Avery Cardinal Dulles: Who Can Be Saved? Print
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 21 January 2008 06:57
Pippin (the cat) is insisting on helping me blog this morning by walking over my MAC as I type.

So with Pippin's assist, I'd like to point you to Avery Dulles' new piece in this month's First Thing. It is most relevant to my post below on Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.

Entitled "Who Can Be Saved?", it is a fascinating walk through the history of Christian and Catholic thought on this very question. The answer to that question has changed and developed over the centuries - but none of the answers ever proposed = all of us are saved and all of us have earned it. Be sure and read the whole thing.

Dulles' conclusion is hopeful, not sloppy.

"Who, then, can be saved? Catholics can be saved if they believe the Word of God as taught by the Church and if they obey the commandments. Other Christians can be saved if they submit their lives to Christ and join the community where they think he wills to be found. Jews can be saved if they look forward in hope to the Messiah and try to ascertain whether God’s promise has been fulfilled. Adherents of other religions can be saved if, with the help of grace, they sincerely seek God and strive to do his will. Even atheists can be saved if they worship God under some other name and place their lives at the service of truth and justice. God’s saving grace, channeled through Christ the one Mediator, leaves no one unassisted. But that same grace brings obligations to all who receive it. They must not receive the grace of God in vain. Much will be demanded of those to whom much is given."

Or as C. S. Lewis put it so winningly in The Great Divorce (with my emphasis)

No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened.