Write, if you have any answers to the questions listed at the end of this section, or would like to add to the answers below.
I have been told that only one man could not be saved: the impenitent thief on the cross. I had no answer to this, and would appreciate how to best reply to this very firm assertion.
There are at least three possible answers. The first, from the nature of God, is that with God nothing is impossible; the second is from the nature of Christ, who asked forgiveness even for his crucifiers, and surely would have extended this to the man suffering beside him; and in any case, did he not say there was only one sin that couldn’t be forgiven, the sin against the Holy Spirit, and where is there any evidence that this was the sin this brigand had committed?
Third, the poor chap was hanging in agony for six hours or more before the squaddies put him out of his misery. During that time, he would have heard and seen all that Jesus did and said, and what the centurion himself said about Jesus when he died. How can we say that he was irredeemable? We have no evidence about his state of mind by then. We cannot judge.
The real problem with this scenario is not knowing why the person made this damning statement. Was he worried about the situation, or a very strict Calvinist, or was he just trying it on to discomfit his puzzled victim? Sort this out first, and then try all the above:something might work; or even “What about Judas Iscariot? If he could be saved, so could anyone.”
Or, even better still, challenge the person with another question, as Jesus himself did: “What evidence do you have for saying that?”
(Mrs) Ann Johnson, Poole, Dorset
In the Renewal and Reform project, has any work been done to get annual meetings, and especially the rules about elections, back to pre-Churchwardens Measure simplicity?
Address for answers and more questions: Out of the Question, Church Times, 3rd floor, Invicta House, 108-114 Golden Lane, London EC1Y 0TG.