The Compatability of Masons Teachings with the Bible

I thought it best to actually locate and post links to a debate between Dr. Walter Martin and representative of the Masonic Lodge on the Compatability of Masons Teachings with the Bible. This is in response to the following comment by Aaron:

Let us watch it together and see if Dr. Walter Martin engages in “lies, out of context quotation, outright distortion of quotations, bombast, and talking down, to “destroy” “opponents” in this debate” as Aaron suggests that he does.


19 Responses

  1. Hi there,

    Thanks for your comment. I decided to take you up on your offer and check out your blog. I’d say there is probably a lot of interesting stuff here for people who share your beliefs.

    As for your question. I can’t believe I dropped to 2nd! I was first up until today :(. As to how – I posted a youtube video that had not been seen by many – just for a quick post as I was studying for exams and didn’t have time to write anything too long. The post took off and spread quickly. I hit 19 500 views that day alone according to my stats. Definitely wasn’t expecting that!

    I’m sure it won’t stay 2nd or even top 10 next week unless I can come up with something that turns out to be just as popular as I only started the blog last week and so I don’t have many people coming back frequently.

    Hope this answers your question.

    Have a merry Christmas!

    – The Noose

  2. Thanks Noose!

    Have a very merry Christmas yourself. Hopefully we can have some friendly dialouge in the future even if we do not agree on spiritual matters.

    May I someday be worthy enough to have your daily view count …….or at least some great conversation! 😉

    Jim Richardson

  3. For starters, Freemasonry, as Martin asserts at 3:41 does not have a religious service to commit a deceased Freemason to the dust. They have a graveside ceremony to offer Masonic honors to the departed. This takes place after a church funeral conducted by ordained clergy. This is almost always a Christian service unless the Brother is of some other faith. It also follows the Christian service at the graveside.

    There are no Masonic clergy capable of saying or offering a service to God unless you can find some source or proof of this.

    The Marines also have such a graveside service. Which usually follows a Christian service unless the Marine were to be Jewish or Muslim. Would Martin charge that the Marines have a seperate religion on this basis?

    He offers the comment that Masons have such a religious service as a matter of fact. This is an untruth and he knows it.

    To continue, Coil’s opinions are Coils and belong to no one else, and are not binding on anyone in Masonry. To cite one author out of thousands on Masonry as THE authority is disengenuous. He will go on to do this same thing with other Masonic authors asserting that they are THE authority on Masonry. Why? Because they have written a book that sold well?

    Would I then, by his logic, be correct in asserting that Rick Warren is THE authority on evangelicalism?

    Thirdly, he seriously mis-characterizes Coil’s writing on the matters in his opening diatribe. I will now have to get my copy of Coil’s and go over the passages he cites in order to refute his assertions. The book is over 700 pages long and he quotes but a paltry few lines without citing page references.

    There is no way a guest can be expexted tp respond tp random quotations from one of thousands of reference books written on the subject of Freemasonry. He was not even made aware of the fact that Martin would be randomly quoting from Coil’s, a 750 page book not commonly read by Masons, nor used a basis for rituals, or in the library of most Masons, which contains many of Coils personal opinions.

    Or would you be willing to intelligentally discuss random quotations from Charles Spurgeon’s Baptismal Regeneration sermon without having it in front of you for a reference. Or for that matter any of his other published works picked at random? Spurgeon was indeed a major force in the development of 19th century evangelical doctrine and has influenced modern doctrine, but authored many controversial statements within the evangelical community.

    Or perhaps I should pick from any of another 1000 evangelical authors, pick a random quotation and ask you to defend it as it comes from an “authority” on the faith.

    To be continued…

  4. And Ankerberg, as his his wont, lies in his quotation from Edward Arthur Waite, who’s New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry was written in 1921. His quotations are completely twisted to make Ankerberg’s degrogatory point. The book is over 1000 pages long and Ankerberg, because he is a fraud with an agenda and does not want you to read the rest of what Waite has to say, cites no page references. It will take me days to track the exact passages down. But Waite’s point is that any system which inculcates the idea that there is a God as opposed to an atheist world view, is the true definition of religion. Religion in the sense of the belief in or search for God.

