March 24, 2011 § Leave a comment
I remember Rob Bell from my days as a Protestant, and I have many Protestant friends who still like to read his books and buy his videos. Nobody ever accused Protestants, especially evangelicals, of being overly organized or in agreement on matters of doctrine. When the Bible alone is your spiritual guide, you tend to end up believing whatever pleases you most. But Bell has even more people confused with his latest book, “Love Wins”, in which he seems to offer the opinion that salvation is possible for all, without and despite Christ, a position that seems to fall back on the whole argument that, if God is love, how could He send people to a place of eternal torment just because they didn’t believe that He and Jesus were the same guy? How could a loving god condemn to hell people like Gandhi, who lived what we would generally consider to be virtuous life and helped spread a message of peace that freed an entire nation? These are questions all Christians ask at some point. Unlike evangelicals and many Protestants, however, we Catholics have an answer to these and many other questions about our faith- the Church herself.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that since “‘Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery.’ Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity. (CCC 1260)” This means that for those poor souls who, through no fault of their own, have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, yet lived their lives in a virtuous manner, seeking to do good through the desire that all men have for God whether they know Him or not, who presumably would have readily accepted the Gospel message and sought baptism if he or she had been afforded the opportunity, could be saved. The Church does not presume to say who will or will not be saved, relying instead on God’s Divine Mercy for the salvation of as many souls as possible. However, in this day and age, it is hard to imagine anyone who has not been given ample opportunity to hear the Gospel of Christ. Catholic missionaries have been bringing Christ to millions, for thousands of years. Those who hear the Gospel must make a decision as to whether or not to believe the message. It is in this that the Church is certain. One cannot refuse the family name and then expect to receive a part of the inheritance. Are you a Bible believing Christian who still hasn’t found the answers you seek? Ask the Church that canonized and preserved the gift of the Scriptures since the very days of the Apostles.