THE CRASHING PLANE SCENARIO:
You are on a jetliner, on your way to an expensive holiday. All your life you ignored Evangelists telling you about Jesus. Then you are told the plane is crashing. You will probably all die. Can you now reflect on your life of ignoring the message of salvation? Can you "believe and repent," be born again there and then, and be assured of salvation?
In Evangelicalism the answer to this question is a definite yes, but it is a definite no in Eastern Orthodoxy. Here is why.......
HOW TO BE BORN AGAIN :
1) believe : Jesus emphatically stated you cannot see or enter the kingdom of God unless you are born again. In Evangelicalism, and almost all Protestant churches, the doctrine of how to be born again is to "believe on" Jesus. Notice this famous verse about salvation through belief of John 3:16 is in the chapter discussing being born again. If you believe in Jesus for your salvation, crucified, buried, and resurrected, you will be saved. And that is a promise! by the God who says he will never lie.
2) repent : repentance does not save, neither is your free will compliance to repent count as a work for your salvation. Repentance is the quality indicator of belief. Repentance is always present in the soul who believes and is saved, but it is a contradiction of the whole meaning of "believe in" Jesus to then say repentance is a work that saves.
3) Christ the evangelist : in the real life event of the miraculous draft of fishes, Jesus drew a parallel between fishing all night and catching nothing, and unsuccessful evangelism. In both situations it is only when HE is present that the fish are caught, or a soul saved. Christ can witness to you anywhere at any time. The Father is not limited in his ability to draw you to salvation by circumstances. You can be saved and witnessed to on a crashing plane. It was God himself who witnessed to Saint Paul.
4) sincerity : if it turns out the plane successfully landed, or you survived, and you go back to your old ways and ignore your commitment you made, it shows you were in reality insincere. It is only the person being sincere (almost synonymous here with repentance) who will have been born again. Frankly few people probably are sincere and get saved this way..... but because the number is likely low, it does not mean the promise of God is not real. "The thief on the cross" is an example of last minute repentance and salvation, but I want to point out that being born again is a promise of the new and better covenant, which was not sealed until the death and resurrection of Christ, so the former thief was not born again, but he was saved.
5) in Orthodoxy - the way to be born again is utterly false. The misinterpretation of John 3:5 that the water is baptism (wrong - it is the water of the Spirit, see chapter 4) means you get born again through priestcraft via an Orthodox priest. It is "water even Spirit" in Greek. Thus as you cannot enter Paradise unless you are born again, Orthodoxy doctrinally offers no hope here. In Orthodoxy also there is no promise of salvation to anyone. On the Day of Judgement in Orthodoxy, God gets out his slide rule, calculates the bar charts of your good works, tallies up how much "energia of God" you swallowed in their communion, calculates how many prayers Mary said for you (even though she is dead and not resurrected yet), throws in the prayers of the Orthodox congregation powered up by a liturgy for the dead, adds up how many tests you got through in aerial toll houses (that don't even exist), and a whole host of other priestcraft and add ons in the Orthodox process of salvation, a witches cauldron full of the bubbling stew of their bogus potpourri salvation message, for "in the works of the law there shall no flesh be justified".
THE DEATHBED SCENARIO :
Deathbed situations are very common. Catholic priests and Orthodox priests are called in often. But do they help the person to repent and secure salvation in Christ (all that is needed to secure salvation), or involve the poor vulnerable person in a formulaic commitment to doctrines, rites. rituals. and traditions designed to cement them into religion instead of Faith, in their last moments of desperate need.
WHAT YOU SHOULD TELL THE DYING TO DO:
Like calling in an electrician or a plumber, the Orthodox priest arrives at a deathbed, as if he is a religious odd jobs man, who specializes in magic tricks and incantations to help the dying into eternal life. Hocus pocus Babylonian priestcraft rites are of no use to the dying. He is there to prove that Jesus is just a leg up toward salvation, not that salvation is in Christ alone. An Orthodox priest is an assassin of the soul. You would have a thousand times better chance of making your peace with God on your own, without the priest and his mobile mass kit turning up. "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." Philippines 2:12. The final straw is the way the Orthodox church then defraud people over graves. Your loved one will be dug up and cast into a pit of bones, in Greece, unless you pay them enough money over the years to buy a small 2 bedroom house.
In reality a person should be taught simplification of Faith. But when two Gospels of Salvation are polar opposites, it is tough to design a form of words that Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, Anabaptists and Evangelicals would all accept, that actually works to sweep away the spider's web of heresy that a person might have involved themselves in by ignorance over the years, to leave them with an inner core of belief and truth that will give them salvation in Christ, out of a last minute respect for the Almighty.
List of witchcraft he involves the dying in
"I his unworthy priest, through the power given me, forgive and absolve you from all your sins." Orthodox prayer of Absolution.
Perhaps one of the top 3 hopes for the human race is simplification of your beliefs, when you are forewarned of you impending death. Over the years people embroil themselves in many doctrinal issues, some of which involve the sins of the flesh (one of which by the way is heresy!) and instead of growing in Christ, they actually move away from the salvation offered as a gift to all believers, by "defiling their garments"
Glad tidings of great joy
salvation by Grace through Faith alone
repentance as the "quality indicator" of belief
"every tree is known by his fruit" not "saved by his fruit". Works play no part whatsoever in your actual salvation. You must not contradict this, or you have not "believed in" Jesus for salvation, which means to "trust in and rely upon him" to be given eternal life. Even after backsliding for many years, if you truly repent and believe, you can still be assured of salvation in Christ, making peace with God.
cross and resurrection
Christ is God (only God is worth to save our souls) "for I the Lord am Saviour, beside me there is no other."
Orthodoxy versus Ars moriendi ("The Art of Dying") .
The Ars Moriendi ("The Art of Dying") are two related popular Latin texts dating from about 1415 and 1450 which offer advice on the protocols and procedures of a good death, explaining how to "die well" according to Christian precepts of the late Middle Ages. Its popularity reduced as Erasmus's treatise on preparing for death (de Praeparatione Ad Mortem, 1533) became more popular.
The Ars Moriendi has some good advice in it concerning how to die in a state more likely to result in salvation on the Day of Judgement. I do not presently know if there was an Eastern Orthodox equivalent book, that did the same. This book suggests many useful things.
When a Catholic priest or an Orthodox priest arrives at a deathbed, with their rites, rituals and incantations that are all pretentious booster into eternal life, they try to involve the dying person, and the family members, in a formula for damnation.
1) That a communion given by a Babylonian priest creates God in the flesh to impart grace.
2) Absolution - that a sinful priest is has the power to forgive sins.
3) Last rites (no one needs rites)
Hope for the future ?
If an agreement could be made between Protestants, Catholics, Orthodox, Evangelicals and Anabaptists, as to what they all agree on being good advice to the dying, based partly on the fact ancient books contained some such good advice, it might be of some real use. The sad reality is if an attempt was made to do this, to give the dying a better chance of salvation, detaching them from the witchcraft of rites and rituals, the Catholics would only seize the opportunity to try to strengthen the heresy of ecumenicalism.