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article imageOp-Ed: At the End of the World, Will You Be One of the Chosen?

By Carol Forsloff     Jan 9, 2009 in World
Catastrophes loom, and the airwaves and newspapers are full of hypotheses of the world ending soon. In fact some have designated a special time for that to happen.
It is now January, 2009; and the financial conditions, climate change, and war are making the world look bleak. Given the plate before us, what do we need to do to be one of the chosen?
I’m not sure about myself. You see, I’m Quaker, and most of us haven’t accepted Christ as God, but just his Son. We follow the principles of love and obedience, believe in service and all those good things. But I’m not sure we are in the line of some beliefs that will allow me to go up in the sky to someplace safe or stay right here for the paradise of the elect. Furthermore, I also believe that there will be non Christians that might be saved, if saved is what will happen and if, in fact, there is an ultimate set of catastrophes that will produce the end of the world.
Science writers discuss the subject and maintain that there have been numbers of predictions that the world would end, many of them that have clearly not happened, as folks still walk around and the earth continues to spin on its axis. Recent predictions are for the world to end in 2012, with CNN reports, the History Channel and all of those featuring stories about Nostradamus and friends. Those in the world of science, however, reflecting on the matter, point out that there have been predictions for the end of the world for centuries, dating back to 2800 BC. In fact whole cults have sprung up over the issue of the end of the world, with folks waiting, only to find out that calculations were incorrect. Well, whoops.
A website asks the question, “Are You Prepared,” and follows up with an outline of the book’s predictions that 2012 is the date and the signs that mean it will happen then. Nostradamus’ notions, nuclear attack, and passages of Revelation are among the items cited.
There are even special date setters who are figuring out the specific time when we should be prepared. Many of these authorities are Christian with some of their predictions found here. . The website mention 220 possible dates.
So let’s see. Should I circle some possible dates and times on my calendar, watch the skies or what? Maybe it won’t make any difference, if I don’t qualify to be one of the elect anyway.
One Christian writer, John Reislinger, points out what one must do in order to be one of the chosen.
As I left that little church in Lancaster County, I looked up into the heavens with tears in my eyes. I knew that before a single star had ever shown a beam of light, God had sovereignly chosen me as a sheep and purposed to draw me to himself and give me faith. With a heart filled with amazement and praise, I gladly acknowledged that I owed every part of my salvation to God's grace in Sovereign Election. I knew I was in possession of eternal life only because the Father had chosen me, the Savior had died for me, and the Holy Spirit had given me faith and a new heart.
These are lovely ideas, but do they define everyone? Some scholars believe that much of the accounting of Christ’s life from Mark was information the disciple may have had about Hermes in Homer’s epics. Hermes was said to have done miraculous things and was able to save others as well. So being saved by a deity is part of Greek literature, some maintain and therefore not necessarily religious truth for an eternity, except by story or parable.
Then there is the merciful explanation I happen to like. Robert Schuller and Billy Graham on an occasion speculated about who might be saved and the status of those who didn’t “know” Christ. Schuller said he hoped that “it’s possible for Jesus Christ to come into human hearts and soul and life” without the Gospel having been preached to them. This was Graham’s response:
Graham: Yes, it is, because I believe that. I’ve met people in various parts of the world in tribal situations, that they have never seen a Bible or heard about a Bible, and never heard of Jesus, but they’ve believed in their hearts that there was a God, and they’ve tried to live a life that was quite apart from the surrounding community in which they lived.
Although the article quoted about wider mercy seems to mock both these religious men, the fact that there are individuals of Evangelical background who look to a merciful God in matters of salvation is comforting.
So perhaps I can go to some beautiful place when I die or be swept up into paradise in 2012 and that some atheists, Jews, Buddhists and Muslims will be right along with me. I hope.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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