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Discussion in 'Religious Education' started by Mathsteach2, Oct 30, 2018.

  1. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    It appears to me that the Gospel of St John talks only about eternal salvation through faith alone. There is no mention of being saved in this life from death, disease, disasters, etc. Works therefore are a necessary part of being a Christian, and we do not even have to be religious in any faith to do good works.
    How do RE teachers handle this dual meaning of the word salvation, salvation of the soul and salvation in this life?
  2. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    The concept of faith alone is actually based largely on Luther's interpretation of Romans.

    Faith alone is also a largely misrepresented view, in that you won't find a Protestant who believes that only faith with no 'fruits of spirit' is saved, or a Catholic who believes that fruits without faith is saved.

    I'm not sure what confusion of salvation exists in your question. Salvation in Christian or theological terms always refers to eschatology, not suffering on earth. If anything, suffering on earth (from any source) is considered either a route to salvation or a result of original sin.
    Rott Weiler and monicabilongame like this.
  3. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    There appears to be an element of confusion in the Bible:
    "Believe in the Lord Jesus and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." (Acts 16:31)
    In context, the jailer wants to be saved from punishment for letting the prisoners escape (as he thought), and a fear of losing his house. Relief from these worldly needs is what he asks for, but Paul and Silus tell him he will be saved, meaning eternally, through belief in Christ but add that his house will be saved (because the prisoners have not fled). This is worldly salvation.
    I think there is a double entendre here, which does not help in our understanding of the Word of God.
    How deeply do RE teachers get their students to investigate the English grammar?
  4. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    I believe that the confusion regarding 'salvation' is yours rather than the text's.
    nomad and monicabilongame like this.
  5. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    My apologies, Flanks, I intended to thank you for your helpful first post. Unfortunately to only tell me I am confused and not try to help me in my confusion does not bring me closer to understanding the Word of God. You do not say you are an RE teacher, but I trust RE teachers will help their students to address their confusion.
    For me, the principal position to be religious is to believe in a supernatural world. C. S. Lewis influenced me on this one. God, or gods, exist in this supernatural world, and for Christians the only way to Him is through Jesus. Then through faith alone we will receive eternal life in Heaven as a free gift from God. We will have our sins forgiven, and God is supremely merciful. This is what I understand by the salvation offered to the jailer.
    However, for Christians with their tribune God, they also have the Holy Spirit within. "The Kingdom of God is Within You" is the title of a book written by the anarchist writer Leo Tolstoy. Works in this world then become a necessary part of Christian living, and they will be good works leading to our salvation in this world.
    If this confusion I am very willing to listen to my confusion being addressed. If their is no difference between eternal salvation and salvation in this world then works are just as necessary as faith to be a true Christian. Faith alone does not persuade me, and there are many atheists who do good works.
  6. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    Two typing errors in my post annoy me. 'triune' not 'tribune', and 'is' omitted, in the last paragraph it should read "If this is confusion ...".
    However, I must also add the promise of eternal life, Biblical salvation as you call it, does not compel me to do good works; the presence of the Holy Spirit in me does. I presume atheists are not too concerned about the afterlife.
  7. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    I believe that the confusion you hold is probably quite common amongst Christians. It arises largely because layers of theology grew up and were read back in to the Bible.

    The main issue is that Jesus and the disciples were not that concerned with earthly comfort, they believed that the world was imminently going to end and therefore God's judgement was just around the corner. The death and resurrection of Jesus was a symbol of God's power being greater than the power of other ''gods" or supernatural beings, you find their names in the Bible capitalised as 'Death' or ''Sin" amongst others. The symbol of power was to give man a chance to see that they had been lead astray before the end.

    Think Elijah and the sacrifice Vs the priests of Baal etc. Similar scenario.

    The issue then becomes twofold:

    1. Christianity spread geographically quite quickly. This isn't a surprise as the Romans were extremely pluralistic and had no hangups about different cultures having different god's. In truth it was a common lack of hangup everywhere. It is why Jews were regarded as an oddity and occasionally persecuted, because they believed that only one of these gods was worthy of worship. Bear in mind that even Jews in this period were not monotheistic in the modern sense.

    2. The world didn't end. Bit of an issue which needed explaining! Meanwhile, lots of communities with different backgrounds and needs were interpreting the message they received differently. Hence why in the Bible there are 4 gospels, there were of course dozens and these 4 were chosen as they were the most common in collections. John's gospel, which you reference, is the latest of the four which is why it reflects a more developed theology towards jesus.

    But the fundamental issue became that a new religion with the slogan ''the end is nigh' was continuing to survive in a world which was hanging around! So whereas Jesus, Peter and Paul had very little concern for moral philosophy, a need developed and grew. So the discussion of works, trinity to explain Jesus's increasing move towards divinity (in John) from man (in Mark), and the nature and route to salvation.

