ForumTouchy Subjects ► Random Christianity Stuff
Continued from the atheism thread because it was getting off-topic.
Grayseff said:
Can I ask what the Biblical basis for getting in to heaven without professing the faith or knowing Jesus is? That is new to me.
Melchizedek is an example of a non-Judeo-Christian priest who was considered a legitimate servant of God. Jethro could be in the same boat. Granted, both were priests, but both are evidence that people from outside the Judeo-Christian tradition can be considered righteous. As for people living in years AD, there aren't any positive examples I can think of, but the Bible also doesn't appear to rule out the possibility.

Christian views on the nature of salvation (soteriology, if anyone wants to research it), vary considerably, but the view that non-Christians can be saved is not uncommon. C. S. Lewis notably argued this position in Mere Christianity (which by the way I highly recommend to both Christians and non-Christians interested in Christianity):

"There are people in other religions who are being led by God's secret influence to concentrate on those parts of their religion which are in agreement with Christianity, and who thus belong to Christ without knowing it. For example a Buddhist of good will may be led to concentrate more and more on the Buddhist teaching about mercy and to leave in the background (though he might still say he believed) the Buddhist teaching on certain points. Many of the good Pagans long before Christ's birth may have been in this position."

With regard to the discussion on authority, I'd draw a distinction between the authority of the church itself and the authority of scripture. Catholicism places as much weight on church teaching as on scripture; protestants not so much. Personally I view the church and church tradition as authoritative but (unlike scripture) fallible. I consider scripture to have the weight of special revelation but not the church itself.
DIAV said:
Most Christian churches are indeed heavily influenced by Paul, but not everyone agrees. There is a significant critique from Jesuism, which claims that significant portions of mainstream theology are at odds with what Jesus actually said.
I find it inconsistent to claim adherence to Jesus' teachings while determining that Paul's teachings are invalid. Unless they question the integrity of the biblical canon (which is how we even know what Jesus said in the first place), they should know that Jesus granted significant authority to the disciples, especially Peter ("on this rock...") and that Peter appeared to respect Paul and considered his teachings to be part of scripture.

2 Peter 3:16
"He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction."
  
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