Thursday, January 15, 2009

Save Us & Save Us Again

I've been thinking lately, with the help of Rob Bell & Pete Rollins, about the need for each of us who call ourselves 'Christians' to constantly be saved, to continually be evangelized. The strong evangelical background I was raised in (that I am extremely grateful for) has a tendency to emphasize being "saved" once and for all but can often neglect the way Jesus desires to continually save us from all sorts of things.

Now before you condemn me to the stake (I can almost hear the gasp from my 'eternal security, once-and-for-all salvation' roots), the issue at hand is the meaning of salvation. Much of the Christian world has limited its understanding of salvation to being 'saved from the fires of hell' and 'bound for the gates of heaven'. While I don't disagree with either one of these premises, I don't think this is a wholistic view of salvation. Salvation is what Jesus speaks of in John 10:10 when he says that he came to bring "life to the full". Eternal life is just as much, if not more, about experiencing the Kingdom of God here on earth as it is about 'getting into heaven'. Perhaps you could say that the Christian life is less about you getting into heaven and more about heaven getting into you.

With this in mind, I desire for any church I lead someday to be a community of humility, as we honestly seek God's salvation in all parts of our lives, daily asking Jesus to save us over and over again. Pete Rollins, an Irish theologian and leader of the "church" (not sure he would use that word) Ikon, shares a story in "How (Not) to Speak of God" that illustrates this well. Enjoy!

"Recently a well-respected church leader attended one of our gatherings in order to witness first hand what took place. Afterwards he leaned over to someone at the bar and said, 'This has been interesting, but is it Christian?'

When I heard this I was genuinely amazed that someone with his insight and wisdom could have expresed such uncertainty. Is this community Christian? Surely the answer was obvious...of course not.

If Christianity is about expressing a service to Christ, if it means radiating divine love in a broken world or sacrificing oneself selflessly in response to the needs of the other, then this community is nothing more than a fragile group of people struggling to become Christian. This sacred/secret place represents the place within which we openly acknowledge that we are the ones who need to be evangelized. Here we acknowledge our brokenness, frailty and heresy."


  1. Do you know of many churches that have this view of salvation? Ive been going to church for a long time and I have yet to step foot in one that has a wholistic view of salvation.

  2. The only community of faith I've ever been "connected" with that talks, thinks, and goes about being the church in an active way of "working out their salvation" is Rob Bell's Mars Hill Bible Church. Although I've only visited there twice, I feel like a part of the church because I have been listening to Rob's sermons weekly for over 6 years. Unfortunately, that is the only church I have ever seen that talks this way. I'm sure there are others, and I plan on my church being one of them as well.