Dawsonzhu@aol.com a écrit:
> Dear list,
> Living in Japan, where less than 1% of the people are Christian,
> about 70% Buddhist, and the rest a variety of "other", I am
> occasionally confronted with the question of salvation for
> folk who follow these other religions.
> I am fully aware of the party line on this matter, but with
> my scientific training, such simple (at least seemingly)
> political answers seem out of place and dogmatic to me.
> I am quite sure that Jesus is the "best way", and I can wiggle
> through an answer such as "Jesus is the only way that people
> ultimately gain salvation" with some vague suggestion that
> perhaps only those who have made an outright decision to
> reject the Lord and have taken an active role to live out a
> life of rebellion against God are in serious danger of completely
> crossing the lines of Grace, but frankly, I don't really know
> enough on the theological matters are on this subject.
> It is really hard for me to think of people I know and care
> about here in Japan, and some of my Chinese friends for that matter,
> being on the direct highway to Hell simply because they were exposed
> to a different culture, different views, and a different but clearly
> comparable set of standards.
> Does anyone have some suggestions on intelligent things to
> say in regards to these difficult theological (actually
> eschatological) matters?
> one tiny Christian living in a big Buddhist country
> By faith in Christ we are saved, and by Grace, we proceed,
Your question attracted many responses because it is a very important
one for a Christian.
The main faith in Japan is Buddhism, not Christianity. Why is it so?
Japan, as a nation, never heard of Christianity, and therefore, badly
needing a religion, they invented one? According to the Bible, the Word
of God, the first God to arrive on the scene was the biblical God.
Evolutionists would say that man evolved physically and mentally and
thus the area of religious thought evolved along a parallel million-year
course slaved to man's progress. However this remains to be proven. In
the meantime the Bible offers megatons more in the area of credibility.
Japan, as a nation, refused the Biblical message. Yes, the Japanese
ancestors refused the Bible. According to the Bible, all the nations of
the world did not just spring up in various places out of nowhere. They
all had a common root. They were all initially exposed to the presence
of Jehovah. After the Babel Tower affair they broke up and went their
individual ways. In addition, there are not many inhabited areas of the
planet that Christian missionnaries have not yet touched. So pleading
ignorance will not really be easy for anyone standing before the throne
On top of all of this, Wayne, is the Biblical fact that God wrote his
laws on all our hearts. When a Japanese smiles, talks to you in a
friendly way and even goes out of his way to give you a helping hand,
he's doing it because he's inhabited by the Spirit of God, not the
spirit of Buddah. The only problem is that he doesn't know that! It's
up to a Christian to tell him...which does not mean he will accept the
fact...remember...he's free to be wrong.
Your question re escathology is premature. You don't start by talking
about hell any more than you would start talking about your home town by
saying that you will be thrown in jail for drunken driving! Anyways
Buddism has its own hell: a never ending cycle of incarnations where
most are not very gratifying.
So the followers of all wordly religions (i.e. all religions except
Christianity) are spiritually lost and need someone to show them the
Way. As mentioned above, each person has the laws written on his/her
heart and, because of this, has a fundamental need for fellowship with
the true God. But rejection is still possible if the truth is not
administered well. The critical issue to accepting Christ's offer is
the feeling that committing one's life to Christ is a sure way of
loosing one's freedom. As any born-again Christian knows, nothing is
further from the truth.
Yes Christianity at first sight certainly sounds rough, tough and narrow
minded. It definitely does not blend well with today's liberal
thinking. The Bible does say that the road and door to the Truth is
narrow while the road and the door to perdition that the worldly people
follow is wide. There are only two possible reactions to His offer of
salvation: Yes of No. There's no room for a definite Maybe!
Salvation is awarded on an individual basis. Even if the nation of
Japan rejected Christ's offer, a Japanese person, acting on his/her own
is therefore quite capable of accepting it. As for the proverbial Pygmy
lost in the Amazon who dies before personnaly hearing of Christ's
sacrifice, Christ will deal with that in his own way. The way I tend to
picture it after having waded through the Bible more than once is that
Christ will see what this person did with the "laws written on his
heart". Did he ignore them and set up his own rules or did he abide by
them? Was he attentive mostly to the Spirit or to his own spirit?
Next, at the moment of death, Christ can at an instant instruct the
person on what he may have missed in terms of biblical fact (mainly on
His death and resurrection at the cross and its exact meaning and
implication) and ask him to make a clear Yes or No decision. God would
never be so shortsighted as to make salvation a question of geographical
and cultural situation. I keep hearing that the country today ahead of
all other in terms of new people coming to Christ is China. I rest my
So, you and I and all other Christians have to get over the "he's not a
Christian but he's so nice God will surely usher him through the pearly
gates" attitude. But, along with you, Wayne, I sometimes look at
non-Christians who have great attitudes and personalities and say to
myself: "Boy he/she would make a great Christian!".
God is fair and just. He forces His Word down nobody's throat. One is
perfectly free to be wrong!
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