Had an interesting discussion with a friend on the whole topic of salvation today. It is interesting because within a post-modern framework the markers for salvation are quite different. It is easy in a salvationist paradigm to identify things like who is saved, when is a person saved, etc. But in a post-modern setting there are barriers to overcome like firstly - what is being saved?
What has helped me the most in adjusting from a salvationist (classic evangelical I guess) sense to a post-modern evangelical sense is the whole notion of invitation. Rather than seeing salvation as an event, often to the denegration of anything preceding the event. I see it more as a process - one that God invites us into.
I think the big fear about such a view is one of confidence. In the fear rife pop Christianity there is a big deal made about knowing if you are in or out. However, the God of scripture is anything but a God of fear. Fear is not the motivation for any of God's actions. Fear is named as something that cannot stand in God's presence. But despite this I think that it is a valid criticism. In response to that criticism I would point out that as one continues to move in a Christward direction, one cannot help but be bolstered by the witness of the Holy Spirit that tell us deep inside that we are God's very own, children of Father drawn near through the love act of the Son.
The other big advantage of a process theology of salvation is that salvation is not relegated to some assurance of a far off event - it matters in the here and now. It affects every choice we make, it permeates who we are and who we are becoming. It takes seriously the process of God's transformative work in our lives. It makes relevant this word 'salvation' by defining it as the restoration and completion of God's holy intent for our lives. It makes me want to be saved.