[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Trigger or Treasure Chest

by hk flynn

I think a significant difference among our theological strands seems to be an intensely different perspective on the role of the offer of eternal life in Christian doctrine. There may be a better way to phrase it but that is at least in the ball park. It seems to me that in the free grace theology/dyspraxicfundanmentalist view, the offer of eternal life does not itself validate Christian doctrine. It is simply the trigger the Lord chose to regenerate sinners. Theoretically, the content of the offer could have concerned the Trinity, or the Virgin Birth or any number of other doctrines, but God chose it to be profoundly self reflexive: By believing that Jesus gives eternal life to anyone who believes in Him for that, one is given eternal life. The far more mainstream Devoted life/Leaving Oz/Raise your Ebenezer view is that it actually minimizes a doctrine to leave it out of the offer of eternal life. In this view anything absolutely essential and absolutely fundamental to the salvation of sinners should be represented in the content of the offer of eternal life. To not do so is a minimizing of those doctrinal truths. In a certain sense, I think this view treats the offer of eternal life as a treasure chest. My disagreement with it is I truly don't see why it isn't arbitrary to treat the content of the offer of eternal life in this manner. Why must it be a set of all crucial and relevant doctrinal concepts concerning salvation? Is there a biblical or philosophical reason for this? Aren't these relevant questions to ask?


  • Jodie, that is an excellent demonstration of the difference between the Free Grace and the mainstream view on this subject.

    God Bless


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, May 25, 2006 12:56:00 PM  

  • I think your questions do get to the heart of the debate. :)

    By Blogger The IBEX Scribe, at Thursday, May 25, 2006 1:04:00 PM  

  • Part of the debate comes down to a difference of interpretation on verses like Romans 10:9, which free grace theology says refers to a temporal salvation rather than to eternal salvation (if it referred to eternal salvation, one would have to believe Jesus is Lord and was raised from the dead in order to have eternal life).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thursday, May 25, 2006 1:11:00 PM  

  • Thanks, Matthew :)

    My intent was not to make the idea of something being a trigger better than something being a treasure chest, but to clarify, and then to also restate my own position.

    God bless


    Hi Scribe :)

    Glad you think the questions get at the issue. Hope you mull them over :)

    God bless


    Hi Anon,

    I thnk that is a good point. Do you mean that 10:9 is indicationg that Jesus is Lord, as in Jesus is God.

    I think that is true because the early church was of course refusing to affirm Ceasar is Lord.

    And yes I do think Paul is giving them advice on how to gain salvation in their embattled Christian experience by being public worshippers of Christ, not secret believers.

    God bless


    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Thursday, May 25, 2006 2:51:00 PM  

  • Wow I didn't realize the Affective approach to soteriology was so mainstream ;~)! But I see what you're saying, Jodie.

    To say that the mainstream view is a treasure chest vs. trigger, IMO creates a false dichotomy by committing the fallacy and argument of the beard (in other words failure to recognize that the trigger is only a "part" of the continuum which actually defines salvation [e.g. the person and work of Jesus Christ]). In other words, the "trigger" is presupposed by the "treasure chest"--I have exhaustively pointed this out!

    And as you note, Jodie, my position is more aligned with the "historic" mainstream approach here--maybe there's something to the fact that there is a "mainstream" view in the first place!

    Jodie said:

    ". . .The far more mainstream Devoted life/Leaving Oz/Raise your Ebenezer view is that it actually minimizes a doctrine to leave it out of the offer of eternal life. . . ."

    I don't believe this, Jodie! I believe that the "trigger" is "loaded" and shaped by the "ONE" who actually offers salvation (see Phillippians 2:5ff). In other words I don't think it's possible to "leave it out", since these two categories are inextricably linked (i.e. part and whole/whole and part dialectic), and inseparably related.

    I wish I had more time, Jodie, but I don't right now . . . if I did, I believe that doing a theology of salvation in the gospel of John would demonstrate the very thing you hope to deny (by focusing on the gospel of John); and that is that inextricably tied to the offer of salvation is the person of Jesus. Just an assertion right now, but later, maybe I'll take the time to do such a study, and post it on my blog!

    In Christ,

    Bobby Grow

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Friday, May 26, 2006 11:42:00 PM  

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