    In addition, Ankerberg states that Waite is “authoratative”. Based on what? Waite wrote volumes on the esoteric subjects that interested him from Magic, to Kabbalah, to Freemasonry, and laced them with his own ideas and opinions. He was not asked by Masons to write this book, he wrote it to espouse his own esoteric ideas, Masons did not sponsor it, and many have disagreed with his conclusions for almost a century.

    Waite is considered one of the great 19th and early 20th century mystics and many Masons have problems with him for this reason. Does Ankerberg or his buddy Martin give any of this context? No. Because it destroys their arguments.

    This is the tactic that these sorts of people, Martin and Ankerberg, constantly employ against whatever it is they are against. Unreferenced quotations from rare, voluminous, and rarely read books which they claim to be authoritative based on no stated reason. Or can you cite his reasoning that Waite is an authority based on his discussion in this video?

    As I have said, I too can engage in such tactics. In your own authoratative works such as those by Rob Bell, an authority on evangelicalism, it is acknowledged that evangelicals are too wedded to doctrine, and dismiss to their great loss other religious ideas, such as Contemplative Prayer, etc.

  5. Aaron,

    I can neither affirm nor dispute any of the non-Biblical sources that Martin and Ankerberg quote. Unfortunately this interview was recorded decades ago and Martin/ Ankerberg examined Freemasonry with the information they had at that time. It’s unfortunate that Coil misrepresented Freemasonry poorly. I must remind you however that being in the “hot seat” is not as easy as it looks!

    Aaron if you have a problem with “unreferenced quotations from rare, voluminous, and rarely read books”, then why are you using Rob Bell is your authority on Christian evangelicalism? This is based on what?

    Since neither Martin, Ankerberg, Waite nor Coil appear to be adequate representatives in your view, perhaps it’s time to turn to the pages of Scripture as Martin did during this interview which, by the way you have not addressed nor discussed. Please note also that this video did NOT demonstrate Martin “talking down in order to destroy opponents” in this debate.

    Anyway, thanks for your response Aaron!

    Jim Richardson

  6. It is not that Coil “is not an adequate representative” of Freemasonry. Freemasonry has no representative per say. Martin quotes several sentences of Coil’s personal views out of several hundred thousand words he wrote in that book, and to top it off presents those views as adequate, and authoritative, and does not cite on which of the 700 pages they come from.

    In any forum how can one respond to such a tactic expect to say what page was that on and let me see the book?

    The Waite example is much the same.

    Martin and Ankerberg claim that these sources are authoritative without any explanation of how this is so. That is the example I was trying to make with Rob Bell. You have trouble responding to vague citations from his works (in this case I have no specific passages to cite of what Bell writes because I am not all that interested in what he has to say and do not own his books. I am, however, aware of a number of ideas he espouses and the firestorm they have created among some evangelicals and particularly fundamentalists. They excoriate him. Yet he has sold millions of books and his videos have found their way into many, many evangelical youth ministries. But it is no more fair or useful of me to do the same thing with Bell that others:

    have done to Bell.)

    The point is that Martin and Ankerberg particularly decided that they could make a fortune selling sensationalist books demonizing groups of people using intellectually dishonest techniques.

    So yes, while I continue to comb my library for the exact sources of Martin and Ankerberg’s quotations, lets turn to scripture. Perhaps you should go first and present your honest scriptural objections. Mind you, I have no objection to people not liking Masonry, or objecting to it (in fact Masonry says that Masons should not object or argue with people who do). I have a problem with people who lie and use dishonest tactics to attack it.

    I have the same problem with the attacks these people make on Mormonism. A faith which I believe to be untrue, but which author’s like Martin and more specifically John Ankerberg and John Weldon have attempted to paint as Satanic. The numerous screeds (i.e. Behind the Mask of Mormonism) they have penned against Mormonism all try to lead the reader to the unstated conclusion that Mormons worship Satan.

    They also attack Hinduism the same way.

    This is theological rot at its worst. They do the same thing against Mason insinuating that they worship ancient Egyptian and Babylonian deities, code for Satan.

    Whatever happened to simply spreading the Gospel, the Good News?

