It seems clear that a large part of protestantism holds to the doctrine of true saving faith by grace as biblically described. Clearly, the world is largely ecumenical and individual are syncretic in their religious experience, but the simplicity of the view of saving faith is general for many different protestants alike. At least “on paper”.
Especially so when one considers that the dogmatic differences within general protestantism are of such sort that quite rarely has any soteriological implications.
For example, a baptist might belive that his saving faith is the decision of his individual will, a lutheran accredits the same faith to God through election, a presbyterian might do the same and further also believe in an election for some unto damnation, but all three will ultimately claim to posses the same salvific faith through the grace of God wholly apart from works.
Whereas the orthodox and catholic church bodies will openly attribute works merit in combination with faith as a necessity for salvation. This is certainly accurate for foreign religions as well, and even some revivalist-type denominations.
The issue is not belief in Christ, that is a universal scale-matter, as a predominant part of the religious world claims such to some degree. Within larger christendom Christ is certainly believed and preached, while the specifics of his salvific work in relations to it’s human recipient differs. So where can a line be drawn? Where does one distinctly move away from biblical salvation to the point where it is no longer there?
The overall foundational dogma of protestantism is, in the mind of the believer, sola fide. This is particular for protestantism and heresy for both orthodox and catholics.
One could say that there are essentially three international church bodies or camps; the orthodox, the catholic and the protestant. Perhaps a fourth being cults. One could also simplify and say that there are only two; the papist faith/works-camp and the faith alone-camp. Because again, realistically the doctrinal differences within these have no actual effect on salvation. (At least in theory)
Of course, many baptists and pentecostals will burst out saying “We are not protestants!” and claim succession from some unnamed true underground church movement throughout the ages. Nevertheless, if this is in fact the case then it is remarkable that they hold the majority of belief as the protestant churches, aside from american dispensational ideas.
Understandably, churches as well as individuals will differ in their faith and practise, simply due to the human factor and having different history and influx of ideas and culture. But largely, with an overall view of christendom, there should be no reason to doubt that biblical salvation is present here and there, all throughout the protestant church.
Islams överbetoning på att Gud är en och att det enbart finns en Gud låter bra, men är i själva verket förklädd heresi. Den islamiska lärosatsen gällande Guds enhet har uppkommit enbart i polemik mot den kristna gudsuppfattningen.
Detsamma ska sägas om Jehovas vittnen, vilka visserligen är noga med att peka på skriftställen för att visa på sin doktrin, men ofrånkomligen har ett mer egobaserat frälsningkoncept än Islam eller katolska kyrkan, samt bedriver en så grundlig akrobatik med ordet att de inte kan tas på allvar.
Därtill hör förstås också att deras bibelöversättning precis som alla andra moderna förvanskningar av Bibeln grundas på de opålitliga qumranskrifterna, dels att de utan vidare medvetet ändrat i texten.
Dessa avfärdar treenigheten som hedendom, medan de själva formligen tvingas slakta Guds ord för att få det till en abrahamitisk unitarianism. Dessa ignoranta, (värst av allt ofrälsta) hädare som Muhammedanerna och Russeliterna är, förnekar dock korset och Jesu frälsarverk -varför det knappast kommer som en chock att de därtill även förnekar självaste Guds väsen.
Både Jehovas Vittnen och Islam bekänner Jesus, men det är inte den Jesus som Bibeln talar om. Jehovas Vittnen förnekar himmelens och helvetets existens, förnekar evig frälsning genom tro, Jesu gudomlighet, den Helige Andes person m.m. De lär judeokristen gärningslära, strävsam humanism som bäst. Koranen å andra sidan talar i kontrast till Bibeln om att Gud inte är delad, och förnekar rakt ut Jesu offerdöd på korset.
Bibeln är dock tydlig med att Gud är en trefaldig Gud.
“Ty tre äro som vittna i himmelen, Fadren, Ordet och den Helge Ande, och de tre äro ett. Och tre äro de som vittna på jordene, Anden, Vattnet och Blodet; och de tre äro till ett.” -1 Johannesbrevet 5:7-8 (SK73)
Såsom av en tillfällighet är versen ovan borttagen ur moderna bibelöversättningar.
“Och Ordet blev kött och bodde bland oss , och vi såg hans härlighet, den härlighet som den Enfödde har från Fadern. Och han var full av nåd och sanning.” – Johannes 1:14 (SFB)
Johannes evangeliums första kapitel visar att Jesus är Ordet, och att ordet är skaparguden som kommer till människan i sin skapelse.
“Och utan tvifvel är Gudaktighetenes hemlighet stor: Gud är uppenbar vorden i köttet, rättfärdigad i Andanom, synt Änglomen, predikad Hedningomen, trodd i verldene, upptagen i härligheten.” – 1 Timotheosbrevet 3:16 (SK73)
Även denna mycket viktiga vers är raderad ur moderna bibelöversättningar. Men Bibeln är tydlig, Gud själv kommer till jorden i människoform och dör frivilligt för människans synd, en ställföreträdande kärleksdöd.
Raised in an agnostic home with a catholic stepfather, I was peculiarly enough intrigued by christian imagery from an early age and always felt at home in the Evangelical-Lutheran (at the time) state church of Sweden. Although my visits to the church were few and far in between, almost exclusively at school endings at summer and Christmas vacation as is tradition in Sweden, I still felt at home there.
Beyond the familiar feeling, I never exactly contemplated, or knew for that matter, any christian beliefs. I did however always have a sort of natural belief in God, and remember praying as early as around five years of age.
