“The fact is that sin and evil constitute bad news in every area of life on this planet. The saving work of God through the cross of Christ is good news for every area of life touched by sin – which means every area of life. Bluntly, we need a holistic gospel and a holistic mission because the world is a holistic mess.” And by God’s incredible grace we have a gospel big enough for all that sin and evil has touched. And every dimension of that good news is good news utterly and only because of the blood of Christ on the cross. Ultimately all that will be there in the new and redeemed creation will be there because of the cross. And conversely, all that will not be there (suffering, tears, sin, corruption, decay, and death) will not be there because they will have been destroyed by the cross.” Christopher Wright, Salvation Belongs to Our God
Sometimes I think we can forget that technical theological language is a product of its own time. And when we forget this we either constrict what scripture teaches on a topic to fit that language or we react against any new language that comes into vogue in our own time. Now of course to be balanced about this there is always language that comes into Christian discourse that is actually foreign and antithetical to the faith. So care and level headedness is always needed by those who theologize and consider defining key terms of the Christian faith.
In our own day a term that is becoming increasingly more popular is the term ‘holistic’. To say that something is holistic is to say that it is unrestricted, that it touches every area of life as Christopher Wright notes above. The rise in popularity of this term is due I believe to the under development of the bible’s teaching on salvation. It is due to a constriction that many fine pastors and theologians have made in their discourse about the meaning of salvation and in light of that meaning the nature & scope of the churches mission.
But there is often missing in people who talk about ‘holistic mission’ or a ‘holistic gospel’ a keen awareness that everything that is holistic about our faith falls back on the cross of Christ. There’s a Chrsitocentric nature to salvation, or speaking narrativally there’s a Christo-telic dimension to theologizing about salvation.
Thoughts, concerns, criticisms…
(Photographic art by Woplu, piece entitled “Think Different“)