(From Early County News, whatever that is)
Is Billy Graham a believer? I think so. But it is remotely possible that a man like that could fake it for the sake of making money. Was Mother Theresa a Christian? I think so. But it could be possible that she was trusting in good works rather than genuine faith for her salvation. I don't mean in any way to disparage these great souls. My point is the kingdom of God is like the sea. We know there are people in there. We just cannot see exactly who they are.This quote is really as good a pick from this... whatever it is... as anything else. As far as I can tell, there is no coherent point to this little gem. I do, however, have a few thoughts on the above statement. I was going to go on a rant on how you can't possibly compare these two people anyway. One is an fundamentalist nut-job partially responsible for George W. Bush, and one is a woman whose faith so moved her that she dedicated her life to serving the "poorest of the poor." I decided, however, that I'd better do a little bit of research (Wikipedia) before I went on that rant. If Wikipedia is to be believed, Graham is kind of an OK guy. No Mother Theresa, but someone who seems to have really studied the scripture before he went around preaching it. Even if I don't agree with some (read: most) of his interpretations, at least he knows what he's talking about. He also (apparently. Don't lie to me, Wikipedia) bailed Martin Luther Kind Jr. out of jail and was staunchly opposed to segregation. Again, no Mother Theresa, but I have to say that the existence of Billy Graham is no longer completely offensive to me.
Anyway, I do take issue with this idea pertaining to Mother Theresa that "it could be possible that she was trusting in good works rather than genuine faith for her salvation." This is one of the core differences between Christians, even from the same sects. The arguments for exclusivism usually come from verses like Mark 16:16, which says:
Arguments for universalism are a bit trickier. The scriptural precedent is weaker, even as the logic and morality of the idea seems stronger (surprise! When does that ever happen?). But, just like with the creation story and the flood, people who do not interpret the Bible literally have the luxury of elevating the importance of passages like 1 John 4:7-12, which says:
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.This, to me, seems a more overwhelming truth than "follow me or perish." Not because there is more of it in the scripture, but because it makes more sense to me. And whether or not you agree that this passage has superior value to some others, the suggestion that Mother Theresa was not truly a Christian, however jokingly, is really not funny and is really offensive. She placed a high value on "good works" because that's what she believed Christ wanted her to do. I would never in a million years question this woman's faith. I will say, however, that several evangelical pastors in the world are more concerned with money and megachurches and eternal damnation than they are with being good people, and therefore I call them not truly Christian. There are people who every day do good things for each other, who reject or have never heard of Christianity. If they are not equal in God's eyes to the people who do believe in Christ, then I want nothing to do with God.