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September 21, 2006



I think that salvation is a point, a decision, a one-time event. Living it and up to it, is a lifelong journey. We may stray from the path and 'return' not unlike the prodigal son, but he never stopped being the son of his father. Nor do we loose our salvation for straying. It is a commitment that can be renewed and strengthened.

If we spend our time focused on this one event, we are missing the point (which may be what is meant by the quote). God doesn't ask what did you do for me, but, rather what are you doing for me right now.


I have to say that the illustration seems sarcastic. While there may be Christians who get too focused on one thing (like the moment they were saved) I don't think that a race is the correct comparison.

Rather, the illustration of a marriage works better, and the one Jesus used. Every day we continue on the journey in a relationship but we can still honor the day we fell in love, got married, etc, and thank our spouse for choosing us/saying yes. We can sing songs of how wonderful the day we got engaged was and show off the wedding video and photos and at the same time work on moving forward together. Now if one of the partners spends all day, everyday, watching the wedding video rather than loving their spouse, working on the marriage or raising the kids, then there is a problem.


I like your analogy, Deb. I do think we tend to focus back on the moment of conversion, however, as opposed to seeing salvation as a journey. A journey most often has a recognizable beginning point, but we don't usually dwell on that point.


I have to point out the fact that paul uses the example of a race all the time to depict the christian life. There are so many elements to the race that we can each relate to, perservering, sometimes wanting to or just flat out quit, gettimg tired of the race, looking over our shoulders at others(perhaps a pride issue)needing that water to quench our thirst on the way, and like paul said looking to the prize set before him thats why he continued the race. Personally I think its a great illustration to describe our chritian life.
Sorry I didnt list the references but I can if you want them, I hope that doesnt sound haughty, because I dont mean to be :)


No, we don't dwell on that point, but you may always be thankful to the people who made it all possible.

I agree with you that the point of salvation is the start of a journey, and I also believe that in many cases the point of salvation is a journey itself and some people don't have a specific time to point to.

But I think that McLaren picked an illustration that would portray certain people as stupid rather than misguided. I understand his point, and in some cases it is valid and should be made, but if I could think of a better illustration after 5 minutes, certainly he could have during the whole time he was writting and editing the book. Doesn't he have a PhD in English or Literature? Having read some of his stuff, he purpose seems to be to correct what he sees as errors (and some I agree with him on), but in this case, he does it with harshness that doesn't agree with his whole message of kingdom building.

So are we supposed to be discussing the actual illustration he used or the idea behind it (in which case I'm throwing the whole thing in the wrong direction)?


Well, I only gave you one paragraph of the parable. Perhaps one of his points is that we spend a lot of time singing about what God has done for us instead of what he has yet to do through us.


Aren't we supposed to give praise to God for what he has done and does do for us?

I think that one of McClaren's points is that just giving praise is all some Christians do, which is wrong. People who do that fall under the reprimand given when Jesus ascended - "men of God, why do you look to the sky?" At the same time we should make a joyful noise for our blessings.

Just Me

I'm glad you added that you've only shared part of the parable since I've heard a VERY long version where some runners stopped just after crossing the starting line, some were injured and withdrew from the race, etc. I think that knowing the whole parable would change one's reaction to what McLaren is saying. The start of a race is a "one time event," - races can only start once, (although there are false starts which if considered would introduce a whole other series of theological ramblings) - but the point of starting is (should be) that you intend to run to the finish line, so I would say it's also a journey.

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