    The Bible itself (or at least the new testament) does not have a concern for earthly salvation as you describe it. The concern is immediate and shorte term.

    Therefore, any linguistic confusion which may arise (and to be honest I have never seen it arise) will be contextual. In religious discussion ''salvation" always has an eschatological meaning.

    NB. Not worried about typos, I expect my post is littered.
    Mathsteach2 likes this.
  8. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    Many thanks for your long and informative post, Flanks. I am a retired science teacher, but I chose the RE Forum in the hopes that RE teachers would contribute and explain how they dealt with salvation in their lessons.
    Children, I am like a child in this subject, are mostly concerned with salvation in this life, eternal for most of us becomes a concern as we get older, I think. When I taught young children about human sexuality in my science lessons, I avoided spiritual development although telling them it was just as important as physical development, which was my concern. I told them that their spiritual development would be discussed in their RE lessons.
    Was I correct? Do RE teachers talk about the supernatural (to be religious we have to believe or not believe - atheism is a religious point of view), and eternal life or the after-life? My science teaching emphasised salvation in this life and for future generations. Not eternal life, the sun is not going to last forever! Motivation for good works in this life does not
  9. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    Necessarily come from concern about the after-life, unless we want to emphasise hell-fire and dam nation, which we do not.
  10. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    Oh dear. The text is not talking about an actual house.
  11. Geoff Thomas

    Geoff Thomas Star commenter

    I think you should go back to Personal.

    Yours is a nonsensical posting.

    At least there, you will find your nonsense is called out- as it ever was,
    monicabilongame likes this.
  12. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    The job of a good RE teacher is not to develop children spiritually, it is to give then the tools to critically assess viewpoints and respond appropriately. Religion, morality and ethics are real world topics which children need to feel able to talk about without being worried, but also to be able to talk about it sensibly and with due respect.

    I talk in terms of 'validity' rather than 'right or wrong', as this is a more appropriate way to assess the merits of difficult topics which often have shades of grey. Right and wrong is the childish approach which politicians and newspapers use, a teacher should be planting seeds for more than that.
    nomad and monicabilongame like this.
  13. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    Flanks said "The job of a good RE teacher is not to develop children spiritually ...". Well, I have just looked briefly at the NC legal requirements for teaching RE in UK schools, and it is jam-packed with directives and ideas for developing spirituality in children, from kindergarten age.
  14. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    Spirituality is the first word used in the legal requirements of the full NC, therefore if we do not do it in RE, where will it be done?
  15. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    Alright, I apologise, atheism is not a religion but it is certainly a belief system, and can neither be proved nor disproved.
    I seem to have attracted two spoilers here, I will try to respond in a Christian way. I can turn my other cheek and let them hit me again, they cannot hurt me I have God with me.
    I wonder if they have read the whole thread, Flanks has responded well, and the posts of durgamata elsewhere in RE are very supportive of developing spirituality in children.
    Jesus said if two people disagree they should discuss sensibly, if this does not solve the disagreement bring a third in (here in this thread), otherwise go to the church (here that will be the moderators).
    Our spoilers may be just touring the forums looking for someone or something to have a go at. Perhaps they should stay in Personal.
  16. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    Monicabilogame, the jailer clearly meant his own worldly house, Paul and Silus were obviously referring to your spiritual dwelling place. This is surely a double entendre, with Paul and Silus being rather devious in their attempt to convert the jailer. This goes on all of the time in established Churches, but not in the universal church of Christ.
  17. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    I wanted to include the piece written by durgamata on RE in schools in this thread, but my smart phone fooled about and it ended up in the "RE - what's the point thread". I hope everyone reads it.
    Spirituality IS to be developed in children in schools, and RE is the principal subject for doing so.
    So please some of you RE teachers, tell me how you discuss salvation, and try to address my apparent confusion.
  18. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    Find an adequate definition of 'spirituality' and you will have made that statement meaningful. It is widely understood to mean that children need to have an awareness of belief(s) (religious or moral), and how it exists in different forms around the world. But it is certainly not interpreted that a teacher should direct children towards spirituality in any format.
  19. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    I totally agree with your last sentence, Flanks, no religion should be forced on anyone. We all need to be challenged with the fundamental questions of life, and only the religions, Christian and non-Christian, offer reasonable answers. An atheist RE teacher must have serious difficulties.
  20. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    Not really, no more so than a Christian teaching about Judaism or Hinduism. As I said, what matters is teaching the process and understanding of different beliefs. One's own beliefs are irrelevant.
    nomad likes this.

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