Wednesday, July 21, 2004

How dilute do you like your salvation…?

“Salvation, as normally understood outside the context of the whole story (say-a-prayer-so-that-when-you-die-you-can-go-to-heaven), lacks the power to be compelling. The reductionist version was never right or true. Lacking the context of the story of God and his Kingdom, salvation became, in late modernity, just another consumer item that supposedly secured one's eternity.”

(Todd Hunter in Yaconelli, M (2003) Stories of Emergence: Moving from Absolute to Authentic )

"Our understanding of mission can only be as wide as our understanding of salvation. A narrow understanding of salvation will be reflected in mission" has been an ongoing mull for me. Stephen Zedler in three posts recently (Coming Around to Salvation ; More on Salvation; Salvation and the Witness) points out...
...that we have made salvation an easy process dependent upon the acceptance of propositional knowledge. This surgery-style salvation is ineffectual, because it's law. "You must first say you believe these things (and BE SINCERE about it!), then you must act this way. THEN you are a Christian." What deception.

The fruit of such narrowness, he points out, is seen in a complete neglect the duty of living out the values of the kingdom of God. The result being Jesus remains a convenient accessory to my life, rather than creating a change in me.

Salvation he argues comes when we realise our own insufficiency, then begin to seek significance in God. Salvation is not a 12 step program. It's not a checklist. Making it such makes it law, and law does not bring life. But Jesus brings life...

Grace, goodness, and compassion – he continues - are the traits in which God can be seen. Those characteristics proclaim what God is about. Not a list of rules... not law. These traits give life. They set free. They make sure that people who are enslaved to their own weaknesses, insecurities, and hate can overcome them.

(Adapted and fairly much butchered and stuck together for my own purposes from Stephen Zedler at Liquidthinking - apologies)
It leaves me thinking how dilute do you like your salvation? Dilute salvation provides for mission that is insipid. Insipid mission can only stem from character-less, colourless church. Personally when it comes to demonstrating the kingdom of God – I’m not too comfortable with that.

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