    For the record, in case I forgot to mention it, I am not a Mormon, or a Witness, nor a Hindu, but a Methodist.

    So yes, lets turn to scripture. What is your first objection?

  7. By the way, I prefer to take your objections one at a time rather than go all the way through the Martin/Ankerberg video giving my answers to his “Biblical” objections as I would need to write a book (numerous others have). I have not watched all of the videos you have linked to, although I have seen them before, but do believe that the worst example of what they engage in is the nonsense about “Morals and Dogma” but my memory may fail me.

    I do wish you and yours a Merry Christmas.

  8. Aaron,

    Let me absorb what you have written and get back to you very soon (We’re busy shopping right now).

    I will say that I was pleased when you said: “In any forum how can one respond to such a tactic except to say what page was that on and let me see the book?”. Agreed 100%. Martin usually does this himself as his books are footnoted quite well. But I disagree with your view that Martin (I don’t know Ankerberg’s heart) decided that “he could make a fortune selling sensationalist books demonizing groups of people using intellectually dishonest techniques.” Sorry, he was not that rich and though he was abrasive (as was the Apostle Paul), he truly had a heart for the unsaved. I believe his father was an attorney and he was trained as such himself, so those may be the origins of his passions. I wouldn’t be so hard on him; he was a Baptist minister, brought many to the Lord and had a passion for the truth. Truthfully, when you hear your Saviour being attached by cultic religions, doesn’t a passion for truth stir within you as well? We are commanded to share the truth with gentleness and respect, yet witnessing to a Jehovah’s witness will test the patience of the the calmest of the calm.

    Aaron, I’m glad we’re having this discussion and look forward in continuing it over the days and weeks to come for as long as you’d like. However perhaps we should agree to disagree about Martin and just talk Scripture.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours! 😉

    Jim Richardson

  9. The video is a bad example of debate. The representative of Freemasonry was ill prepared and the questions put to him were not presented in a way that could adequately be answered.

    True, there is no one representative who has the voice of Freemasonry, author or otherwise, and like any denominational Christian faith, the meaning and interpretations of the degrees are open and interpretive.

    The specific points of the segment listed were out of context and originally written as descriptors to other aspects of Freemasonry.

    Freemasonry is a system of fraternity that accepts men of all faiths and denominations accepting that each religion has value over atheism. This notion of acceptance is counter intuitive to what most every Christian denomination says is acceptable, in that there is zero toleration for any other faith besides that of its own.

    It is to this last point that I believe Ankenberg and his guest were trying to really zero in on. Its a shame that it used an ill prepared brother to shill on that way.

  10. “We are commanded to share the truth with gentleness and respect, yet witnessing to a Jehovah’s witness will test the patience of the the calmest of the calm”

    This is an error, albeit one which I am subject to. Those at peace with their Lord should not “loose their calm” i.e. “their peace” when someone of another faith fails to agree with them.

    As far as I can tell with my readings of the Gospels, Jesus did not expect all men or women to agree with them. He also never, as far as I can tell, rejected the comity or friendship.

    Like I said, I have no use for Witness Theology, but am always friendly and polite.

    As a general rule, it is not the witnesses who put up what I like to refer to as “hate sites” attacking other religions, but extreme evangelicals and fundamentalists. You may test this yourself searching blogs and websites for the terms “Mormonism”, “Catholicism”, “Freemasonry”, “Hinduism”, “Wicca”, etc. How many supposedly Christian sites do you find attacking these people? How many sites set up by these people do you find attacking Christians?

  11. BTW – I hope not to offend you in any of this, I simply like a good debate. And most anti-Masons fire off really hateful comments which you don’t seem to do.

    Again – I hope your shopping goes well and you have a wonderful Christmas.

  12. Aaron, I agree with you in regards to extreme evangelicals one of whom you can see in my latest post:
    This does not represent truth but instead is simply a circus side show attended by those who have itchy ears and no desire for abiding in the truth of the Gospel.

