I'm sorry, this one got buried,
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
Yes, I think we are certainly accountable for our decisions. However,
I know that my choice to be a Christian was surely easier than theirs.
Even when I consider the things I have to endure as a scientist because
I carry with me a faith in Christ, I think it still more problematical
for many Japanese. I think it is not for me to say that they deserve
punishment which I do not.
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.
Indeed, my role is important here. I am conscious of this and
concerned about it.
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.
I was only asking the theologians what their position on
the matter was. From that, I gather that their answer
is "we don't know, but what we are certain of is that
Christ is the only way". It seems to me a reasonable
response. It is Christ's decision if they are to be
saved or not.
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!".
I just need to keep working on finding a way to reach the Japanese
heart with the message that Japanese need just as much as you and me.
That is really the most difficult matter. Asian culture is built
around walls that must be penetrated before the heart is reached.
Mix that with vast cultural differences, and it makes it difficult
to share the Gospel in a way that they truly understand. Just have
to keep on trying.
Thanks for sharing with me.
By Grace alone do we proceed,
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