Author Topic: So are you Saved?  (Read 23402 times)

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TootsNYC

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Re: So are you Saved?
« Reply #60 on: June 03, 2008, 03:01:06 PM »
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I was actually surprised by the comments regarding needing to understand where people’s beliefs stood relative to theirs before praying for/with them.


That would probably be me.

I have to tell you, I was really upset to be praying along w/ someone who suddenly led me into saying to my Lord and my God, "IF there is a heaven...."

Someone who, I had every reason to believe, was not simply a fellow Christian, but also a minister (therefore, perhaps firmer in his faith than me). I knew gift of the theological differences between his sect and mine, and I was fine w/ that for the purposes of the prayer. I thought. Until he deviated from his own church's beliefs.

I've also been in a prayer duo at a women's retreat in which my partner's prayers began to sound like a prayer to ME, instead of a petition to the Almighty.

So, I'm a little leery about praying WITH just anybody.

If they're leading, I can't trust them not to suddenly start praying about parts of our faith in which we are not in agreement. If I'm leading, I hope I know enough about the differences in the different sects not to launch into stuff about communion, or baptism, and to focus on God's love, Jesus' death, our duty to serve and follow him, and our need for repentence and His forgiveness. The things that appear in every sect.

As for prayer FOR--I have no objections anywhere within Christianity (but I will say I'm not in love w/ having Muslims pray for me, and so I'm careful where I mention to others that I'll pray for them. I'll *do* it anyway, though.)

McCutieBelle

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Re: So are you Saved?
« Reply #61 on: June 03, 2008, 08:21:34 PM »
This is a very interesting discussion for me. I have been asked this question twice and both times have elicited a different response from me. I think it is such a touchy thing to ask someone you don't know and it seems like it is best to steer away from it. I remember when I went to the doctors about a year or so ago and they asked what my religion was, I asked why and they said it was because if I got into an accident they would know who to call, I know this may sound like a smart remark but I said "A doctor!" I wasn't even thinking of last rights or anything like that.

Years ago when I first met my friend I will call her Natalie, I was really searching myself and trying to learn about religion and beliefs and while we were getting to know each other Natalie asked me if I were a Christian or if I was saved. I told her I wasn't sure and was struggling with a lot of things. She told me that if I ever wanted to talk to her, she would help me, she knew people from many different religions and cultural backgrounds and was really open, we are still friends today even though I don't have the same beliefs as her

Now on the other hand, BF's mom is an extreme born again who believes that anyone who doesn't go to her church and doesn't believe EXACTLY what she believes is not a Christian and that is that. So my Grandmother who goes to church every week and lives her faith every day and does good works in the name of her faith will not be going to heaven according to her, because she is not the right kind of Christian, she will ask you if you are Saved and preach that you are going to hell etc if you don't listen to her.


Also, here is a question for you, and it is very slightly OT. BF's mom stated that she baptized BF's friend in the bathtub when he was in his late teens and said that she could do the same for me when I was ready. Can regular people baptize you? I thought you had to be ordained? Plus I was already baptized, and to this day I think BF's friend just got baptized by her so she would leave him alone, he was already a Christian before this happened.
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TootsNYC

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Re: So are you Saved?
« Reply #62 on: June 03, 2008, 08:37:34 PM »
well, different Christian sects have different thoughts on this.

Mine says that anyone *can*, but that it is nice to have a pastor do it, bcs those who did baptisms in the early church were usually the core apostles, the church's leaders.

But since the entity actually DOING anything, having any POWER, is the Holy Spirit, it can be anyone.

I've been thinking about the third question, "Can I pray with you?"

How do you answer that? Isn't that the sort of question people might think they couldn't say "no" to? I think it's sort of an intimidating question. I'd hate to never ask it (and in fact it is the question I have been told to use in "friendship evangelism," but at least then there's an established friendship, but of course that might be more intimidating), but Istill don't like the faintly coercive odor.

You're a Christian, why would you say no, would be the subtext? (I can think of reasons, honestly, even beyond my own bad experiences.)

Brentwood

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Re: So are you Saved?
« Reply #63 on: June 03, 2008, 08:42:41 PM »
If someone says, "Can I pray with you?" and you would prefer not to pray with that person, I think it would be okay to say something like, "Thank you for your kindness, but I prefer to pray privately right now."

Brentwood

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Re: So are you Saved?
« Reply #64 on: June 03, 2008, 09:19:18 PM »


Thanks for the clarification, CathyF.  I would venture to say that many people who might ask, "But are you saved?" after learning you are Lutheran would not be implying that there are no saved Lutherans, or even that everyone in their OWN denomination is saved.  Many Christians believe that religious labels have little to do with salvation and are certainly no guarantee of salvation, and that there are unsaved people in every denomination.  So, if someone were to ask you, “But are you saved?” after you said, “I am a Lutheran,” they would not necessarily be implying anything about your particular denomination.   

