The Ordo Salutis, Sex and the Churches of Christ

One of the best things I've seen on the Internet in some time is a comment by "Dan" to a post by Bo Sanders who was responding to a post by Tony Jones on what is known as the Ordo Salutis, the Way (Order/Steps/Stages) of Salvation. A traditional rendering of the Ordo Salutis is a follows:

Thinking through this Order "Dan" gave the following illustration on Bo's blog:
I decided that my wife and I should have a romantic Valentine’s Day. We’ve been married for almost 22 years and I have gotten really good at romancing her. I know exactly what to do to put her in the mood to be intimate with me (foreknowledge).

So I planned a ridiculously romantic evening – leaving nothing to chance – every last detail (predestination).

I called my wife from work and told her we would meet at our favorite restaurant (calling).

I waited at the restaurant trusting that she would show up as promised (faith).

It took me a few minutes but I altered my disposition from get stuff done, work guy to slow down, be attentive, romantic guy (repentance).

My wife acknowledged my attention and sent me signals all evening that she approved of how I was treating her (justification).

My wife decided to skip dessert because she had made up her mind that she was ready to make love to me, she had been romanced sufficiently (regeneration).

My wife began to adopt a very provocative posture toward me and flirted with me the whole way home (adoption).

The drive home took forever, this woman wanted me, we couldn’t get home quick enough (perseverance).

Wouldn’t you know it, we got a flat tire on the freeway. I changed the tire in record time but I scraped my knuckled on the asphalt as I was lifting the tire off the rim and I got oil on my best suit (mortification).

I was sure the sex would make the bloody knuckles and the dry cleaning bill all worth while. My wife told me how wonderful I was and that she would rather be with me than any other man on the planet (sanctification).

When we got home things started off wonderfully (glorification), but my recurring problem with ED made it necessary to hope that the future would bring the satisfaction we were unable to obtain that evening (after all we are evangelicals and our glorification is already but not yet).

Funny thing is, my wife showed up the next day at work and we did it in the broom closet.

Funny how relationships never go as planned. The good ones anyway.
Fantastic! Funny and deep (as I interpret the conclusion).

My particular tradition, the Churches of Christ, is deeply committed to an Ordo Salutis, what we call "The Steps of Salvation." These were, as I remember them from my childhood:
1. Hear
2. Believe
3. Repent
4. Confess
5. Be Baptized
What struck me in looking over the Ordo Salutis in the Churches of Christ, in comparison to the classic Ordo, is how anthropocentric the Ordo is within the Churches of Christ. Everything centers and hinges upon the human agent. In my opinion, this distorted focus has done enormous damage to the Church of Christ tradition, theologically speaking.

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5 thoughts on “The Ordo Salutis, Sex and the Churches of Christ”

  1. At one level (historically), we have the five because you could count them on one hand, so kids could learn them quickly. Too bad we didn't use two hands, huh?

  2. Well, I grew up in (and still go to) the Church of Christ, I graduated from ACU (1995), and I am a professional mathematician, so I already know I will burn, but my next comment will probably raise the temperature.

    Chris and Richard, I couldn't help but think, with the sex diagram of the Ordo Salutis and then the 5 fingers line, about "Rosie Palm and her 5 friends", and that somehow, the C of C plan of salvation was like spiritual masturbation.

    I know, I know, I will burn for that one.

  3. These posts by those who claim to have grown up in a congregation of the church of Christ tragically confirm that while growing up they failed to understand the redemptive message of Christ, which should have led them to an understanding that Christ's perfect faith is he basis of one's hope of salvation. The five steps of faith alluded to serve merely to appropriate that grace. Hence, the obedience of faith (expressed in the aforementioned five steps), appropriates the righteousness of Christ (at the point of being baptized into his death). Thus the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. (Christ's perfect faith accessed by my feeble but trusting faith). To fail to see beyond the five steps mentioned is Phariseeism of the worst sort.

  4. The ordo salutis in Calvinism puts everything on God resulting in nobody having assurance of salvation. And its not biblical. The Bible teachesa definite order of salvation: First you believe, then you get baptized, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." Repentance and confession come in between those two as the necessary preconditions of baptism: "Repent and be baptized..." and "Eunuch: What can hinder me from being baptized? Philip:If you believe you may. Eunuch:I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God." Therefore, when you have done this, you know you're saved. No guessing about secret decrees and other nonsense invented by a crazed French lawyer named Jean Calvin.

  5. A sex illustration for salvation is gross blasphemy, so no. The church of Christ ordo salutis is the truth, and the Calvinist ordo salutis is grotesque sexual perversion manifesting itself as perversion of the scriptures.

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