The Secular Salvation Story

By. Kevin DeYoung

We all live by some meta-narrative. We can’t help but try to make sense of our lives. We don’t just live life or experience reality, we constantly interpret it.

We all believe in a salvation story.

The Christian message of salvation tells the story of sin, repentance, and forgiveness.

The secular salvation story is a derivative and deviant version of the older Christian narrative. It tells the story of self, authenticity, and acceptance.

Instead of sin committed against a holy God, we have infractions committed against the self. We don’t struggle to keep God’s law. We struggle to keep our own internal sense of right and wrong. The problem is not God-offendedness, but personal integration and identity.

Instead of repentance before a holy God, we have authenticity of self-expression. We don’t bewail being so much less than we should be. We lament not being in touch with who we really are. The confession is not “Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips,” but “Woe to me if I think myself unclean.”

And instead of forgiveness from a holy God, we have the casual acceptance of simply being the way we want to be. We don’t see the demands of justice met by the cries of a crucified Christ. We see the voice of conscience silenced in the cries of a thousand well-wishers. The good news is not grace and mercy, but tolerance and enlightenment.

We are all telling a story, living by a story, evangelizing a story. One story is ancient and rugged. The other modern and banal. One confronts. The other caresses.  One truly saves. The other falsely succors. Choose your story wisely. For one starts grim, but ends in life. The other looks cheery and ends in death.


About Jian Ming Zhong

In short, I am a five point calvinist, amillennial, post-trib rapture, paeudobaptistic (not for salvation), classical cessationism , and covenantal. I embrace Reformed Theology and subscribe to the WCF 1647. I do not break fellowship with anyone who holds to the essentials of the faith (i.e., the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, Jesus' Physical Resurrection, Virgin Birth, Salvation by Grace through Faith alone, Monotheism, and the Gospel being the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus) but does not affirm Calvinist Theology in the non-essentials. I strongly believe that God's grace and mercy are so extensive that within the Christian community there is a wide range of beliefs and as long as the essentials are not violated, then anyone who holds to those essentials but differs in the non-essentials is my brother or sister in Christ. Romans 11:36 "For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To whom be Glory forever. Amen!"
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