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Posts Tagged ‘doctrine’

The other church visitor, K, and I talked a bit at lunch.  She was “saved” at an Evangelical church and talks like an Evangelist.  She is sweet, if a bit enthusiastic, and passionate about saving others.  She was surprised to hear me say that I don’t consider myself a Christian yet.  I think I am becoming a Christian; I am in process.  She wanted to make sure I understood that all I needed to do to be saved was to accept Jesus Christ into my heart and have faith.  I understand that this is the Evangelical perspective, but I don’t know if it is universal Christian perspective.  I told her that I had accepted him into my heart to be transformed and guided, but that I did not yet have faith or belief in all (or even most) of the main doctrines of Christianity.  I don’t know if that matters.

I think K was primarily concerned with my salvation, which is perhaps another level beyond being considered Christian or not.  And again, my thoughts differed from hers and from an Evangelical point of view.  I think of Salvation as a process.  I think you can have moments of clarity, insight, transformation, even transcendence – I am familiar with this from Buddhism – and these are guideposts on the path to enlightenment and salvation, but should not be confused with Salvation itself.  They may even be promises or guarantees of future Salvation, so in a sense you are saved because you are on the path of salvation, but I think Salvation is a process – of purification, of becoming holy, of becoming more and more God-like.  And it takes time and willingness and the effort of continually being open to God working in your life.  I agree with K and other Evangelists that Salvation comes from God’s grace alone, and not from actions, (although actions are helpful and part of the purification process and are also a result of God’s work in our spirit).

One problem I encountered as a Buddhist was that Salvation/Enlightenment was seen as the result of actions and effort and I never seemed to have enough effort to get any traction.  I was powerless in many capacities.  The blessings and grace of God are necessary and always present where real spiritual process is being made.

Again I think my way of understanding is closer to the Eastern Orthodox traditions.

For now I would say that I am a Christian-becoming and that I am in the process of being saved by God’s grace – a process that may continue through this life and beyond.

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