So to start with a quick round up of the soteriology or study of salvation from some of the major players in the Christian world!
So let's start where I started, with the Anglican church and their Thirty-Nine Articles. The XVIII Article is the one that refers to salvation.
XVIII. Of obtaining eternal Salvation only by the Name of Christ.
They also are to be had accursed that presume to say, That every man shall be saved by the Law or Sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that Law, and the light of Nature. For Holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the Name of Jesus Christ, whereby men must be saved.
Seems pretty clear - look in the Bible!
Now onto the Catholics.
The doctrine of salvation for the Catholics is defined in the Coucil of Trent. Reading from the Catholic Encycopaedia I think I can sum it up thus:
- Disposition - you recognise that you need salvation
- Justification - either by reason of a perfect act of charity elicited by a well disposed sinner or by virtue of the Sacrament either of Baptism or of Penance.
The Sacrements come into play with infants and those not of sound reason. But quite what this 'perfect act of charity is I do not know. Anyone?
Now the turn of the Orthodox. And this starts to get complicated for me. According to Orthodox theology salvation is not a stage but a continuous change towards a divine nature or theosis, becoming united with God. So Salvation can be looked upon as three overlapping processes:
- catharsis (purification)
- theoria (illumination)
- theosis (divinization)
So I read that as instead of having a defined point or moment of salvation the Orthodox view is of a continuing theosis, which continues even after death. And if I'm talking cobblers feel free to put me right!
To be continued.