    Aaron, the command I try to live by (though nobody can do it perfectly) is the Lord’s command to “Love your neighbor as yourself”. It is only through the Lord Jesus that I can do this whilst still in a sinfully corrupted body.
    I appreciate you and I’m blessed to be considered by you to be one who does not attack others. Yet I totally expected antagonism when I started this blog and am ready for it. I am saddened by and regret the ones who attack others, though I can (and will) only be accountable for my own actions. Make no mistake however; Christianity is assailed daily in the media, government and institutes of higher learning to name but a few! Even though “we” get our fair share is still no justification to assail them back. It IS the Christian’s responsibility to “test all things” and defend the gospel that was given once for all with gentleness and respect.

    Aaron if I may be honest, (I pray you respect that) I think your zeal for a good debate is antagonistic at times and moreover you are not playing by the same “debate” rules you expect me to. For example your very first comment back on December 16th, was thus: “Walter Martin was a sick bigot. I hope he died an agonizing death”. Yet you just said above that “most anti-Masons fire off really hateful comments”. Do you see the inconsistency?

    Did Jesus expect everyone to agree with Him? No, in fact He is anticipated it! Let’s take it to the next vitally important question however. Who was Jesus exactly and is there salvation apart from His name?

    What do you say Aaron?


    Jim Richardson

  13. I stand by my comments about Walter Martin. I consider his attacks against Mormonism to have been especially hate filled. I am hardly the only one to be aware of Martin’s tactics and the pain he has caused to millions of decent people. You may wish to call Martin a Christian but he certainly did not behave like one:

    Richard J. Mouw’s comment on Martin’s “apologetics” Fall 2004, LDS Tabernacle, Salt Lake City:

    “The real headliner for the event, however, was stolen by Richard Mouw,
    President of Fuller Theological Seminary. Prior to Zacharias’ presentation, Mouw
    came to the podium to make a surprise statement. He proceeded to apologize
    and offer lamentations on how Mormons and the teaching of Mormonism had
    been abused, misrepresented and caricatured by evangelicals, particularly those
    involved in counter-cult ministries. The cat was in among the pigeons now with
    varied responses, expressed by numerous evangelicals, ranging from mild
    approbation to hurt, disappointment and rage. On further reflection, Mouw
    issued a statement of clarification stating that he knew of only two persons that
    he had in mind when he apologized and those were the late Walter Martin,
    author of The Kingdom of the Cults, and Dave Hunt, Christian apologist and

    “Shoot-First Apologetics
    What a dead bluebird taught Walter Martin about defending the faith

    Richard J. Mouw
    President, Fuller Theological Seminary
    posted 11/10/2006 07:59AM
    Christianity Today Website

    I was chided recently by someone who was upset with me because of my extensive dialogues with Mormon scholars. “How can you engage in friendly conversations with people who believe such terrible things?” he asked me. I tried to explain that if we are going to criticize Mormonism, it should be on matters that they actually believe, not on what we think they believe. I said the best way to know Mormon beliefs is to actually engage in dialogue with Mormons.

    “You don’t need to have dialogue with Mormons to know what Mormonism is all about,” the person retorted. “All you have to do is read Walter Martin! He had those folks figured out!”

    As a high school student in the 1950s in New Jersey, I was a Walter Martin fan. He was not as well known in those days as he would be after 1965, when he published his much-reprinted Kingdom of the Cults. But he was already a dynamic speaker who could stir up an evangelical audience with his engaging, sharp-witted critiques of Mormonism, Christian Science, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Seventh-day Adventists (this last group he would later remove from his list of dangerous cults).

    I wanted to explain to my critic that I had been exposed to Walter Martin’s views on Mormonism long before he had discovered Martin’s writings, but my critic made it clear that the conversation was over. Even more than touting my credentials as a Martin reader, I would like to have said that in my dialogue approach, I was following good counsel that I learned from Walter Martin himself.

    ‘It Looked Like a Grackle’

    The advice came while I was a college student, in a tribute that Walter Martin wrote to Donald Grey Barnhouse. In addition to serving for 33 years as pastor of the historic Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Barnhouse was a national radio teacher (the Bible Study Hour) and the editor of Eternity magazine. Several months after Barnhouse died in 1960, Eternity devoted an entire issue to his life and ministry, with several evangelical leaders testifying to Dr. Barnhouse’s influence. One of the leaders who wrote was Walter Martin, whose tribute left a permanent impression on me.

