Friday, July 08, 2005

Saved?

Yesterday, I had the privilege to meet with a group of Christians here in Nashville called the Nashville Cohort. It was a group of eight white guys sitting on couches in a restaurant talking theology. Now, while I look very much forward to a time when the group would include women and members of other ethnicities, it was a great time for me to get together with people outside of my denominational scope (although there was another Church of Christer there, or as we like to call ourselves "True Christians").

It's very much based in Emergent theology, which isn't bad in and of itself or good in and of itself. I sometimes grow a little weary of the hipper-than-thou attitude I perceive, although I feely admit that that might be my perceptions, which is also not a reflection on anyone I met yesterday. Well, besides the Tony Hawk-lovin' Dixon. Anyway, we discussed issues of salvation and that's something that I've been pondering recently, especially terminology.

The term Saved itself has certain implications. There is a "to/from" inherent in it. I think of it in terms of being in the ocean (since I watched the Bourne Identity the other night). If I say that I was saved from the ocean, then there's the implication that I'm saved to something, generally a boat or land or something.

As a Christian, I think I taked the word "Saved" for granted and to use that terminology makes assumptions all over the place. However, I'm trying to change. I'm trying to see that salvation is NOT solely about punching my ticket to the afterlife. It's not about making sure that I'm in and everyone with whom I disagree is out.

When Jesus selected his 72 disciples in Luke, he didn't do that to make sure those got into Heaven. He selected them to go out and do HIS work. He empowered them to go to places that he wouldn't be able to go. When we become Jesus' disciples (a better term than "Saved," in my opinion), we gain a huge responsibility. We become partners with Christ in bringing about the Kingdom of God. To claim to be saved without embracing that responsibility, without spreading the good news that Jesus talks about in Luke 4, then what's the point? What's the point of claiming to be a follower?

8 comments:

Tiffany said...

I love the conversation in "A New Kind of Christian" about salvation. He points out that, especially in the Old Testament, Scriptures about salvation refer to the earth as a whole - the mountains, the animals, the trees. It puts a whole new spin on our role. We're not just out to "get butts into heaven" (another great line from the book), but to spread God's salvation to everyone we meet. In other words, we need "saving" from more than hell. There are enough rotten things here on earth that we can fight against. We can ease poverty, get medicine and clothes to those who need it, comfort the grieving, give hope to the depressed and hopeless.....

Salvation is so much more exciting when it's about everything in my everyday life, not just some place I hope to go to after I die. God's power isn't just about life over death, although that is probably its ultimate expression. No, His power in us can be used to change people's life here and now.

And can I just say that I despise those Christians who perform acts of charity with strings attached? As in, I'll give you a meal, but you have to listen to a sermon while you eat, etc. We're supposed to love and serve and give, regardless of whether or not the recipient shares our beliefs. Or says thank you, for that matter.

Okay, putting the soapbox away now.....

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. It reminds me of my own attitude shift that I've gained in the last couple of years. Gratitude to God for what he has done has become my largest motivation for serving God. When we are thankful to God for what he has done, whether here or for later, it is so much easier to love our neighbor and do the things you mention.

Rob Cox

Tony Arnold said...

Great thoughts Phil. We have to be saved to something indeed. Furthering the Kingdom is not sitting back, saying, "Well, I'm saved now, guess I can take the rest of eternity off."

Tony

c said...

ah yes, being a "true Christian" is quite nice. after you left i was able to baptize all 7 of them. booyah.

one point i wanted to ask the group, was how do we define justification/santification in our current context. i can't stand these theological jargon terms, mostly b/c i get them mixed up, but there seems to be some pretty strong teaching in Pauline literature. but i guess i'd balance it with what you said, "kingdom" language.

also, there are many many metaphors that the Gospel writers speak of in regards to salvation. political image, educational image, economic image, legal image, harvest or farmers image, and the doctor image. all these dimensions have, i think, essential ideas of what salvation is, etc.

Phil said...

Dude, I've never heard baptize and booyah in context together, but I swear on the sword of my father, Domingo Montoya, the next time someone gets baptized at OC, I'm yelling "Booyah."

I agree that salvation is very important in the context of Scripture, but I'm still going to stick to my thesis that it has a heck of a lot more to do with what I do in this life than the next one.

Brandon Scott said...

cool post as always, bro.

Tony Arnold said...

Phil,

I am coming forward this Sunday AM to be re-baptized, just so I can hear you yell, booyah.

Tony

Fajita said...

Good thing to go to a cohort meeting. I think emergent needs some forward thinking post-restoration types sharing in the conversation.

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