Monday, July 25, 2011

Not-so-helpful Ordo Salutis diagrams

Here are two diagrams that I found on the interwebs that aim to visually represent the Ordo Salutis. While I applaud both the effort to represent theological concepts visually and the desire to show how the different doctrines of grace relate to one another on one page, they both fail in a number of important aspects.

Visually the design above, from this blog, is cluttered and it's unclear if the diagram is relating the Doctrine of Salvation to the believer or simply representing the doctrines in abstraction.  Theologically it's missing some important elements, no mention of Forgiveness, Union with Christ or Mortification. Regeneration is also incorrectly presented as a stage rather than a through-theme.

Then there is this diagram, that didn't copy across well from this blog, which goes for the simple approach.  However it suffers from the same problem, does the "past, present and future" relate the doctrines of grace to the believer or the doctrines as they relate to each other in abstraction?  It too misses Forgiveness, Union with Christ and Mortification along with Preservation and Adoption.  It also misrepresents the doctrines as being simply sequential and strangely places the Atonement early in the diagram.


Alistair Bain said...

Forget the diagrams. Union with Christ does it for me. To insist on a formal ordo salutis runs the risk of displacing the Christ-centredness of every aspect of salvation.

I'm all for "orderly" theology. But God's work in salvation can't be reduced to an "order." Every facet of our salvation is awaiting its consummation. No link in the chain is ever finished.

Sorry if I'm going over old ground here.

Luke Isham said...

Hey no problem. I'm also not a fan of a strict linear 'Ordo Salutis' but I do think all the doctrines of grace can be coherently represented on one page.

About 'Union with Christ", like faith, repentance and regeneration it's a theme and not a stage but I wouldn't go so far as to make it the key organising principle of salvation because of it's generality.