    Martin told of a time when he had been asked to lead a theological discussion on apologetics at a staff retreat held at Barnhouse’s farm in rural Pennsylvania. During a lengthy break, Barnhouse and Martin strolled the grounds. Barnhouse carried a shotgun on the walk, which he used to shoot at scavenger birds, like crows and grackles, who bothered his favorites, the bluebirds.

    At one point, Barnhouse interrupted the conversation to fell a bird in the distance. When he saw that he had hit his target, he exclaimed, “That’s one grackle less to bother my bluebirds.”

    When the two of them got closer to the fallen bird, however, Barnhouse saw that he had actually killed a bluebird. He was obviously distraught, but after a few minutes he observed to Martin that there was a spiritual lesson in what had just happened. He had been searching for a way, Barnhouse said, of warning Martin about jumping too quickly to the conclusion that someone is an enemy of the gospel.

    “You are right in defending the faith against its enemies, but you are too inclined to ‘shoot from the hip,’ even as I was when I fired at this bird. In the excitement of the moment, it looked like a grackle, but a closer examination would have saved its life and my feelings. It is not wrong to contend for the gospel, but it is wrong to shoot first and ask questions later. What you think might be a grackle, an apostate, or an Antichrist might well be a bluebird you looked at in a hurry.”

    Then Barnhouse placed his hand on Martin’s shoulder and added: “Never forget this. Better to pass up an occasional grackle in theology and leave him with the Lord than to shoot a bluebird and have to answer for it at the Judgment Seat of Christ.”

    Not long ago, I came across a comment by G. K. Chesterton—another sharp-witted defender of the faith who was concerned that we sometimes shoot from the hip in identifying enemies of the faith. “Idolatry is committed,” Chesterton warned, “not merely by setting up false gods, but also by setting up false devils.” A nice way of putting it, I thought to myself. But not as memorable as Walter Martin’s story of bluebirds and grackles.

    Richard J. Mouw is president of Fuller Seminary and author of Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport: Making Connections in Today’s World (Zondervan).”

  14. I believe that I covered my thoughts on Jesus in my response to the post on the Witnesses. I believe that Christ was the Son of God, sent by the Father to minister to this world, and to die on the cross in order to wash sin from mankind and redeem the world.

    As a Christian a believe that Christ leads to salvation. Do I believe that a Muslim, or a Hindu, or a Buddhist can not get there without believing in Christ while living in this world? No.

    And I would never worship a God who created ALL of mankind and gave them freewill, and the ability to make mistakes, but who would cast them into oblivion for one mistake. I believe that anyone can be saved through Christ at any point, before or after death.

    I certainly do not, would not, and can not, believe that every human being that existed before Christ was revealed to the world is now in oblivion, or that the hopeless widow, or orphan, or the halt or lame soldier who looses their faith will pay for it with their souls.

    If God be such a God I have no use for him.

    But I don’t believe that to be so.

  15. Aaron,

    OK, I’ll try to make this my last though on Martin. You wrote:
    “I consider his attacks against Mormonism to have been especially hate filled.”

    Aaron, Mormonism is a religion that rejects the truth of the gospel so it is by nature anti-Christ. Therefore Martin, you, I or any other Christian have a right and responsibility to speak out when Mormons attack Christianity or show up on our doorstep….in love. There is a vast difference between doing this and attacking individuals personally. From my observations Martin never attacked individuals personally just thier beliefs. Jesus and Paul did the same at appropriate times, check your Bible.

    For every Christian that you find who hates Martin, I can find you ten more who would testify against this hate. Aaron, it seems to me that you’re reading a lot of people who hate Martin and not reading at all about those who were blessed by his ministry. Have you ever heard of Ed Decker? He converted to Christianity partially through discussions with Martin. Or how about this indiviudual from Jill Martin’s (Walter’s daughter) blog:

    Dear Jill,

    Greetings from Oxford, England . . . . I lecture on cults and the occult here in Oxford during the school year and back in the States during the summer months.

