Wednesday, August 18, 2004


Salvation is THE thing, right? If we are not saved, the options are a) oblivion, b) damnation, or c) ???? If oblivion, then studied indifference is certainly the best approach. If damnation, then a fleeing to and clinging to whatever it is that saves from damnation is the clear and urgent option. What puzzles me in modern Protestant discourse is a tendency to speak of salvation in a way that is indifferent. Confession of hoped for salvation is accompanied by a complacency, what we might call laissez faire soteriology.

God saves, Jesus saves, but saves from what, exactly, and if saved, then why not also rejoicing? This is my question. Why are we so blithe, so insouciant, when it comes to salvation?

Maybe for c) see above, we should insert a reciprocated insouciance on God's part. Maybe God is as unconcerned about the whole situation as we are, in which case the relationship between God and humanity is one of casual indifference. That would truly be to make the God-human relationship a mirror of American's relationships to each other. By and large, we live in a world of casual indifference, live and let live, only concerning ourselves with others when they get in our way, tread on our territory.

First answer to the question, how shall we preach salvation and teach it in the church... if we are going to talk about salvation, we better start being more clear about what we are being saved from, and saved for. "Jesus saves" is now as vacuous a claim as "Just do it!" Just do what, we ask, and should we really? Jesus who, and do I need saving? These are our questions on the way to right proclamation in the way of Jesus, in the way of Scripture, in the way of the church.

Maybe more pastors need to be yelling, "The house is on fire... God, we pray we are wet in the waters of baptism, cause we can't find the exit from this damned building."

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