faith, not by sight...

SDG,

Ken McGuire

Overeducated Lutheran Layperson...

The Gospel is not ... a "new law," on the contrary, ... a "new life." - William Julius Mann

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Mike Binks | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 17 2022 1:47 AM | Locked

What must I do to be saved?

DAL:
1. Presbyterian

1. You are asking the wrong question.

2. Seek to become a friend of Jesus and live in his friendship and service and then ask him what the right questions is.

tootle pip

Mike

How to get logs and post them. (now tagging post-apocalyptic fiction as current affairs)

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 17 2022 1:57 AM | Locked

Mike Binks:

What must I do to be saved?

DAL:
1. Presbyterian

1. You are asking the wrong question.

2. Seek to become a friend of Jesus and live in his friendship and service and then ask him what the right questions is.

Actually, it’s the right question. The Philippian jailor asked it in Acts 16:30 and Paul gave him an answer.  Paul didn’t correct him telling him he had asked the wrong question.  Hence, if you don’t want to participate, it’s fine.  I’m sure another presbyterian will cooperate ๐Ÿ‘Œ 

DAL

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 17 2022 2:10 AM | Locked

DAL:
Hence, if you don’t want to participate, it’s fine.  I’m sure another presbyterian will cooperate

Er, ah ... DAL I think Mike was trying to cooperate. What was an appropriate question for the Philippian jailor in a Greco-Judaic-Roman society is not necessarily the best question in a Christian society ... there are many "correct" questions. I suspect that Mike is on the same track as I am. "God loves me; therefore I love God and trust Him regarding salvation." i.e. a relationship of love/friendship being of higher importance than carrot and stick. Now Mike can step in and say I totally misunderstood him ... But you should note for your research that Catholic/Orthodox/Lutheran/Presbyterian have all responded questioning the question itself. While there are many denominations I would not hazard a guess as to where they stand, it appears to me that you have already uncovered a significant split of opinions. Which is primary -- salvation or relationship?

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Mike Binks | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 17 2022 2:14 AM | Locked

DAL:
if you don’t want to participate, it’s fine.  I’m sure another presbyterian will cooperate

Sorry if I offended DAL, it is always a matter of nuance. I am not certain that the first century jailor asked the same question (underlying meaning) that a 21st Century partitioner would be asking today.

Too often the underlying question is 'What do I need to do to go to heaven?'

My answer was genuine and I wasn't trying to be unco-operative.

tootle pip

Mike

How to get logs and post them. (now tagging post-apocalyptic fiction as current affairs)

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 17 2022 2:20 AM | Locked

Mike Binks:

DAL:
if you don’t want to participate, it’s fine.  I’m sure another presbyterian will cooperate

Sorry if I offended DAL, it is always a matter of nuance. I am not certain that the first century jailor asked the same question (underlying meaning) that a 21st Century partitioner would be asking today.

Too often the underlying question is 'What do I need to do to go to heaven?'

My answer was genuine and I wasn't trying to be unco-operative.

My apologies! I read too much into your response ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘Œ The curse of written communication ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿป‍โ™‚๏ธ

DAL

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 17 2022 2:23 AM | Locked

MJ & Ken,

Based on the responses given by you two and the articles MJ linked, it appears that baptism is essentially to salvation; i.e. it’s what gets you saved. Am I correct in my assumption?

DAL

Ps. Some groups see it (baptism) as essential others don‘t.  I’m just double checking.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 17 2022 2:44 AM | Locked

DAL:
that baptism is essentially to salvation

For Catholic/Orthodox yes with the proviso that baptism includes baptism of desire and the less common baptism of blood (martyrdom) and the proviso that our understanding does not constrain God. 

From the Anglicans:


Baptism of Desire


Innocent II, Bishop of Rome (1130–43), Letter to the Bishop of Cremona, Doctrinal Documents, 1408.

In this letter Pope Innocent II explains that ‘baptism of desire’, that is, the desire for baptism where actual baptism has not been possible, can be a means of grace for the remission of original sin and lead to salvation. The same doctrine is taught by Pope Innocent III, Bishop of Rome (1198–1216), in a letter to Bertolius, Bishop of Metz (1206) (cf. DS 788).

We affirm without hesitation that the old man who, according to information received from you, died without having received the baptism of water, has been relieved of original sin and granted the joy of the heavenly home, because he has persevered in the Faith of holy Mother the Church and in the confession of Christ’s name. Read on this the eighth book of Augustine’s The City of God1 where among other things we read the following: ‘baptism is invisibly administered which has been impeded, not by contempt for religion, but by unavoidable death.’ And read over again the book of St Ambrose On the Death of Valentianus2 which affirms the same doctrine.


G. R. Evans and J. Robert Wright, The Anglican Tradition: A Handbook of Sources (London: SPCK, 1991), 101.

From a Catholic apologetics source:

Furthermore, there are “loopholes” (discussed above) in situations where a person cannot possibly be baptized, whereas he may desire to before death (e.g., the thief on the cross next to Jesus). Thus, Catholics believe in a “baptism of desire.” The normative situation in Christianity is that baptism (if no insuperable hindrance is present) is necessary for salvation.

