Sunday, 22 April 2012

Who then is saved?

by Peter Lockhart

Salvation is one of those tricky terms that is interpreted in a range of different ways.  In the sermon I posted here I suggested that their was not necessarily a direct correlation between belief in God and salvation, as if it were our 'belief' which saved us.  Thinking later about this I was reminded of the quote by Alexander Khomiakof the Russian Orthodox theologian who wrote the following sometime in the middle of the 19th century.

“The rest of mankind (sic), whether alien from the Church, or united to her by ties which God has not willed to reveal to her, she leaves to the judgment of the great day. The Church on earth judges herself only, according to the grace of the Holy Spirit.” (Khomiakoff in Birkbeck, Russia and the English Church During the Last Fifty Years, p.194)

I particularly like the phrase "united to her by ties which God has not willed to reveal to her".  It carries with it a sense of humility, as opposed to oft found hubris in claims made by various churches about who is in and who is out.  It also reminds me that being drawn into the life of Christ involves acting as the priesthood all believers, which is to say we are given the task of interceding for the world, rather than making decisions or judgments about people who believe differently to me.

This is played out in the liturgy of the church not simply in saying prayers for the world but in our prayer of confession which involves our joining Christ's prayer "Forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

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