Listening to the Bible teachers lead devotions the last two weeks here at Chamberlain-Hunt Academy I am reminded how much I admire the Reformed doctrine of sin and salvation. Emphasizing as it does the lost-ness and broken-ness of man, and the resulting separation between God and man, the Reformed doctrine of salvation has real punch.
This is not to denigrate in any way the Orthodox doctrine that rightly emphasizes the life-long character of salvation. In contrast to the joyful seriousness Orthodox theology brings to everyday life, Reformed theology has real difficulty making the Christian life meaningful beyond the unidemensional theme of gratitude. But there is also a downside on the Orthodox side: emphasizing the life-long character of salvation can lead to muddling ones understanding of how it all gets started.
No muddle on the Reformed side! The starkness of the problem and the urgent need for response is crystal clear. This need for clarity and immediacy are obvious in a military school context – everything needs to be clear and immediate in this environment. But clarity and immediacy ought neither to be foreign nor secondary concepts for the rest of us. As St. Paul says in 2 Corinthians (quoting Isaiah), “See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation.”