In Part 1, I described how Matt Bates in Salvation by Allegiance Alone had a helpful description of the gospel that included the enthronement of Christ and gave it a distinctly V shape. In this post, I will give a few reasons why I don’t think allegiance is the best macro term for translating pistis (usually rendered as faith or trust).
For the last six years my eyes and ears have been attuned to a spatial reading of the Scriptures. I wrote my first book on the spatial nature of the kingdom and have plans at some point to write a biblical theology of the descent-ascent theme that is found across the canon of Scripture. Recently I picked up Matthew Bates newest book, “Salvation by Allegiance Alone.” In the first part of the book, he gives an argument for what I would call a “wide angle lens” of the gospel, but he employed imagery that resonated with me. He argues that the gospel has a V-shape (he admits he heard this from Ben Witherington first). What does he mean by this?
I generally am about a year behind on “the best books of the year” except for the ones in my field of interest. This is mainly because I cheat. I wait to hear from others what books are most worth my time. I love all the December “best of” lists because they help me to create a reading list for next year.
I am afraid that we have relegated Christianity to something in our mind and lost the sense of how holistic redemption is, how God communicates what Christianity is through the images that he has given to his church. There is a felt flatness to some versions of Christianity, not an embodied invitation to a historic sacramental Christianity. The historic images that God has given to his church are not the practices that usually come to our mind when we think of what it means to be a Christian.
Jamie Smith’s most recent book, You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit, is a more popular version of his books Desiring the Kingdom and Imagining the Kingdom. It removes some of the more academic conversations and distills his thesis into a two introductory chapters. But the book is not just a redo; there are new metaphors, new illustrations and he applies his thesis to the spheres of Christian worship, the home, youth ministry, and work.