Guarantee of Paradise?

The Question: The news media have made a big deal about how the Koran promises Muslims they will enjoy all the pleasures of Paradise if they die in holy war (jihad). Doesn't the Christian Church make the same promise?

The Response: First off, I should like to point out that there is an enormous difference between the church that Christ instituted in Acts 2 and what you refer to as "the Christian Church". Christ's church, the Body of Christ, is made up of all true believers. The so-called Christian Church is a loose arrangement of religions and religious who claim to follow the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Membership in this vague body varies with the person providing the information. Some more ecumenical persons might consider really "out there" assemblies, such as the Dolly Pond Church of Jesus Christ With Signs and Wonders Following" or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to qualify for inclusion in this body. I don't.

In answer to your question, I am not aware of any modern Christian church that offers guarantees of Paradise (Heaven) to those who die in holy war. The Roman Catholic Church surely comes close with its doctrine of "Baptism of Blood."

1258. The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of Blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament.--Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), (c) 1994/1997 United States Catholic Conference, Inc.

Mother Church comes a lot closer than that with what amounts to a guarantee that those who die for the faith (though apparently not limited to casualties of holy war) are saved.

1281. Those who die for the faith, those who are catechumens, and all those who, without knowing of the Church but acting under the inspiration of grace, seek God sincerely and strive to fulfill his will, are saved even if they have not been baptized (cf. LG 16).--CCC, Op. cit.

Lemme see now. The Roman Church has, at times, claimed to be Israel, or Judaism, fulfilled. I wonder whether she might also lay claim to being Islam fulfilled?

Just so there is no confusion, I wish to point out that the Scriptures make it perfectly clear that no one is saved by works that they do, even dying for the faith. There is only one means to salvation, and that is by God's grace, through faith alone in Christ alone.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.--Ephesians 2:8-9

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