Salvation: Trading Stories vs. Substitutionary Atonement

How would discipleship in North America be affected if more people viewed salvation as the process of “trading my story for God’s story” as opposed to “a substutionary atonement that saves me from my sins”?

I think the latter is an element of salvation, but it might be selling salvation a little short. It makes salvation about “me and God.” It puts the emphasis on “my personal relationship with God”, a concept foreign to scripture. It de-emphasizes the VITAL role community plays in salvation.

Trading stories, however, emphasizes repentance and obedience. Not simply because an “angry judge will condemn us to eternity in Hell if we don’t get right,” but because there is a better life to be lived in God’s story. What’s more, the concept of trading stories equates salvation with initiation into a community of believers. We cannot do it alone. Like the Israelites, we move together as a chosen people, a royal priesthood, declaring to those we meet that “the kingdom has come near” (Mark 1:15). We are a part of a marginal, subversive community that is involved in a Frodo-esque adventure. We trade the old, pointless life for a new one wrapped up in kingdom business.

Those are just my opinions, though. Your thoughts on salvation>

(I’m taking Narrative Evangelism with Dr. Mark Love, which is all about this stuff. Amazing class so far. Thanks to Mark for igniting many fires in my brain already this semester!)


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Theodore A. Jones on October 29, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    The only Way the Acts 2:38 command can be obeyed is by repenting of the sin of Jesus’ crucifixion. Just think. You are paying money to Mark to tell you there is some other way to get into heaven. He, he.


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