It seems that often we find answers to "What must I do to be saved?" that haul out a long laundry list of things to be done that could take hours-- weeks if the word "daily" is part of your answer. Yet there is little controversy when one talks about a "deathbed conversion" or other cases (such as mental retardation) where someone could be saved without knowing, for example, the full doctrine of the Trinity or creation.
Consider the good thief on the cross in Luke 23:
40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, "Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 "And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." 42 And he was saying, "Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!" 43 And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."
He repents of his deeds and expresses hope in Jesus as being able to provide some kind of salvation. He gets one of the nicest confirmations of salvation in the bible.
There are other bible passages that lay out other criteria for salvation:
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Romans 10:9 "[I]f you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved"
Mark 16:16a "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved"
John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Now it's easily the case that the Thief wasn't baptized, he didn't confess Jesus as Lord. Now all of the above bible passages could be authoritative and literally true if they were to be taken as having an "OR" between them. That there is one condition with several ways of getting there, or several ways of outwardly demonstrating the internal condition to be true.
Q: What have Christians said about the complexity of criteria for salvation? Are the ones with the long list confusing "criteria for salvation" with "syllabulus for teaching a new convert"?