Friday, March 4

A Couple of Soteriological Terms Explained

I considered waiting until I had more terms defined before I posted this, but then decided that shorter might be better. Who wants to sit and read through a long glossary anyway?

  • Soteriology. The study of the doctrine of salvation. This branch of theology deals with the process of salvation (how people are saved), including the study of the doctrine of the atonement.

  • Ordo Salutis. This refers to the order in which the benefits of salvation are applied to those who are being saved. It's a logical or causal order. Some of the benefits are applied at the same time and cannot be separated, and yet one is the logical cause of the other. There is disagreement in different groups within Chritianity as to the exact ordo salutis. Here are some examples of orders of salvation from various sources:
      From Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem:
      1. Election (God's choice of people to be saved)
      2. The gospel call (proclaiming the message of the gospel
      3. Regeneration (being born again)
      4. Conversion (faith and repentence)
      5. Justification (right legal standing)
      6. Adoption (membership in God's family)
      7. Sanctification (right conduct of life)
      8. Perseverance (remaining a Christian)
      9. Death (going to be with the Lord)*
      10. Glorification (receiving a resurrection body)


      From A.A. Hodge:
      1. Regeneration
      2. Faith
      3. Justification
    These two would be orders of salvation from a reformed or calvinistic perspective, and while they are different in how many steps they include on the list, the order is similar. A noncalvinist evangelical ordo salutis would be something like this:
      1. Prevenient Grace
      2. Calling
      3. Conversion
      4. Regeneration
      5. Justification
      6. Adoption
      7. Sanctification
      8. Glorification
    In Grudem's list, items 3-6 would occur at a single point in time, but the causal order would be as given. In Hodge's list, all three items would be instantaneous. In the noncalvinistic list, items 3-6 would occur as one event. Notice how similar these are to items 3-6 on Grudem's list, differing only in the order of items 3 and 4, the differences reflecting a different logical order. In a calvinistic system, regeneration is seen as the cause of conversion, and in a noncalvinistic one, conversion is seen as the cause of regeneration.

    Here's an ordo salutis given to us in the Bible:
      From Romans 8:
      1. Foreknowledge
      2. Predestination
      3. Calling
      4. Justification
      5. Glorification
    *I think it might change my attitude toward death if I consistenetly saw it as part of my experience of salvation.
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