    I met Walter once, in Salt Lake City. It must have been in the late-80s. I had become a Christian in ’87, as a fifth-generation Mormon. After he spoke, I approached to greet him. A lot of people were speaking with him. I didn’t have a chance to say anything other than “thank you.” That was enough for me. I very much appreciated his leading-edge work, his clarity and charity and confidence, as well as his teachability. Yes, teachability is perhaps something people would not normally attribute to Walter. I saw it firsthand. He listened attentively to others, sometimes seeing enough to warrant modifying his own opinions. I know he encouraged many in their faith, as well as spurring them on in their evangelistic and apologetic endeavors. I’m very thankful to have known of him so early in my Christian life.

    Kevin James Bywater, Director

    Perhaps we should ask Jill herself what kind of Dad she had.

    I’d like to ask you a question based on this comment you submitted:
    “I believe that anyone can be saved through Christ at any point, before or after death.”

    After death Aaron, I’ve not heard this one yet. In light of passages including John 3:3 and Hebrews 9:27 I’m curious as to how this is possible?

    What happened to believers in God before Christ came? The requirement for salvation has always been faith. The object of one’s faith for salvation has always been God. Genesis 15:6 says that Abraham believed God and that was enough for God to account it to him for righteousness (see also Romans 4:3-8). The Old Testament sacrificial system did not take away sin, as Hebrews 9:1-10:4 clearly teaches. It did, however, point to the day when the Son of God would shed His blood for the sinful human race.

    I’m also a little surprised that you wrote this:
    “Do I believe that a Muslim, or a Hindu, or a Buddhist can not get there without believing in Christ while living in this world? No.” Kind of a linguistic double negative there but it appears you are saying that Jesus really isn’t the only savior after all. Did I mis-interpret what you wrote? For I’m sure that you’ve read: Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” and “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6-7

    How do YOU interpret Paul and Jesus?

    Lord bless,

    Jim Richardson

  16. I’ll not argue with you about Martin anymore. However, you should be aware that the most well respected modern day evangelical apologists despise Ed Decker. Those like Carl Mosser who have done yeoman work on evangelical apologetics toward Mormons, along with authoring seminal books on the subject have this to say about Decker:

    “In the sometimes inhospitable world of counter cult apologetics, professional ex-Mormon J. Edward Decker often fairs little better than do Constance Cumbey, Dave Hunt, or Texe Marrs. “Decker’s name alone is enough to discredit a book,” writes Carl Mosser, an evangelical scholar highly critical of the manner in which countercult apologetics has failed to keep pace with its Mormon counterpart (1998; Beckwith, Owen, and Mosser 2002, Mosser and Owen 1998; for a rebuttal to Mosser and Owen, see Ankerberg and Weldon 1999: 315-18). “Decker is infamous for the mistakes he makes describing Mormon doctrine…”

    Page 137 – From False Worlds to True
    Bearing False Witness?: An Introduction to the Christian Countercult by Douglas E. Cowan

    ISBN 0275974596, 9780275974596

    Carl Mosser and
    Greenwood Publishing Group

    Carl Mosser, Paul Owen, and Francis Beckwith are considered some of the evangelical world’s best scholars on Mormonism. Period. Their latest book is a fine read if you want a ration view of Mormonism, something Decker will never give you:

    They are not Pro-Mormon. They consider it a false religion. They consider Mormons to be deceived. They also detest the way Mormon apologetics has been approached by the likes of Decker.

    Now, about my thoughts on Jesus? What have you to say? I am quite interested to hear.

  17. Aaron,

    Francis Beckwith is exceptional! Kudos! Not a fair comparison however since Decker came out of Mormonism unlike your three guys. He’s got a few more theological scars which no doubt motivate him. Yet honestly, I don’t prefer Decker at all either.

    To your comments:
    This is awesome:
    I believe that Christ was the Son of God, sent by the Father to minister to this world, and to die on the cross in order to wash sin from mankind and redeem the world. Though I would ask you ,was He also God, the Son?

