Tuesday, October 25, 2011

An updated "Ordo Salutis" diagram

This is an updated version of my visual 'Ordo Salutis', complete with proof texts and two more events from Jesus' ministry. It's timely because the "Ordo Salutis" has come up in the some of the discussion surrounding Scott McKnight's latest book, The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News revisited. McKnight is challenging the current Christian terminology of "gospel" and it's generally an appropriate critique, as I've blogged about before. "Gospel" means a number of things (story, announcement and theology) including but not limited to personal salvation, through faith in Jesus, from sins.

There are lots of interesting and important aspects to this discussion but focusing for now on just one comment by Michael Horton and a response from McKnight. McKnight argues in The King Jesus Gospel against making "the gospel" simply about a "plan of personal salvation." Horton thinks that means "McKnight is wrestling here with the relationship of the ordo salutis (salvation applied to individuals here and now) to the historia salutis (the history of redemption)" but McKnight responds by saying:
"the ordo salutis is not the same as what I call the “plan of personal salvation” but is instead that doctrinal debate about the order of the various elements in the doctrine of salvation (e.g., regeneration and faith and justification and calling). I’m not sure why so many use ordo salutis for how one gets saved but I see it in more than Michael’s statement above."
While "the gospel" can't be reduced to a "plan" (I imagine McKnight is critiquing some sort of 3 step recovery process version of Christianity) it definitely is at essence about "personal salvation." Clearly the 'Ordo Salutis' doesn't equal salvation, that's the result of a personal act of faith, you dear reader, put in Jesus. But the 'Ordo Salutis' (aka doctrines of grace) is a theological explanation of how salvation works and a vital one at that.