“I got a drop-dead simple childhood view of salvation, perhaps that’s how it was always meant to be. The more I add up all this information, it seems it all comes down in the end to you and me.”
So I’ve just discovered jazz and with it a bit of Trans-Siberian Orchestra. When I heard this lyric – it really stuck out to me. Christianity ruined itself when it decided to put childish ways behind it. It decided to explain the works. The story went from one of Jesus saving us (somehow) (and for some reason) (from something) to one of Jesus saving us by substitutionary atonement for God’s glory from God’s sovereign will that anyone who doesn’t believe won’t be saved from God sending them where the unrighteous go when they die. Then they said that in eternity past God created everyone, predestined some of them to be saved and predestined the rest to not be saved. A simple view of salvation grew increasingly complex as we tried to answer questions – turning a savior into the monster that he saves us from in the process.
It reminded me of the Masked Magician doing a trick and then revealing how it’s done – as fascinating as it was, it was also a gauntlet being thrown down to challenge a community famous for never revealing it’s secrets to make new secrets to astound us all and to rise to the occasion of doing something new. Some days I wish I hadn’t watched those episodes and learned how all the tricks were done. Magic without mystery was meaningless.
And so it seems is a God whose ways are higher than our ways, and yet we can fully explain from infinity past to infinity future what he has done, is doing, and will do as if we understand him and how his tricks are done. Like Pharaoh’s magicians, we can replicate some of his power – to cure plagues and to cause them, to make fields grow and to make fields die, to war with the best of them with devastating weapons of mass destruction and mass casualties.
There is something to be said for a simpler view of Christianity, where there is mystery and suspense and unpredictability. Kids aren’t told that salvation can be denied to them because they aren’t elect. It’s only as kids grow up are the simple sketches of faith filled in with more detail, things that were deemed too difficult, too inappropriate were hidden from them are now revealed. They put away childish things behind them, and for some, that includes a simple faith, a trusting spirit, a knowledge of salvation.