I guess I feel like I was always saved.  I do believe in Jesus Christ, attend a liberal presbyterian church, but find more and more my biblical leanings universal.  I felt somewhat traumatized by fundamental baptists, is there any other kind, who needed the power themselves to proclaim me saved.  Isn't that something reserved for God??  I've never felt more peaceful with my relationship to God, and yet, had to be re-traumatized to eventually discover the scriptures for myself that would lead me back to him.  I was eventually asked to leave that congregation, because instead of talking scripture, they talked politics, and mistakenly asked me my opinion one week.  I was summarily told I'd be happier elsewhere, and after many shed tears for a number of weeks, I realized that God isn't that exclusive, and I did indeed find happiness elsewhere.  So, how does one determine being born again?  Have we all said the "magic words" to another, and then been born again, or, have we learned that God accepts all regardless of works?

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Marmanold, I'm familiar with Wesleyan and Calvinistic perspectives.  I am aware of sanctification and justification.  I just disagree with having to choose in this life to attain God's salvation, that has been promised over and over again in scripture for all.  The notion of a fiery torment was introduced in 600 A.D., when the Romans got their paws on scriptural texts.
I will say check out Philip Gulley's site for some interesting Universalist thought.  Naming all I've found would be too wordy, so I'll hit on a few.  Mark 11:17  My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.  Luke 3:6  All Mankind will see God's salvation.  Luke 19:10  The Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost.  John 1:9  True light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.  John 12:32  When I am lifted up, I will draw all men to myself.  John 12:47  I did not come to judge the world, but to save it.  John 15:16  You did not choose me, but I chose you.  1 Cor. 13:22  For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.  Titus 2:11  For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  Clearly I have left out Old Testament verses here because of the length involved, but to claim the Bible inerrant when it's been translated hundreds of times by mere men is ludicrous.  And the fiery torment some love to quote was not even in the original texts.  It came in when the texts were translated into latin, from Rome.  I do believe Jesus came to save us by showing us a better way to live.  I believe him when he said the 2nd greatest commandment is to love thy neighbor.  I take that to mean every living being on this planet.  And there is an assumption that God only hears the prayers of Christians.  I heard that in class once!!  How ludicrous!!  If he made us all, he hears us all, and when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, doesn't that pretty much wrap it up?  I say to the judgmental fundamentalists, leave your pastors at the pulpit and do some thinking for yourself!

Marmanold, I went to the link you provided and was familiar with  a couple of authors, but I'd of course at least heard of all.  I do find it interesting in scripture that not once did Jesus tell his friends to avenge his suffering, nor did he make his resurrection known to his enemies.  Instead of using the resurrection as an opportunity  to wreak revenge, he used it to offer forgiveness, even pardoning Peter for his betrayal.  One area that's been difficult for me to deal with is the book of Revelation, with Jesus returning on a white horse, a bloody sword in hand.  He defeats his enemies and casts them into hell.  Talk about a Hollywood movie!  As humans, we bristle at the notion of abandoning a heavenly ledger.  Which is it?  The sword and blood and violence, or, a perfect God who says, "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye and tooth for tooth'.  But I tell you, do not resist as eveil person.  If someone strikes you on the cheek, turn to him the other also.:  Matt. 5 38:39


Unjustly condemned, Jesus could have demanded a life for a life, rather, he prayed, "Father forgive them;  for they know not what they do."  These acts of grace achieve what justice cannot-God's new heaven and new earth.  While I understand the need for consequence and punishment, I no longer believe that Christ will return in vengeance and cast many into hell.  Would we send our children to their rooms forever?  I think not.  So my vision of grace is one that is greater than what is taught in most Christian churches today.   Eternal punishment defies God's commitment to restoring all things.  And I believe we are called upon to be ambassadors of reconciliaton.  From Dr. Martin Luther King:  "We shall match your capacity to endure suffering.  Se shall meet your physical force with soul force.  Do to us what you will, and we shall continue to love you.  Throw us in jail, and we shall still love you.  Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and we shall still love you.  Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our community at the midnight hour and beat us and leave us half dead, and we shall still love you.  But be assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer.  One day we shall win freedom, but not only for ourselves.  We shall so appeal to your heart and and conscience that we shall win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory."  Amen, and amen.

A good friend who is trying to encourage and pray for our family to join a "bible-based" church after our exit from Mormonism... she keeps asking if me and my husband have "said the sinner's prayer?" ... I think some Christian consider those to be the "magic words".


I don't think it takes the words, but I do think that, for some of us, we need to see God's grace to bring us up from where we fall emotionally and spiritually. For me, that need is fulfilled in Christ.


Now, I feel free to love the mission and the message and life of Christ more now than I ever did as a Mormon. I'm definitely not fundamentalist. The last thing holding me to Mormonism was the lack of a true hell for the vast majority of us. So, imagine my surprise to find a really cool and inspiring theology which does fit me... Christian Universalist. I've studied Phillip Gulley, Brian McClaren and Rob Bell that I like the best.


This is a great post. I've read all the comments and am happy to find some like minds. I don't feel like such a weirdo now! :)

Pammie, You are right.  It's about God's grace for all.  Saying a sinner's prayer doesn't mean someone is having pure love in their hearts for Christ, or, for their neighbors for that matter.  We see it all over the country.  Picketing people some disagree with, saying mean and harmful things to them, which is so far off the course of the 2nd commandment I just don't get it.  What am I missing.  I mean, you can be a mute, and God knows what's in your heart.  He knows what's there before you pray it.  He knows what you need before you do.  So this idea that everyone has to say specific words for a congregation to accept them is very similar to Pharisee thinking.  And to pick on other churches from the pulpit, along with political groups, just isn't what I've learned from my studies from Jesus the Christ himself.  I get Philip Gulley's newsletters, and they are so refreshingly Christian, while many fundamentalist Christian churches just plain scare me.

Thanks for the tip on the newsletters. I think I will like those.


I completely agree with everything you said.


One thing I have found frustrating too is the picking on atheists. Even the word atheist is almost always used as a perjorative. I really don't like that. I don't like atheist slamming on my beliefs and I don't like done the other way either. Nobody "owns" moral behavior. Either you are trying to live your life with love and peace or you are not.


I am gonna definitely need a liberal church when I am ready to join one again. But they are kind of few and far between compared to the conservative churches. Sad. 


Just my 2 cents.

Pammie, Look up Universalist or Unitarian, or, when checking out churches, ask to read their mission statement.  If they have none, leave.  A decent mission statement about how they treat fellow humans and how they interact in the community is key.


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