Dave Armstrong, Bible Conversations: Catholic-Protestant Dialogues on the Bible, Tradition, and Salvation (Dave Armstrong, 2007), 170.

From a Lutheran source:

Because the Scriptures are so serious about connecting baptism with salvation, it is natural that thoughtful people have devoted much energy to answering this question. Some speak of the “baptism of desire.” Others cannot picture God penalizing infants of non-believing, half-believing, or casually believing parents for keeping one from being baptized and thus saved.
The whole track of questioning here is a bit off the mark. Lutherans do not usually start or end with little examinations of every molecule of ink in any text that talks about baptism. Instead, they see baptism as an encompassing act, through which we are “named” and “initiated” and “adopted” into the company of Christ, where we receive all the benefits of God.


Martin E. Marty, Lutheran Questions, Lutheran Answers: Exploring Christian Faith (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Books, 2007), 83.

Sorry but the Logos offerings don't allow me to copy an Orthodox source although the Early Church Fathers are a good substitute.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Puddin’ | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 17 2022 2:51 AM | Locked

John 3.3–5 as obeyed in Acts 2.38 is the biblical plan of salvation—including the oral invocation of the name of Jesus Christ (contra the mere “authority of Christ” argument).

At the risk of appearing self-promoting I attempt to exegetically address the usual objections to this position in the blog link below (e.g., the causal vs. the purpose argument regarding “eis” in Acts 2.38).

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 17 2022 3:07 AM | Locked

Puddin’:

John 3.3–5 as obeyed in Acts 2.38 is the biblical plan of salvation—including the oral invocation of the name of Jesus Christ (contra the mere “authority of Christ” argument).

At the risk of appearing self-promoting I attempt to exegetically address the usual objections to this position in the blog link below (e.g., the causal vs. the purpose argument regarding “eis” in Acts 2.38).

Thanks for the link!

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 17 2022 3:12 AM | Locked

Thanks MJ!

I’ve been watching different shows, the latest, The Last Kingdom on Netflix; though is not a Christian show, back in the old days they seem to have promoted the idea that baptism is what got you into Christianity. King Alfred, King Edward and the priests and monks promoted baptism.  They even spared people’s lives if they agreed to submit to baptism.  Interesting addition to this show and others like Vikings, etc.

DAL

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abondservant | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 17 2022 4:36 AM | Locked

I run through a modified Romans Road with folks.

Romans 3:23

Romans 6:23

Eph 2:8-9

John 3:16

Romans 5:8

Romans 10:9
But of course, as a reformed (Southern) Baptist, I believe that all begins with John 6:44. Unless the Lord calls them...

I usually use part of the visual gospel too. This hand Represents me and you, that hand represents God, this object in my "me and you" hand represents sin. That sin is present for all of us; separates us from God and makes us deserve death I can turn it around, flip it upside down, but its still there separating us from God. We needed some help. So God sent his Son Jesus to pay the price for our sin. He through His death, can remove this for us. so that we can spend eternity in heaven with Him (use God hand to remove sin object, then clasp hands together). For a sinners prayer, we usually have them repeat back the gospel, but in the first person (I know I'm a sinner, I know I cannot in my own power fix that etc etc).

Edit: I saw you ask about Baptism, we see baptism as the first step of obedience after salvation. Vital. But if God saves you, and you're struck by a meteor on your way to obey, we would believe that person is in heaven. We back that up by looking at the thief on the cross.

You get the jist of it. If you're more looking for the order in which things happen in salvation, search your library for "Ordo Solutis". Which will split most of Protestantism into a few camps.

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Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 17 2022 5:03 AM | Locked

DAL:

MJ & Ken,

Based on the responses given by you two and the articles MJ linked, it appears that baptism is essentially to salvation; i.e. it’s what gets you saved. Am I correct in my assumption?

It is the Triune God that is the author and worker of our salvation, from the Father through the Son, in the Spirit that comes from God's Word. We are the recipients of this great gift. We cannot put our limits on God, but we can trust God to do what he says he will do. And the normal way that one becomes a part of the body of Christ is through Baptism.

But we recognize that God's Word doesn't return empty (Is 55) even if it isn't in the "normal" way and rejoice in the witness of the martyred catechumens, who were killed for their faith on the way to their baptism. And we certainly admit that Jesus is Lord of his kingdom and has authority to tell someone dying with him that today you will be with me in paradise. God is free to bring people in however he chooses...

The Gospel is not ... a "new law," on the contrary, ... a "new life." - William Julius Mann

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GaoLu | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 17 2022 6:22 AM | Locked

Here is an unofficial perspective in case it offers anything of research value:

The "What must I do to be saved" question is something like the "What must I do to be married?" question.

The answer is more of a package than a checkbox to be ticked.

Analogies break down, but to be married there is typically attraction, relationship, ceremony, family, etc.  None of those alone "cause" marriage.  They are marriage. Salvation, in some ways, may be similar. 

Salvation is certainly what God does and not man.  But salvation is a proper holy relationship between a person and their God. Belief, freewill, baptism, sovereignty, and more are all absorbed in salvation. They are not hinges or causes, be descriptions of aspects of what happens between God and man.

 This post is not for debate but to offer a perspective alongside officially sanctioned perspectives requested in the OP.

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