Great post from Joel Watts in the issue here.
If I may to categorize myself into something closer to my beliefs, allow me to elaborate on this:
“Mainline Protestants tend to also believe that Jesus is the way to salvation. But many mainline Protestants would believe that perhaps there are other ways to salvation as well. People in other religious traditions, even outside of Christianity, may have access to God’s grace and to salvation as well, on their own terms, and through their own means.”
Not surprisingly, as a Calvinist, because of biblical examples, one of them being none other than the Apostle Paul (although I can cite at least one more), I would like to point out that this mainline protestant believes that people in other religious traditions, even outside of Christianity may have access to God’s Grace outside of hearing a preacher, outside a personal decision in favor of believing Christ or even reading the New Testament, but God will always consider Jesus sacrifice made for these to dispense His Grace upon them. We call these “divine election solely on the secret Counsel of God’s will.*
This mainline protestant believes that God hasn’t given us an “electometer” with which we can detect the elect; this mailing protestant believes that there shall be elect found from the Chinese what was called “bamboo curtain” that never heard the name of Jesus and many other places where Jesus’ name is not allowed as God incarnate; this mainline protestant believes “how can they hear unless someone preaches”, (Paul), therefore preaching, especially in Western culture, has been the main means of inspiring faith that “comes by hearing the Word of God”, but this mainline protestant also believes that a miraculous intervention of the Holy Spirit on behalf God’s elect shall reveal Jesus to all God’s elect (John: 6:37, Mat 11:27, Acts 13:48 and others – I obviously believe in these Scriptures as sacred); this mainline protestant believes if we are to believe that Jesus spoke to the dead, even after four days in the tomb, it is not far fetched that God shall reveal Jesus to His own in a way that we cannot understand whenever He chooses and give them the same reward of those who have been saved for ages (Mat 20:1-16); this mainline protestant believes that, if we can recognize people in heaven and we get there, we are in for a big surprise as to our eternal neighbors! This mainline protestant also rejects “universalism”.
That, I believe, is the reason Jesus sternly commanded us to love our enemies and be kind unto them… We will never know who is going to be our next door neighbor in heaven!
Fundamentalist? Me? Maybe… but fundamentalists believes in: Preaching in mass evangelism campaigns, a very appealing, near to begging, altar call, three verses of Just as I am being hummed by a one thousand voices choir, people coming down from the bleachers, from the balconies, walking down the isles raising the price of Kleenex tissue stock, the confession that you are accepting Christ (expression not found anywhere in the Bible) and the final “sinner’s prayer” as if there is any other kind of prayer…
I don’t believe in any of these…
Okay… I just wanted to identify myself… a non-conformist.