Saturday, March 29, 2008

Saved

This topic bothers me. Constantly. I'm not Saved. There, I said it. The truth is out. I have never been saved. Never said the prayer of salvation or four spiritual laws of this or that or read Romans with any conviction whatsoever. Never, never, never.

I have never had a conversion moment. I don't have a day and time where I asked Jesus into my heart. Don't have a moment where I went down to the front of a church and cried on some pastors shoulder and he gets to score another one in the column for souls saved for Jesus. My fundamentalist friends are sure I am going to hell. They say this is the formula. You must accept Jesus into your heart and make him Lord of your life...blah blah blah.

But how can I accept Jesus if I have never Not Accepted Him to begin with? I mean, its like not accepting the air that I breathe. Is that possible? I grew up in a christian home, went to church and sunday school and youth and camps and stuff from infancy to present. Knew about Jesus my whole life. Figured he is part of the family. Pray, listen, led by His prompting, followed the teachings, etc. What's left? So how does one who has always Accepted Jesus, Accept Jesus again to get saved? Its a strange concept to me. I have friends who did not grow up going to church or in a christian home and never really heard about Jesus and later in life was introduced to Him and accepted him then, but that seems to be a totally different thing.

I was at a conference once where the speaker asked the attendees who had a Date and Time experience when they accepted Jesus and who always knew Jesus. It was about 50/50. So I'm trying to figure out why my some folks put so much emphasis on "being saved". Is it purely a denominational thing? Do Baptists follow some pattern that they see being emulated before them in their worship structure. They are the predominate denomination who seems to require this Time and Date thing. I have been told recently that my salvation hangs in the balance because I have not really been saved if I don't have the time and date thing.

Now if you know me or have been reading my blog for a while, you know how I feel about this. Its a bunch of bunk. If someone feels that the process is the important thing, following the right set of rules, then more power to them. I guess I wasn't baptised correctly either. Somehow I have done Christianity all wrong. My theology is wrong. Just living a christian life isn't good enough without the right formulas.

Whats brining this on is that I agreed to teach a study over Bill Hybels book "Just Walk Across the Room". I was warned it is a bit evangelical, but that there is good stuff to be taken from the study. I read the first 2 chapters and reviewed the DVD and its about taking the time to lead someone to Christ, which isn't bad in and of itself, its just the motive. ITS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO BRING PEOPLE TO CHRIST AND THE WAY TO DO IT IS TO ASK THEM ABOUT JESUS IN THEIR LIFE AND GET THEM TO ACCEPT HIM AND RECITE THE PRAYER OF SALVATION AND .... Argh@#$%!

I guess I suck at evangelism. I am more in tune with St. Francis of Assisi, paraphrased here "preach the gospel, use words only if you have to." I don't feel it necessary to ask people if they know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savour, cause 1. if they don't they'll think you a nut job cause that terminology makes no sense to non-believers or 2. yeah they do and why is this nut job asking me this? I have had more conversations with people about Jesus and Christianity and changed their worldly walk, and guess what? not once did I bring it up. They come to me. They ask me about my life, walk, whatever and it turns to that. Some start going to church and some stick out their marriages and some say thanks and keep on going... but not once have I felt compelled to say a prayer of salvation with them. If they want to do that its fine with me. That is their personal journey, their faith walk, between them and God. I'm just a middle man.

But my fundamentalist friends persist. They insist they will save me yet. I told 'em someone did that for me over 2000 years ago. If they can top that, more power to 'em.

3 comments:

Endlessly restless said...

Hi npp - I understand exactly where you're coming from. I don't remember being born (physically) and I don't remember being "born again" (not a phrase that I'm very fond of).

What I am clear about is committing myself to following Jesus - once as a teenager making a statement of faith; then every day when I get up! In fact, more than once a day - when I realise how far short I fall.

For me the problem with the langauge of 'are you saved?' is that it excludes people, which seems ludicrous to me.

Then again, I don't fit in with lots of norms in my denomination either. Being true to what I believe Jesus wants from/for me is much more important.

KJ said...

ditto to both of you. wow...so well said. I'm a recovering Southern Baptist so I grew up with the Time and Date Mentality. And I believed it all until my late 20s. I was 1st "saved" at 8 years old...walked dow the aisle, shook the preachers hand...the whole deal. I believe that whole mentality actually served some good while I was growing up. It certainly provided the motivation to learn the stories of the Bible, memorize verses, participate in the church community. In hindsight, the motivation was all wacked, but...God seems to do good with most anything. I'm actually grateful for that foundation.

The last 10 years or so have been the richest time for my faith because I have pursued what is authentic about God for me, rather than pursuing God through religious dogma. This is my salvation.

Funny, NPP, I was just discussing this very topic with my pastor this morning!

Good stuff.

nonprofitprophet said...

ER and KJ - sometimes i do get hung up on semantics. But I am not alone. I am going to blog part II of this, as it is warranted. ~npp