I’m reading Matthew W. Bates’ Salvation By Allegiance Alone this week, in which he argues that the word the Apostle Paul uses that is usually translated “faith” (pistis in the Greek) is better understood as “allegiance” in relationship to salvation. It’s an interesting way to look at things.
Bates argues that the essential proclamation of the Gospel in the NT doesn’t culminate in Jesus’ death and resurrection but rather continues to his ascension and reign as king and lord. He outlines it in eight points:
Jesus the king
- Preexisted with the Father,
- Took on human flesh, fulfilling God’s promises to David,
- Died for sins in accordance with the scriptures,
- Was buried,
- Was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
- Appeared to many,
- Is seated at the right hand of God as Lord, and
- Will come again as judge.
This is pretty well in line with NT Wright, not an uncommon take. Bates then outlines three “dimensions” of allegiance that he contends are components of salvific allegiance:
- Intellectual agreement – basic assent that those eight components of the Gospel are true statements;
- Confession of Loyalty – leaning heavily on Romans 10:9-10 here
- Embodied fidelity – what he describes as “practical fidelity” to Jesus as Lord, referencing heavily to Matthew 7 and the “not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord'” text.
None of this appears to be hugely controversial at this point, but the reframing is helpful to me to get my head around how we might articulate salvation by grace through faith and yet still say that faith without works is dead.
More to come, I’m sure.