Anytime someone is presented salvation in Jesus Christ it is assumed they know and understand the Hebrew sacrificial system that has been modified to (again) accept human sacrifice. (1 ) Other than that, the idea of a person giving their life for you is nothing short of an universal emotional “sob story”.
Here are some major problems with any doctrine of Christian Salvation:
McCall makes a lot of assertions but does nothing to back it up. Let us look at all the places where he goes wrong and see if we can help him out.
A. One MUST believe in Jesus Christ and his atoning resurrection to get to Heaven, yet belief in Hell is not required for (according to the Bible (Jesus himself)) most people to go there!
Several problems from the get go. Who said that to be a Christian you don't have to believe in Hell? If you reject the reality of hell, you reject what Jesus said so therefore you should just go the whole way and forget calling yourself "Christian".
B. In religion, belief gives existence in things not seen or provable. In contrast, the Periodical Table of Elements does not require belief for it to exist. On need not believe that CO2 with extinguish fires for it to work.
Faith and belief have nothing to do with making something real. Something that is real and exists is true regardless of what anyone of us thinks about it. True Faith doesn't take the place of reality but an aid in apprehending it. Yes, let's take the periodic table as an example. Given that some elements were discovered out of order (elements with more protons than others) and placed in the table that by faith the missing elements would be found later. And I mean "faith" in the way the Bible used it. Scientists were certain of those elements' existence although they could not see them. Some of those pioneering scientists died before those theorized elements were actually observed.
C. For Evangelicals, Jesus gives no plan of salvation in the Synoptic Gospels and almost nothing in the late Gospel of John. Need proof? Simply pick up and read some Gospel Tracts you fine are the ATM.) One good reason is that Jesus hated gentiles.
Jesus did not hate gentiles. McCall attempted to prove that in an earlier post and failed, but instead let's look at the more stupid claim that Jesus did not explain how he was going to take away sin in the Synoptic Gospels.
21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. - Matthew 16:21
Funny. Sounds like Jesus telling the disciples the plan for salvation of mankind. Go Figure! Gee, makes me wonder if McCall ever actually read the Bible.
D. By contrast, the Apostle Paul - who NEVER saw nor heard the earthly Jesus - can be made to present a plan of salvation via the cut and paste method from his letters where the Jewish sacrificial system is a given fact to be forced on the gentile world view so they maybe “grafted in” (Romans 11: 17 – 24).
Sure would like to have seen McCall actually present proof and not an emotional assertion. Oh well.
E. Paul’s idea of salvation are created and modified over his life time for ma simple paruosia in 1 Thessalonians to a fuller doctrine in his last book, Romans that Evangelicals can use to get a complete dogma of salvation: The Roman’s Road of Salvation.
Where is the proof that the doctrine Paul preached changed over the course of his life and that it differed from the Apostles who were with Jesus or with Jesus' teachings themselves? Anyone else here crickets?
F. Since a Doctrine of Salvation can only be created from the Bible through a cut and paste method, the Bible only sects can’t agree on just what you need to believe to get to Heaven. For example, Southern Baptist vs. Jehovah Witnesses vs. Christadelphians vs. Seventh Day Adventists and so on.
Jehovah Witnesses are not Christians so comparing their soteriology with the theology found in Bible believing churches is really disingenuous, but not beneath atheists like McCall. As for Southern Baptists and Seventh Day Adventists, McCall does not really seem to know what they believe if he thinks their teachings can be set against one another.
G. To avoid the problems of a Bible only Doctrine of Salvation (soteriology), high order churches either accept the Creeds or have a Confession of faith. The reality of both the early creeds (Nicene, Apostle’s and son on) or a Confession of Faith (the Catechisms, Westminster Confession of Faith and son on) is that all of these Christian statements of belief were NOT objectively written with just the idea of salvation in mind, but each section of these statements were written to defend orthodoxy against heresy and against heterodoxy. All three of these terms are subjectively defined base on with sect you are a member of. Thus, Catholics define all other sects (denominations) as heretical while all other sects define Catholics as heretical as well as each other. So who is a Christian heretic? Anyone who doesn’t believe like me!.
McCall offers no proof that the early creeds conflict with one another or the Bible. Second, nowadays the official Roman Catholic position is that all Christians, Jews, and Muslims are going to heaven and even a more universalist approach has been adopted. Look up the changes made in the 1960s.
H. Among Protestant groups, more confusion exist as to salvation in that there is no “assurance of salvation”. Even long time believers are left “whistling in the graveyard” of life as they repeatedly go to Mass,....
Protestants don't go to Mass.
....get revived at Revivals, take Communion, confess sins, speak in tongues, make pilgrimages, try to be more Biblical, try to be more Confessional, try to do more good works, try to have more faith alone, try to be more Christ like, try to argue the correct hermeneutical approach to Salvation as doctrinally expressed in Calvinism or Arminianism.
Ah, yes. The old Christians-Can't-Agree-On-Somethings-so-they-all-must-be-wrong argument. Really? Is that the best you got? Why can't atheism be rejected because atheists can't come agreement about many things? Oh I realize what one would say. "Atheists all agree that there is no god." I would counter argue that it depends on how you define "atheism", but be that as it may I think a better rejoinder is that a Christian is someone who believes that Jesus - God made flesh - was really a person, died in their place for their sin as our propitiation and rose again the third day for our justification. Rejecting that means you are not a Christian.
I. As Christians go from door to do evangelizing (most notably Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons) and Fundamentalist go as missionaries to the Philippines and Mexico to convert Catholics and to the former Soviet Union to convert Orthodox, we find that likely over 90% of Christian evangelizing amounts to nothing more that Christians converting Christians to Christianity!
Again, Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses are not Christians. Also what is the point McCall trying to make. Given what Jesus said, it is what I'd expect.
9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. - Matthew 24:9-14
There IS NO so-called “Plan of Salvation” in the Bible! Reality proves that Jesus of the Gospels doesn’t agree with the Peter in the Books of Acts which doesn’t agree with Paul who doesn’t agree with James who fails to agree with a highly Jewish book like Revelation. What we are simply left with a man’s attempt to formulate something major from the Bible to make it useful.
McCall will have to do better than pure baseless assertion to demonstrate that.
Thus, we the irony in that while Christian humanity has labeled itself totally corrupt and sinful (Original Sin), it must make sense of the hundreds of Doctrines of Salvations it imposes on itself starting with the very Canon it created and requires itself to believe in.
What "hundreds of Doctrines"? Asserting it doesn't make it so.
Sadly for any sincere Christian believer, to have chosen the wrong doctrinal path to Heaven can put him or her on a toboggan race straight to Hell along with hall the atheists them had condemned.
1. King Manasseh and Child Sacrifice: Biblical Distortions of Historical Realities, by Francesca Stavrakopoulou (Walter De Gruyter, 2004).
I think that McCall has completely failed to show any confusion or contradiction about what the Bible teaches about how to be reconciled to God despite our sin. The atheist is hell bound because he/she rejects the propitiation that God has provided for us although he/she had an opportunity to be saved. As for other people: If you make it a point to follow God and obey and believe in what God has provided you can't be lost. It isn't about your denomination, culture, or doctrine. It is about just coming to God on God's terms not your own.
Debunking Christianity: The Confusing and Contradictory Doctrines of Christian Salvation