Re-thinking Christianity by Keith Ward

By Keith Ward

Starting with the unique Gospel message, Ward charts six significant adjustments within the heritage of Christianity, each one of which illustrates that theology is a human, and mutable, exercise. The Hellenistic re-statement of the Gospel within the early Church Councils altered the nature of the unique Christian religion, and, many could argue, for the higher. From the medieval Latin elaboration of doctrines of sin and atonement, Heaven, Purgatory and Hell, to the Reformation proclamation of salvation through religion on my own; from the German liberal try to get better the ancient Jesus to the demanding situations of the cosmic evolutionary view of recent technology, Ward attracts the belief that there's nobody essence of religion. actually, the very quest for fact calls for change-and openness to it's openness to a fuller revelation of God.

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But if God wishes that all should reach repentance, God must make repentance and salvation possible for all, without exception. A God of love would always hold the door of repentance open. In that sense, Hell cannot be God’s final word to any created being. It must be possible even in Hell to repent, and God, the God revealed in Christ, must be present and active to make that a real possibility. That is the deepest meaning of the belief that ‘Christ died for your sins’. He did not die for the sins of just a few selected believers.

If that had happened, we would never have been born and would never have had the chance of eternal life with God. In 2 Thessalonians the return of Christ becomes harshly judgmental, for ‘he will come with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance’ (1:7, 8). Such thoughts of vengeance are deeply rooted in biblical thought, and in the underlying thought that terrible evil cannot go unpunished. The unjust will be subject to ‘everlasting destruction’ and exclusion from the glory of God.

In the Gospels, we do not have the actual speech of God – even though some Christians talk as though we do. qxd 1/23/2007 32 2:50 PM Page 32 Re-thinking Christianity Gospel writers believed to be divine actions in Jesus. What Christians have in writing, therefore, are interpretations of, testimonies to, divine action. But that divine action is believed to be in a living human person who wrote no books and recorded no exact words for posterity. When Christians respond to divine revelation, what they hear are the interpretations of revelation given by others.

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