This is the fourth in a series of posts engaging with Matthew Bates’s Salvation by Allegiance Alone. The earlier posts can be read here: first, second, third.
In chapter 3, “Jesus Proclaims the Gospel,” Bates turns to confronting a longstanding problem in modern Protestant Christianity: the reconciliation of the Letters of Paul with the Gospels. The writings of Paul have long been a haven for certain forms of Lutheranism and conservative evangelicalism espousing the centrality of a particular understanding of justification by faith. While the Gospels have often been the playground of some liberal forms of Christianity attempting to advance a social agenda based upon ethical principles. The irony is that in their readings of their respective canons-within-a-canon both groups have lost sight of the animating center of the canon as a whole, as well as Paul’s Letters and the Gospels in particular, namely the crucified and living Lord Jesus Christ. Continue reading Salvation by Allegiance Alone – Chapter 3
This is the second in a series of posts engaging with Matthew Bates’s Salvation by Allegiance Alone. The inaugural post can be read here.
The first chapter of Salvation by Allegiance Alone, entitled “Faith Is Not” is Bates’s attempt to clean the deck of the good ship of the church by scraping off the various layers of mold and sediment that have accumulated over the centuries on top of the planks of the gospel, faith, and the Christian life. Continue reading Salvation by Allegiance Alone – Chapter 1
In the days ahead, I’m hoping to post a series of reflections on the chapters of Matthew W. Bates’s book Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King. When I first heard of Bates’s book about a year ago, I knew that it was a title I would have to read. His main thesis seems to overlap in some significant ways with some of my own thinking emerging from my reflection upon the themes of discipleship, apocalyptic theology, and the pistis Iesou Christou (faith in/faithfulness of Jesus Christ) debate, alongside of my dissertation work on the theologies of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Stanley Hauerwas. Furthermore, the title of the book resonates in some interesting ways with a sermon I preached that will be appearing in a forthcoming book. In that sermon, based on Romans 1:1-7, I suggest that the Gospel can be understood as “the Neverending Story of King Jesus.” Continue reading Salvation By Allegiance Alone
The Angus Reid Institute recently released the results of a polling study it conducted into the state of faith and spirituality in Canada. (You can read the report here.) As one might expect, the role of institutional religion in Canada seems to be continuing to diminish in many respects. However, the study also suggests that Canadians may be “much less hostile toward religion than declining church attendances might imply.” Continue reading Faith in Canada
“The confidence proper to a Christian is not the confidence of one who claims possession of demonstrable and indubitable knowledge. It is the confidence of one who had heard and answered the call that comes from the God through whom and for whom all things were made: ‘Follow me.'”
– Lesslie Newbigin, Proper Confidence: Faith, Doubt, and Certainty in Christian Discipleship (Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans, 1995), 105
“The church makes disciples in order to form a company of faith, a theater of martyrdom” (218). Kevin Vanhoozer elucidates this claim in the concluding chapter of his recent book Faith Speaking Understanding: Performing the Drama of Doctrine (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2014). The chapter sparked some thoughtful discussion in my systematic theology class this past week. During the discussion it occurred to me that we privileged Western Christians are sometimes enamored with overly romantic conceptions of martyrdom. Continue reading Martyrdom and the “No” of Faith