Related to the question: If I don't believe in Jesus before I die, will God send me to hell?
Luke, a Lutheran Christian, has a dialogue with Hannah, a Progressive Christian, about whether God will send people to hell.
Luke: I interpret the Bible to teach that faith in Jesus Christ is the pathway to salvation. Jesus himself said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). However, the specifics of God's judgement and the afterlife are mysteries that are ultimately known only to God.
Hannah: I too affirm the centrality of Jesus, but I view this in a broader context. I believe in an inclusive and loving God who seeks to save all people, not just those who profess faith in Jesus during their earthly lives. There are different ways to interpret John 14:6, and some progressive theologians see it as a call to embody the teachings of Jesus, rather than a requirement for verbal affirmation of faith.
Luke: I understand where you're coming from, Hannah, but traditional Lutheran theology tends to stress the necessity of faith in Jesus for salvation. This belief comes from various Biblical passages, not just John 14:6.
Hannah: But we should remember that there are numerous references in the Bible to God's universal love and desire for all to be saved. Take 1 Timothy 2:4, for instance, which states that God "desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."
Luke: That's true, and God's grace is indeed limitless. But Lutheran theology typically interprets passages like that within the context of Christ's unique role as Savior. We believe God's universal desire for salvation is realized through Jesus.
Hannah: From a progressive perspective, we often focus on the transformative teachings and actions of Jesus as a path to understanding God's love, rather than a strict requirement for verbal affirmation of faith in Jesus.
Luke: In the end, we are both affirming the centrality of Jesus in understanding God's love and salvation. We just approach it differently.
Hannah: Indeed, Luke. It's essential to remember that we are discussing mysteries that exceed our comprehension. We are seeking to understand the infinite through our finite human perspectives.
Luke: Absolutely. And while our interpretations might differ, our shared goal is to seek truth, love, and understanding in our faith journeys.
Hannah: Despite our theological differences, our shared commitment to love and seek understanding in the Christian faith is what unites us.