Well...I wouldn't be a Lutheran if I weren't baptized in the faith, so asking if I'm saved would indeed imply (to me, anyway) that my baptism was not sufficient. Also, because Lutherans believe in salvation by grace, professing a belief in the Lutheran tenets would also indicate an acceptance of that salvation. I certainly don't expect non-Lutherans to be well-versed in Lutheran doctrine, but I do know what my gut reaction to the "Are you saved?" question is/would be.

Twik

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Re: So are you Saved?
« Reply #65 on: June 03, 2008, 10:01:15 PM »
Actually, Jesus was usually harshest with those in religious authority, who he frequently lambasted for hypocrisy in believing they were better than everyone else. One does not hear of him reprimanding specific "sinners" with any harshness, such as the woman taken in adultery, or the tax collectors.

If one has deep objections to praying with someone, even a fellow Christian, whose beliefs one feels are significantly different from one's own, one should perhaps avoid taking a position in pastoral care in a secular hospital, where one would, quite likely, be exposed to a large number of such people. It would not seem to be your calling.
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TootsNYC

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Re: So are you Saved?
« Reply #66 on: June 03, 2008, 11:31:37 PM »
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that there are unsaved people in every denomination.  So, if someone were to ask you, “But are you saved?” after you said, “I am a Lutheran,” they would not necessarily be implying anything about your particular denomination.   

If you aren't, then you are implying something about *me*.

You would be implying that I am a hypocrite.

You would be implying that I mouth platitudes but do not have actual faith, that I am a Christian by culture only, and not by belief. Perhaps that I have "missed heaven by 18 inches."

It's *possible* that you might be trying clumsily to enquire about what, exactly, Lutherans believe bcs you don't really know for sure.

But if you are going to go around in the hospital praying for people, you really should learn the differences in doctrine.


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One does not hear of him reprimanding specific "sinners" with any harshness, such as the woman taken in adultery, or the tax collectors.

True--He doesn't lambaste them. But he does tell them to go and sin no more.

The people he was harshest with were those who had the gall to substitute their lists of what you need to do to be right w/ God, for God's own lists. I particularly remember him ranting about one group that let people transfer the "honor" due their parents to the church instead.

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If one has deep objections to praying with someone, even a fellow Christian, whose beliefs one feels are significantly different from one's own, one should perhaps avoid taking a position in pastoral care in a secular hospital,

The pastor in this discussion did NOT have any objections to praying w/ people whose Christian faith differed from his. The people w/ that objection are the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and occasionally me.  Oh, and maybe sometimes Amy, depending on the situation.



Twik

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Re: So are you Saved?
« Reply #67 on: June 04, 2008, 08:02:03 AM »
The point of having a position in pastoral care (either paid or voluntary) in a hospital is as a service to the patients. The position is not established in order to give the holder of it a chance to proselytize for their own faith. If one feels that a pastoral care worker who prays with or otherwise provides comfort to those who are not of their own beliefs is "lacking conviction", or that putting forward a loaded question like "Are you saved?" is a good start to a discussion on the patient's needs, I don't think one should be in that position in the first place. And saying that you just "want to know what the other person's beliefs are" may be acceptable in situations where the other person is free to walk away if offended, but not in the hospital where the patient is then put on the spot, etiquette-wise, of trying to be polite with someone who does not respect his/her beliefs, because the patient cannot get rid of them otherwise.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

TootsNYC

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Re: So are you Saved?
« Reply #68 on: June 04, 2008, 11:00:25 AM »
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Some questions are asked because the person is genuinely interested in the answer, not because the questioner is attempting to imply something sinister about one's beliefs or faith. 

I did acknowledge that possibility--did I not? I sure meant to.

I've had that happen, and am quite content to explain why I'm a Lutheran and not a Baptist.

But I think in the OP's example, the fact that this person is a chaplain in a hospital *should* mean he has a basic understanding of other denominations.

Also, note that the OP did not in fact say he was a Lutheran/Baptist/Presbyterian, etc. He was asked, "are you a Christian," and he answered yes. (as would I; I'd bring up the Lutheran aspect much later if it became relevant, which in a situation like this probably wouldn't happen)

I'm not particularly touchy about this topic, actually--this is an intellectual discussion for me. (but don't sucker me into a joining you in prayer, and then toss in something that doesn't fit my beliefs)

Asha

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Re: So are you Saved?
« Reply #69 on: June 05, 2008, 03:58:28 PM »
Going back to the original question about the etiquette-appropriatenss of the volunteer asking "Are you saved?"...

The pastoral care ministries that I have encountered at hospitals all include training for their volunteers.  Even the chaplains have a set of "procedures" which they are to (more or less) stick to. 

While I personally don't like the question "Are you saved?" (I usually sidestep it with "I'm a liturgist and liturgical musician in the Roman Catholic Church" - makes most people blink!), I do know for some people it is simply part of their lexicon.  I'm going to weigh in on the more generous side here:  I think the exchange was more clumsy than rude.  Instead of looking to etiquette, I would personally look to the training/ministry policies of the hospital.