In my late teens I promised myself to seek the truth about the existence of God after I reached the conclusion that life in a non-theistic evolutionary context is, at least, meaningless in the true sense of the word. I realized the absurdity of the magnitude of this cause, but I owed myself an honest attempt.
From there I went on to search within the realm of religion for a few years, a long story better told at another time. However, one thing led to another and in 2012 in a winter cold rural Sweden I was tought and understood biblical salvation, my sinful state and need of a savior, and so prayed for Christ to save me.
It was a tumultuous experience to navigate the landscape of contemporary christianity as a newly saved twenty-some year old student with periodic alcohol issues. This led me to the same search as I had previously been occupied with, although now solely within what I perceived to be wider christendom, to find out specifically what to believe in doctrinal matters and what church or group that were right. Was I a pentecostal? Or perhaps a catholic? After all, early Swedish history was heavily catholic, and I had catholic family.
I found independent baptist preaching online, the same way I found initial information about any religion or christian group. It was evidently biblical preaching, with distinct dogmatic sermons with a tendency to strongly call out sin and wickedness from the pulpit. It was Isaiah and Simon Peter-type of preaching. It is no secret that I became a part of and partly still am in what is considered the Steven Anderson-camp, but I would say that I listened to every bible believing sermon that I could find, a whole lot of Doctor Jack Hyles for example.
Unfortunately to this day independent baptist churches do not understand to make proper use of the internet to reach people. After all criticism, it is just a fact that Steven Anderson is the one that popularised the fundamental baptist doctrines and viewpoints internationally for the young people of today.
Either way, when I visited family in the US in the winter of 2014, I made sure to visit a fundamental baptist church. I was very well received and was introduced to a brother there that tought me how to go soulwinning. We spent a great deal of time soulwinning and fellowshipping, not seldom discussing bible doctrine or matters of christianity and fundamentalism.
Upon my arrival again in Sweden some weeks later, I found myself feeling revived in my spirit and I couldn’t help but to feel more rooted and grounded in my christianity. So far I had been somewhat of an independent fundamental baptist and sort of a halfway King James-onlyist, but now I had actually been to an independent baptist church and at least to some degree become part of their fellowship. It was the real deal.
I had previously felt a bit ridiculous to identify with such an American branch of christianity while living across the world in the darkest north. However, I now felt as if it was not only the most reasonable and bible-believing type of christianity, but also a very viable option for christians internationally to adhear to. The old monopoly of wishy-washy pentecostalism in Sweden was over in terms of being bible-believing. An autonomous baptist movement with international ties was the only way to go.
I could not refrain from being baptist if I were going to chose to take the bible seriously. It was inevitable. It was around this time that I started my blog, initially just out of a sense of wanting to take a more biblical stance in Swedish christianity than what I found elsewhere.
I thought that there was a necessity for someone to say what the bible really says, and not to sugar-coat it and compromise. Especially I wanted to do so in swedish for swedes, so that swedish christians would no longer be able to hide behind high-minded illusions that Americans are crazy and dismiss any opinion not publically accepted in Sweden. Swedish evangelicals and pentecostals alike were lame and weak, so I wanted to show that there was another way to go.
The same year I started to attend a theological seminary for college. Needless to say it was a starch contrast to the bible fundamentalist type sermons I listened to. There were interesting subjects to study, like church history and classes in rhetoric, but mainly I spent my days there trying to wrap my mind around how the teachers (Lutheran priests, doctors of theology and even some former baptist pastors) could possibly manage to combine such a liberal world view with their claimed expertise in the bible. Every stance they took was a questioning of the infallibility and literal meaning of the bible.
Although I had endless interesting discussions with priests to-be and all sorts of evangelicals, I ended up leaving a year prior to graduating to do some online courses while I worked. I had had enough of the political correctness that was in the classes and among my fellow students.
At that point I had established a good friendship with a Sri Lankan brother that had left the faith movement and joined me in many IFB doctrinal viewpoints.
Him and I had gone soulwinning a couple of times in 2014 and established a small bible study group in his house, were him or I would do some short preching followed by singing out of some Soul Stirring Songs and Hymns-hymnals I had brought i America, before we had some prayer time. On most weekdays we would sit at the seminary to study, but also find time to watch sermons and discuss biblical matters.
In 2016 I moved to the US and began attending an Independent baptist church. By then, the brother I had previously gone soulwinning with had distanced himself from me and all IFB people, seemingly since he had become open to pentecostalism and had gotten the idea that he would start a church with no qualifications for pastoring. A shame of course, but I have repeatedly noticed how emotionalist types of christianity attract people that don’t care to put in the hard work of studying.
As of now, my family and I attend our third independent baptist church. We have moved and thus switched churches, but have also freekwently felt ostracized and met with suspicion by independent baptist pastors and church staff, something quite common for anyone considered an “Andersonite”. Everyday life has gone from seminary studies and having plenty of time for the things of God, to now attempting to balance a long work week with family and church and all the things that go with that.
In retrospect, I just wish that there were more Bible-believing churches in Sweden where people could get both the milk and meat of the word, and not have to be restrained to liberal churches with messy salvation doctrine and a love for all things queer and worldly.
The so common notion in Sweden that charismatic silliness is biblical, or even spirit-filled, is disastrous for saved believers and have resulted in a Christendom as dead as a door nail.
Many are starving for bible truth and hard preaching, but their hunger remain unsatisfied and thus they never grow in sanctification, and can never reach other swedes with the gospel. I am glad I came to the U.S. where good churches still exist, but I feel bad for those saved few that are stuck there, those seven thousand that have not bowed unto Baal.