Collective Salvation

There’s been a lot of buzz around the internet about the idea of Collective Salvation–whether or not our President believes in it, whether it is a spiritual or political idea (or somehow both, perhaps), whether it is taught in Scripture, etc.

Can we set aside the current politics of the discussion for just one moment?

Israel was not expecting the Messiah that came. They were looking for a king, a political leader who would “save” Israel as a whole, as a nation, not as individuals.  Many today are still waiting for that Messiah.

But when Christ came, he made salvation specific to each man and woman. Suddenly, it wasn’t enough to be a Jew. Suddenly, it had never been enough. Suddenly, everything depended upon grace and mercy and forgiveness and love.  And nobody could give or receive those things on your behalf, you had to choose them alone, with no one else to blame if you chose poorly. Here was a man, who spoke truth–who was Truth–who broke down the barriers between races and genders and the classes of society, and offered freely to all. Those who would, could become Children of God.

So is there room in Scripture for the idea of collective salvation? It seems that Jesus himself came to dispel that doctrine. Aside from pre-Christ ideas of national salvation and a ruler who would establish peace for the Jewish people, I don’t see any foundation for it. And again–this was the idea that Christ himself countered.

That is not to say that our faith has no relationship to others. It certainly does. But our salvation is not dependent upon another person; it depends solely upon Jesus the Messiah.

What do you think? Have I missed some crucial piece of Scripture? Do you see Collective Salvation in your Bible? If so, please share.

Pax Domini!


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9 Responses to Collective Salvation

  1. I see nothing of this in Scripture. It is further proof of our propensity as people, but most especially it seems in the West, to politicize absolutely everything.

    • semmie says:

      Hey Jonathan! Nice to see you. 🙂 I think I agree with you (about politicizing everything). It’s a hard line to identify sometimes, though, because our faith *should* affect our worldview and thus, our political views, also…right?

      Ugh. Heavy stuff.

  2. nmontague says:

    I think I am in essential agreement. My only problem comes when taking into account scriptures such as Hebrews 11:40 or 1 Cor 11:11. However, in context, I think they aren’t refering to salvation. as we are discussing it. And they certainly aren’t advocating this collective salvation doctrine.

    • semmie says:

      Hi nmontague. Welcome to my blog. As for the passages you mentioned, I have to claim idiocy at this moment. Frankly, the more I study Hebrews, the less I understand it. This is another difficult line, though. Understanding the unity of the Body of Christ (not just in different areas of the world, but in different generations) can be mind-boggling. I think we can talk about the redemption of the Body, or the salvation of the Body, without believe that if one of those individuals decided to leave the Body, the rest of us would suffer the consequences. All of this to say, I think your point is well-stated: these passages may talk about the entirety of the Body of Christ without advocating this doctrine of Collective Salvation.

      But…now you’ve got me asking more questions. Just another proof that I have much to learn yet!

      Thanks for stopping in! Hope to see you again sometime. 🙂

  3. Steve Ward says:

    The only place that I’ve seen anything close to this was in Acts 16.25-34:

    25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 27The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

    29The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

    31They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family.

    This, however, was much smaller than what is being discussed. And it may have been somewhat of a prophecy.

    It’s difficult, for me at least, to discuss this bit of heresy that’s been spewed out of the mouth of a “Christian” man who, from my understanding, has yet to attend church in Washington D. C. One of the conservative sites said the he admitted to the President of Egypt that he was really a Muslim. Whether that is so, I don’t know for certain. But there are too many “odd-ball” things about this president. For one, the birth certificate that he presented is of the same type that both my Chinese-born children have. And he still has yet to turn in other background information. So many of the things he says, I am inclined to first question it, and later doubt it.

    By the way, this Sunday, the family and I are going to a Chinese Family Camp at Amish Acres, just south of South Bend, Indiana. Everyone have a great week, especially you, Sarah.

    • semmie says:

      Steve! Great passage! Now…were you saying that the salvation/belief of the “and his whole family” could be construed as Collective Salvation? Or were you saying that all of the prisoners being released could be construed as Collective Salvation? I assume the first. The family belief is one of those topics I have never really settled within myself. I am prone to believe that the Scriptures mention it this way, not to indicate that one man can believe and affect salvation for his entire family, but to express that his entire family had gathered and was moved by the message of Christ and chose (individually, the people in his family) to believe and be saved. I think. Maybe?

      Thanks for sharing this. I have a lot to chew on yet before I make sense of the idea of Collective Salvation.

      Enjoy your time with your family, Steve!

      • swardus says:

        The jailer’s family could be misconstrued as collective, but I think Paul was being more prophetic when he said “…and your household.” this is a similar with Peter and Cornelius. while his household was all God-fearing people, they had not yet received the Gospel or the Holy Spirit. Paul may have received, in the heat of the moment , his message through the Holy Spirit, too.

        While someone might make these passages into a rather flimsy argument in support of “collective salvation”, this event doesn’t take in all of humanity. So, if someone says that he can grab the ankles of a gathered-up believer as a free ride, he is either a fool or he’s creating a cover story for his non-belief. The author of such dribble is, of course, Satan.

      • semmie says:

        Very well said, Steve. I have nothing further to add on this at the moment, but I appreciate your responses. Thanks!

  4. nmontague says:

    There is always more to learn. The problem comes when we assume we know something. That’s why we always need to seek knowledge.

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