Old Doxoblogy

Monday, January 02, 2006

What Does Soteriological Integrity Mean?

One of the problems of inventing your own theological terms is that no one seems to know what you mean by them. So, here's a brief explanation of what I mean by Soteriological Integrity.

Soteriology in theology is the study of God's purpose and plan of revelation for salvation, through the person and work of Christ, applied by the Holy Spirit, to the final salvation of His people. (Adapted from Charles Hodge's Systematic Theology, Volume II, Part III, 'Soteriology'.)

Integrity at its root means 'whole'. It is the opposite of disintegration. Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines Integrity like this:
Etymology: Middle English integrite, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French integrité, from Latin integritat-, integritas, from integr-, integer entire
1 : firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : INCORRUPTIBILITY
2 : an unimpaired condition : SOUNDNESS
3 : the quality or state of being complete or undivided : COMPLETENESS

Soteriological Integrity then would mean, an uncorrupted, unimpaired, whole system of soteriology that involves the entire scope of God's purpose in history, from Creation, Fall, Redemption, to Restoration. All four categories of redemptive history are balanced by each other, so that, the Fall is always in light of Creation, Redemption, and Restoration.
The work of the three persons of the Trinity also are to be viewed consistently as complimentary to one another, and not in competition.
Finally, this would comprise a biblical, historical, and relevant scheme consistent with God's purposes, plan, and revelation of Himself.

So, as we venture into the wild blue yonder of Soteriological Integrity, we will focus on the works of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the unfolding drama that is commonly called the Universe. The outline I plan to follow is one that will follow the four great 'landmarks' of history that have already been mentioned. Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration.
We will discover how that a biblical view of each of these 'landmarks' will act to guide us in the way we think, live, and talk about the Gospel.

Here's an overview of what I hope to cover.
Creation: We are all created in the image of God to reflect the Glory of God, and as such, we have dignity, self-worth, and purpose, so long as we walk under the authority of the Creator, who reveals Himself through Creation and Scripture.
Fall: When Adam fell, the ability of humanity to reflect the Glory of God was destroyed. Humans still bear the image of God (in a diminished capacity), have a conscience, and are religious, but are also capable of committing the most heinous of crimes, and do so on a daily basis without repentance, and are rebels against God's purpose, plan, and character. We are all born in this condition of fallenness.
Redemption: God's purpose from the beginning was to have a redeemed humanity who would reflect His Glory without sin. God's purpose included the plan of salvation, by which He sent His Son into the world to live a perfect human life. Jesus lived a life in which He perfectlyreflectedd God's character and glory on earth in a body of flesh. He then was crucified, an act which God had planned, by which Jesus offered Himself as a substitute for His people, taking on Himself the sins and rebellion that they had committed, and freely granted to them His own righteousness, He died, was buried, and rose again to show that His sacrifice was accepted by the Father as a payment for sins and eternal salvation for those who would believe.
Restoration: All of those who, believing the Gospel trust Christ for the forgiveness of sin and repent of their sin have the promise of a day when they will be incapable of sin. In a sense, the word 'Restoration' falls short in describing this state. Adam had the ability to sin. At the time of glorification, we will be unable to sin. So it is Restoration and much more. Not only will God's people be saved, but the whole of God's creation will be restored.
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples--of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious. (Isa 11:6-10)


ThirstyDavid said...

Good points. We need to back up and see the big picture rather than separating it into parts.

After reading this article, seeing the date above the title, and looking at my own clock, I think I'll write an article on "chronological integrity." Or maybe you live in Australia.

bluecollar said...

Great post! Thank you.

Steve Weaver said...

I like it!

Word Verification: whoywdee - "It's funny!"

Reformer said...

Jeremy, I greatly appreciate your thoughts on this subject. When I was teaching Grace Evangelism at EBC, I stressed greatly the need for a Theocentric presentation of the Gospel (whic requires an understanding of Creation , fall, Wrath, redepmtion and Holy Spirit illumination) as opposed to the typical anthropocentric approaches employed by most evangelicals today (If YOU were to die tonight..., God loves YOU... etc...).

Good stuff. The next part of the series I am doing will deal with Fall and its implication to Adam and subsequently to all humanity. Look forward to you comments!

Grace to you!

Joe said...

You have been Soteriologically Integritous.

Thanks for some great thoughts.

ambiance-five said...

I love that scripture. It is so beautiful..

Mom and Dad said...

Although yoy didn't mention us in your blogs we did enjoy seeing you and family, and Steve and family very much.
You know we did drive 10 hours to see you great bloggers.
Just kidding had a great time in TN.
Oh yeah, great blog.

Miss you already, Mom and Dad