Last Night's Conversation and the Planning Retreat

posted by Jeffrey on Monday, September 26, 2005 at 10:45 AM

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Saturday Greg, Gina, Shaunna, and I [along with Greg and Gina's teenage son Parker--your presence there was awesome Park!] took off to Crossville, TN for an administrative planning retreat type thing. We had a great time relaxing, enjoying God's creation (which reveals His invisible qualities), discussing where we are and where we're going in this journey God has us on as a community of faith, assessing and reflecting on where we've come thus far, and much more. I guess us four are kind of the admin. team of sorts, so it was a great time to reflect, project, and reconnect with each other (whoops, that rhyming thing was SOOO not on purpose--someone kill me now! I'm one step away from alliteration! ahhh).

Last night we piggy-backed on our discussion about Peter and Cornelius's visions in Acts 10 from last week with a conversation centering around Acts 11. In the first part of this chapter, Peter explains (almost verbatim) to the other Jewish Christians what had happened between he and Cornelius in the previous chapter. In his explanation he mentions something that we all seemed to have missed last week. In verse 14 Peter quotes Cornelius's servants, who are quoting Cornelius, who is quoting the angel who spoke to him as saying, "...He [Peter] will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved." Hmm, that's weird. Chapter 10 verses 1-2 says that Cornelius was God-fearing, devout, and gave generously to the poor. So here's the age old question that was posed last night. Is a knowledge and devotion (like that of Cornelius) to God the Father without a knowledge of His Son Christ Jesus not enough for "salvation"?

I myself have taught in the past (using Romans 1:20 as support) that those in darkest Africa who die not knowing the name of Jesus but worshipping the unknown "power" who has created and revealed Himself through nature will be saved. Romans 10:9 says, "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Paul goes on in the same chapter (v. 14-15) to say, "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'"So in light of those passages, will those who never call on Jesus' name (even because they never learn of it) be saved??? To be honest, I don't know. Needless to say, we had a wonderful conversation that raised more questions then it did answers, but then again I love when that happens. I'd love to see some comments from some people much smarter than I regarding this sticky topic.


Blogger Sean said...

I think your correct: I am smarter than you.

September 26, 2005 1:57 PM

Blogger Jeffrey said...

I never doubted that Sean. ;-)

September 26, 2005 3:36 PM

Blogger Kat Coble said...

This is one of the sticking points that I had with C.S. Lewis when I was younger. Now that I am older I don't know exactly how firmly I fall into either camp. Yet I do also point to the role call, where noted pre-Jesus heroes of the faith had things "credited to them as righteousness." Then again--those folks are all PRE-JESUS. Now that we have the illumination...what then?

Paul was contextually speaking to the Jewish believers in Rome in this book, and it is entirely possible that he was merely trying to encourage Gentilisch evangelism in v. 14-15, and not categorically defining the path of salvation.

September 27, 2005 5:37 PM

Anonymous Britt said...

Hey Jeffrey, we started a new book in my Introduction to Christian Ministry class that I thought you and the Gathering might enjoy..."Reclaiming God's Original Intent for the Church" by Wes Roberts and Glenn Marshall. I hope you guys are doing well. Talk to you soon, ciao!

October 05, 2005 3:34 PM


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