Tag Archives | salvation

Christian Salvation | Amos Yong

Amos YongChristian salvation includes both the transformation of human beings into the image of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit and the transformation of all creation into the new heavens and new earth by the triune God.

—Amos Yong in Mark J. Cartledge, The Mediation of the Spirit: Interventions in Practical Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2015), 152.

Theological Roots of Pentecostalism | Donald W. Dayton

The cover of Dayton's Theological Roots of PentecostalismIt’s tempting to think that the modern Pentecostal movement was created ex nihilo. We imagine God invading Topeca, Kansas and Los Angeles, California in order to restore the New Testament church in a completely new and unanticipated fashion. This comforting origin story, however, is simply untrue.

Just as the Spirit of God moved over the surface of the deep in Genesis one, he moved across the theological and doctrinal landscape of early twentieth-century America to accomplish his work. In Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Donald W. Dayton examines the doctrinal landscape to uncover the antecedents of early Pentecostal doctrine. He finds the roots of Pentecostal doctrine in the Methodist Holiness tradition.

Early Pentecostals spoke of the “full” or “foursquare” gospel. Dayton quotes Amiee Semple McPherson in describing this:

Jesus saves us according to John 3:16. He baptizes us with the Holy Spirit according to Acts 2:4. He heals our bodies according to James 5:14-15. And Jesus is coming again to receive us unto Himself according to 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. (21)

Jesus is our Saviour, Baptizer, Healer, and soon coming King. The roots of all four of these doctrines can be found in the Methodist Holiness tradition with a few notable changes.

Where Methodists emphasized Sanctification as an act of grace subsequent to salvation, Pentecostals emphasized the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Some Pentecostals held on to Sanctification as well as Spirit Baptism which created a five-fold doctrine.

The other curious change is the Pentecostal emphasis on Pre-Millennial Dispensationalism which drives so much mission work. “Methodist and Holiness traditions have historically had little interest in eschatology or have inclined toward a postmillennial eschatology” (146). Dayton roots the rise of Pentecostal Pre-Millennialism in John Fletcher’s doctrine of Dispensations.

Theological Roots of Pentecostalism is a detailed and fascinating look at how Pentecostal doctrine evolved and has served to drive a powerful worldwide movement.

—Donald W. Dayton, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1987).

Physically or Spiritually | Howard A. Snyder

It is absurd to think that Jesus died and rose again to save our souls—not our bodies and the whole creation. Why should Jesus rise physically to save us only spiritually?

—Howard A. Snyder with Joel Scandrett, Salvation Means Creation Healed: The Ecology of Sin and Grace (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2011), 33.

Salvation Means Creation Healed | Howard A. Snyder

The cover of Snyder's Salvation Means Creation HealedSnyder has done something remarkable here. He has distilled the entire Bible into four words: Salvation Means Creation Healed. This book unpacks that idea.

For Snyder, our understanding of God’s salvation is far too limited. We understand salvation primarily as the salvation of individual humans, not the complete restoration of creation indicated by Romans 8 and Revelation 21. There are many reasons for our limited view of salvation—Snyder challenges everything from Neo-Platonism to Premillennial Dispensationalism.

The problem of sin is greater than we realized. It doesn’t just effect humanity’s relationship with God—it includes the suffering of all creation. When we focus exclusively on the salvation of human souls while neglecting our ecological responsibility to God’s creation, we’re missing out on part of God’s desire to see his will accomplished “on earth as it is in heaven.”

Snyder’s diagnosis is accurate and his vision of salvation breathtaking in breadth. Still, I couldn’t help but feel that he had to twist scripture that didn’t quite fit in order to cram it into his framework. As ecology begins to trump theology by the end of the book you see quotes like this from Amber Medin:

After my eco-conversion, I found I had added an entirely new dimension to my sacramental living. . . . I am beginning to view myself as part of the created order rather than the pinnacle of it, as a member of a worshipful orchestra rather than the principal soloist. I am learning to worship the Creator, rather than myself, just one of His creations. (205)

On one hand, this quote reflects a biblical truth: humans were created on the sixth day of creation along with all the rest of the animals. On the other hand, we humans have been gifted with the breath of God and installed as his icon-bearers in this world. We are one of His many creations, but we’re never just one them.

Read this book. While it may swing the pendulum a little too far, it’s an important corrective to our creation-denying society.

—Howard A. Snyder with Joel Scandrett, Salvation Means Creation Healed: The Ecology of Sin and Grace (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2011).

The Theology of the Apostle Paul | James D. G. Dunn (§19)

Ah, the moment I’ve been waiting for. The question I’ve never been able to understand: now that the Gentile mission has flourished, what about the Jewish people? This question is exacerbated by the prophetic fervor that has gripped my tradition ever since Israel became a political player on the world scene. I’m excited to how Dunn synthesizes Paul’s view of his own people.

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