    These I need clarification on (but I have already responded to them in my reply above your last one in this thread):
    “As a Christian a believe that Christ leads to salvation. Do I believe that a Muslim, or a Hindu, or a Buddhist can not get there without believing in Christ while living in this world? No.” …and…”I believe that anyone can be saved through Christ at any point, before or after death.”

    Thanks again!

    Jim Richardson

  18. Of course he was also God the Son, that being the idea of the Trinity.

    That said, I am neither an evangelical (although Methodism can have an evangelical strain), nor a fundamentalist. I do not subscribe to the Statement of Faith issued at the Niagara Bible Conference, nor explicitly to the Five Fundamentals of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church.

    I do not believe in Biblical literalism. This is not to say that I do not believe that any of the Bible is literal. Quite to the contrary. However, I also believe much of it to be metaphorical. Jesus himself spoke in metaphors and parables. I rather like the Methodist position on the subject which is that the Bible is the Word of God and whether or not it is literal it was given by God to instruct us.

    I believe that Jesus Christ AND his teachings lead to salvation. So no, I don’t believed one can get to heaven without a belief in Christ but neither do I believe that one can get there with the firmest possible belief in Christ without enacting his teachings in this world. So it would be fair to say that I believe in salvation by faith AND works. I spent an enormous amount of time in college reading verbose Puritan sermons on Grace and to this day don’t buy it. It always reminded me of some sort of cosmic video game where humans were the characters and God the player saving one here and missing one there.

    I believe that God created this world and everyone and everything in it. No I do not believe that all paths lead to heaven, but neither do i believe that a devoutly good and loving Hindu, created by the same God that created the most devout Christian, and in fact, Jesus Christ Himself, will be consigned to oblivion.

    I can not now, nor ever believe that and find it to be a consistent reading with the Gospels. No God that claims to be loving would not offer such a person a chance of redemption. Or at any rate, I would refuse to worship such a God.

    I find that the older I get, the more closely my views on the subject come to mirror those of my favorite author, Mark Twain.

    I imagine that this offends your sense of religion and that you would probably not consider me a Christian. I am fine with that, I am confident in my faith and my love for God and my fellow man and that is all anyone needs.

    I have lots more thoughts we could discuss if you wanted to. Ever since my father became a Jehovah’s Witness (a theology I do not like at all) I have been fascinated by all religion and read voraciously about all aspects of it. I find what people believe and why they believe it. Comparative religion is something I never tire reading of.

  19. Aaron,

    Thanks for sharing from your heart as your thoughts were encouraging, uplifting and not offensive at all. In fact, I would like to consider you a brother in the Lord.

    I think the relationship of faith and works will always be a stumbling block for many Christians. Scripture undeniably communicates that faith without works is dead, yet salvation is the free gift of grace unencumbered by any works lest any man should boast. I understand this to mean that our “works” are in response to the atoning work of Christ which provided our eternal salvation. Salvation was offered in love therefore it follows logically that, since God is love, our response would also be one of (continual/devotional) love manifest through works, not born of prerequisite.

    Aaron the Lord will not consign anyone to oblivion and gives every single person who walks the earth an opportunity to accept or reject Him. For Psalm 19:1 says: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.” And in Romans: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19–20). Though some small tribe in a remote distant land never obtains access to Holy Scripture, they will see God through His creation. Hence it will not be through the worship of an image or a false god, for there is only one true God. Just think about how many possible false gods/ religions that existed during the time of Noah. They all were consigned to oblivion save but a handful. It’s crystal clear how vital it was at that time to know the “correct” God.…just as it is today. Ultimately, God will judge the heart of men and because He is a just God, none will perish will call upon His name.

    By the way, if fundamentalism=Biblical literalism then my convictions are not within that classification. I’m with you, no credible student of the Bible should ever employ an either complete metaphorical or a complete literal interpretation of Scripture. Yet some do to their folly.

    I will pray for your Father as will hopefully also those believers who are led to read this response. I’ll remind you to continue to witness to him with patience and grace. You know, Martin used to say one thing we can agree on: “Better to lose the argument and preserve the relationship than win the argument and loose the soul”. The Lord’s ways are not our ways so I am surprised by nothing when it comes to the means by which people come to know Him.

    Blessings to you,

    Jim Richardson

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