Only God can satisfy human need for salvation

The Rev. Steve Nagler

EVANS MILLS — I was not available to attend the April 25 debate that Jerry Moore and the Rev. Mahlon Smith held on the existence of God. However, I do have some thoughts to share concerning this topic of discussion.

From my perspective, I believe we are again living in a time frame in which the truth of the Bible, especially in equating the person of Jesus Christ with God, is considered naïve thinking. Why is this? Well, perhaps because Jesus not only claimed to be one with God and spoke of his resurrection from the dead but believed in demonology and eschatology.

Man was overwhelmed by a God-opposing force from which he could not free himself. To many modern-thinking people, these claims are preposterous! These concepts need to be replaced.

Why? Well, a key reason might be, as evidenced at different times through our human history, the view of the nature of man. Is man by nature good or evil? Plato and Aristotle both agreed that the nature of man is essentially good.

At another time in history, the impact of Charles Darwin and his book “On the Origin of the Species” presented the thought that man is ever developing (from an amoeba stage), progressing and improving. This work also presented a positive anthropology.

The French Enlightenment of the 19th century said the same as one read the works of Voltaire, Denis Diderot and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Religion for them had no meaning.

Man did not need a God much less a God who presented himself as a Saviour. All man needed was a good moral example to follow.

In the 1950s, the foremost theologian of his time, Rudolf Bultmann, introduced something called “demythologizing.”

In essence, he proposed that to believe in the Biblical view of spirits and demons is contrary to contemporary thinking. To believe that man’s nature is basically sinful and evil and in need of redemption is unacceptable to the thinking of modern man. Consequently, scripture is not absolute truth but only valuable in what one can take from it that is agreeable to current thinking and is politically correct.

The “God Is Dead” movement of the 1960s basically said that man is so advanced and quite capable of taking care of himself. Therefore, there is no need for a belief in a higher power called God.

Much of modern man’s thinking today continues in this tradition. But human history has proven that left on his own, man takes two steps forward and three steps backward!

Final thought for now: The anthropology of man presented in the Bible points to a condition that every man and woman cannot contend with on his or her own. It is a disease of origin because of the truth revealed in Genesis chapters 2 and 3. This disease can blind one intellectually and obviously spiritually to the truth “that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

The result is that man sees no need for redemption and a loving God that sent His only begotten Son (John 3:16). This condition prevents one from seeing God in the flesh in the person of Jesus Christ.

How do I know there is a God? Because I need a salvation that only God can produce for me!

The Rev. Steve Nagler of Evans Mills is a chaplain at Cape Vincent Correctional Facility. An ordained minister with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, he previously served as a chaplain in U.S. Army from 1985 to 2005.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1


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(8) comments


This new format for commenting is terrible.


I think the fact that the Bible was written 150 years after Jesus died, and has suffered from some really bad translation work is the first problem. The second problem is the behavior of religious people. Donald Trump won the religious vote overwhelmingly. Donald Trump brags about cheating on all his wives, and once described to Howard Stern how he tried to abort Tiffany. President Trump has taught us that saying you are Christian does not mean you have good moral values in any way.

Holmes -- the real one

This really deserves an up vote.


LOL gasgun, that's the same thing that stood out for me! What a bunch of hogwash and circular reasoning.


A prison chaplain! Talking about having a captive audience! To top it all off, exposure to other faiths is regulated. Here is the info from the NYS Correction Facilities website: "Participation in religious programs is voluntary. An inmate may regularly attend only the religious programs of their designated religion. However, inmates who desire to learn about the religious practices of another faith may do so by attending up to three services or study sessions per year, after consultation with the Chaplain or Staff Advisor of that faith group, or the Coordinating Chaplain." The mushroom principle at work: keep them in the dark and feed them manure.

Holmes -- the real one

Amen to that, brother!


"How do I know there is a God? Because I need a salvation that only God can produce for me!" Of all the lame arguments to prove the existence of a god, this has to rank among the weakest: I need god, therefor he/she exists.

Holmes -- the real one

Nailed it.

How DO people swallow this lame reasoning?

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