GreenGables

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Re: So are you Saved?
« Reply #70 on: June 06, 2008, 11:09:56 PM »
I was raised in a very conservative denomination that teaches that all believers must have a sudden conversion like the one Saul the persecutor had that resulted in a change of heart and name. The desire for baptism experienced by the Ethiopian eunuch during an impromptu Bible study with Philip would also be an example. The church of my youth teaches that if you can't name the date and the place that you first believed, you probably aren't really a Christian. I think that's what people mean when they say, "I'm a born again Christian." They're saying that they can give a detailed account of a specific event.

I know that quite a few people can give a date and I wouldn't doubt anyone's account of such a conversion as long as they had the "spiritual fruit" to back up their claims, but making this a strict rule doesn't allow for the many, many believers who grew up in Christian families and can't recall ever not having a belief in Christ. Certainly that belief will grow and mature if the person desires it, but I think it's unfair and simply wrong to question the status of another's soul just because they've never walked forward to pray at a tent revival. I think the intentions are kind - provided we're not talking about Sister Bertha Better-Than-You! - so I try to be tolerant of someone who has a different view of such matters. It's not always easy though, and I understand why some would be put out.

Getting to the OP: I would be uncomfortable if someone kept pressing me the way the man in the hospital did. I love the earlier post about the pastor who would ask if there was anything the patient wanted to talk about. That clearly opens the door without putting pressure on anyone.

LJM

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Re: So are you Saved?
« Reply #71 on: June 08, 2008, 09:46:32 PM »
I'm uncomfortable being asked "are you Christian", or any other leading religious question, because I immediately feel like the person is trying to pigeon-hole me.

In my experience, the most common response to "no" is a very intrusive and obnoxious conversion attempt, while the second most common response is to immediately be written of as a "them". I realize that hypothetically it could just be to see if you have something in common to talk about, and move onto the next question if the answer is "no" (kind of like asking someone what they do for a living, or if they have a dog), but I can't remember ever encountering this. Generally, if the answer is "no", it means you are someone to either be converted or avoided. And this makes the question incredibly uncomfortable.

What I believe is a very personal matter. How I came to believe what I believe is also a very personal matter. I am not comfortable discussing religion with someone who thinks that they are Absolutely Right and that everyone else is Wrong. I can accept that some people feel this way, but I don't want to discuss religion with them, and I feel it to be exceedingly intrusive when they attempt to turn the discussion to religion, which I feel is a very personal matter-- in the same way that I'd find it intrusive if a stranger was asking about what I do or don't do in the bedroom. NOYB.

So now I just respond "I'm sorry, I'm not comfortable discussing religion with strangers (/acquaintances/co-workers/etc)". If they respect that and drop the subject, then they gain my respect. If they ignore my request, then I feel perfectly justified in ignoring them completely. If they write me off because of this answer, it's doubtful we would have gotten along anyway. But it's still uncomfortable to be asked a question that I'm almost certain will result in my being judged.

Twik

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Re: So are you Saved?
« Reply #72 on: June 08, 2008, 11:08:26 PM »
I'm uncomfortable being asked "are you Christian", or any other leading religious question, because I immediately feel like the person is trying to pigeon-hole me.

Well, I would make allowances for someone from a hospital pastoral care department asking this question, as meaning (at best) nothing more than "Hi there, could I offer you any spiritual assistance, based on my own faith and training?"
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

skbenny

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Re: So are you Saved?
« Reply #73 on: June 08, 2008, 11:37:14 PM »
The few times I have been in a hospital, I have not wanted visitors.  I have wanted privacy (when I had babies and was trying to nurse), drugs and privacy (when I had surgery) and oxygen/breathing treatments (asthma).  I didn't want my own religious leader visiting me, I didn't want a stranger visiting me and grilling me or my DH about whether we were his flavor of Christian.  Hospitals are not there for that reason.  They are there to help people in physical need.  If one is in spiritual need, there are churches almost everywhere, they are pretty easy to find - most of them have big spires, bell towers, big crosses, etc.  Of course the big sign on the front that says "Church" is often a good clue.

Nope, when I'm in the hospital, if you are not immediate family or caregiver, you probably might want to think twice about visiting and whether you will be welcome, after all I'm either in great discomfort, asleep, recovering, half-naked, half-coherent, not coherent, etc.  My dad just was in to have his pacemaker adjusted and he was NOT himself.  He had a bad reaction to the drugs and he was somewhat out of control, loud and yelling (he's 78, we forgave him and we knew it was the drugs).  As a family we would not have wanted anyone else to have seen him like that.  HE would have been totally mortified and embarrassed as he is very much old school gentlemanly.

I understand death watches, critical injury, things like terminal cancer.  Totally different situation, then it would be acceptable for someone to ask the family member if they would mind if they could offer a prayer to ABC Deity in behalf of their relative.  I am on the OP's bench on this one.  This was way beyond rude.


Ziggy Stardust

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Re: So are you Saved?
« Reply #74 on: June 10, 2008, 05:03:29 PM »
A pastoral care worker in a hospital is supposed to offer solace to sick and dying people and to their families. They're not supposed to proselytize, grill people, or try to ascertain their faith is up to their standards. I'm sure the worker in the OP had perfectly good intentions, but I don't think it's the right role for him.