Interpretations of Salvation

David J Bosch:

For its understanding of salvation the first model–that of the Greek Patristic mission–was oriented to the origin and beginning of Jesus’ life–His preexistence and incarnation. The orientation of Western mission was toward the end of Jesus’ life–His death on the cross (formulated classically in the Anselmian satisfaction theory). In both instances salvation was located on the edges of the life of Jesus. The third model, that is, the ethical interpretation of salvation, was oriented to Jesus’ earthly life and ministry. It admittedly introduced a more dynamic element into our understanding of salvation, but in such a way that, in the final analysis, it made Christ Himself redundant.

We stand in need of an interpretation of salvation which operates within a comprehensive christological framework, which makes the totus Christus–His incarnation, earthly life, death, resurrection, and parousia–indispensable for church and theology.

Transforming Mission, p. 399

One of the major strengths of Witness Lee’s writings is that they do precisely this. Lee provided a sophisticated and comprehensive view of God’s economy as the process in which the all-inclusive Christ, as the embodiment of the Triune God, passes through incarnation, human living, death, resurrection, and ascension, is transfigured into and realized as the life-giving Spirit, and is then applied as life and everything to the believers for their judicial redemption and organic salvation.

5 thoughts on “Interpretations of Salvation

  1. Isn’t it encouraging to see that somewhere in the Christian community there is the thought that there is a need for “an interpretation of salvation” which is comprehensive, and therefore “indispensable for church and theology”? Isn’t it wonderful that the Lord has already revealed this comprehensive, organic salvation through the Apostle Paul, and is recovering this realization in the church through the ministry of the age? Praise the Lord!


    • Yes! It’s exhilarating. Since salvation is so central to our understanding of what it means to be Christian, paradigm shifts that have to do with soteriology can be momentous. Reading Bosch has been very enlightening because he is trying to connect dots across centuries to convey an understanding of church history, not just a recounting of church history. The paradigm shift concept applied to church history and theology has been a huge help.


  2. We are happy to hear such deep insights. Here in Germany there is a great need for more messages
    like yours. Anyway, we thank you for presenting truths in such a deep way. We are looking forward,
    for more practical fellowship with seeking Christians in our locality. Greetings from Illingen, southern


  3. Pingback: Bosch and the Totus Christus | life and building

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