ELITISM

Saving some people or saving all?

This is one of the great questions presented by the New Testament:  is God in the business of damning the “bad guys,” or are we all somewhat the captives of our delusions, and God’s love is extended to all?

Those who think they are part of an elite to be saved may be right.  Or maybe not.

How can we partake of Wisdom and escape our delusions so that we can light up the world, incarnate the world?

We are all chosen for this fulfilling task and we’re in this together.

Who is God going to damn?  Those who are “sinners”?  Who’s not?  We’re all learning.

Is God going to damn those who haven’t said they believe what I believe?

Is there a god out there who will fail to give someone what is necessary in order to repent and then damn the person for that lack?  Will God fail to impart Wisdom?

Is it someone else’s responsibility to “save” me?  (Give me strength.)  Sure, people are entitled to their opinions, but when they have an attitude of “you-are-damned-unless-you-go-to-my-Church,” they are not going to convince me of anything except that they need some help.

Is God going to damn all the “bad” people so that the saved can be tortured for all eternity having to remember the trauma of losing them?  Real Christians value all people and would indeed be traumatized thinking of the loss of even one.

And of course if Jesus actually said things like, “we are all one and all children of God,” then he would not have set himself up as a god, separate and above all other people.  The height of elitism.

God did not fail to impart Wisdom to Jesus.

Does God have a favorite Church?

Those who prided themselves on being in with the in-crowd in high school will definitely be miffed if Jesus doesn’t arrive and practice the same sort of snobbishness.

Is there a puzzle to go with this?  Sure.

In Matthew 26:28 and Mark 14:24, Jesus sanctifies the cup “for many.”  In Isaiah 53:12{11}, it is the servant suffering for the “sins of many.”  But in Luke 22:19-20, it is my body “for you” and blood “for you.”  In 1 Corinthians 11:24, it is again, body “for you.”  So is salvation for “many” or is salvation for “you” and “you” and “you” and so on?  Is it for everyone who ever read those words, and more, for everyone who ever was?  Or is it only for “many”?

This is an issue in the new Roman Catholic liturgy.  The Church hierarchs have reverted to “many” in the new liturgy, in place of the previously inclusive “all.”

Oh, not exactly.  I see that the old St. Joseph’s missal has in the Eucharistic prayers:  “shed for you and for all men.”  Excuse me?  “Men”? “MEN”?!!!  And women willingly sat in the pews and listened to this.  For how many decades?  Incredible.  This male-speak is awkward and elitist.  But evidently, for many women, an indignity well worth enduring for the privilege of being a member of an elite flock.

OK.  What does Paul say?  Romans 8:32, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all.”  ALL.  Also, 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, “one died for all . . . . he died for all.”  Definitely ALL in these verses.  (NT taken from the inclusive TNIV.)

Well, there are verses that seem to contradict, that even go so far as to say there is an “elect” to be saved (Matthew 24:22, 24, 31; Mark 13:20, 22, 27).  Are these elect an exclusive minority?  When John 17:2 says Jesus has authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those God has given to him, is it only some people or all?  Rather than go back and forth on this interminably, I’ll say the issue is presented in ambivalent fashion in the biblical texts so that the reader is empowered and encouraged to decide for herself or himself.

Of what use are the Church hierarchs if Jesus came for all?  It seems to me that the hierarchs who wrote that salvation is for “many,” were writing in their own self-interest.  Salvation is only for those who congregate with the hierarchs (and make regular weekly donations)?  These churchmen need a Jesus diminutive enough to fit in their Church so people will feel compelled to go to that Church.  The best the churchmen can offer is a teeny-tiny church-Jesus incapable of saving all; a Jesus whose life was an exercise in futility for many; the implication being that God is willing to throw away many of God’s own children.  The churchmen don’t offer a magnificent Jesus, capable of transforming the whole universe and everything in it, even me.

Notice I said “transforming.”  Had to get past all that body/blood/Son-killing stuff somehow.  Personally, I feel the need to transform that imagery into something more palatable.

But I feel no need to exclude others from heaven.  We are all saints in the making.

Update October 4, 2013:

 

Here are a few more passages from the inclusive TNIV that touch on this issue:

 

Romans 3:22-24:  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

 

1Corinthians 15:22:  “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”

 

1Timothy 4:10:  “We have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.” (huh?)

 

Hebrews 10:10:  “once for all” but, Hebrews 5:9: “the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”

 

 

One Response to ELITISM

  1. care4earth says:

    Yes, we are all saints in the making. It helps to know that the Great Good Spirit is in me and in you and in all the others, too. Let’s try to live up to God’s dream for us.

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