Eugene Cho

thoughts on salvation

Well, I’m hacking another stimulating post for you to read, enjoy, parse, critique, and engage.  This is written by Randall A.  He and some of his friends trekked out from Hawaii to Seattle a year ago or so – partly to enter the foray of the Seattle music scene.  Randall and another band member, Miles, attend Quest.  They belong to a indie/pop/rock group called Harrison Band and got an upcoming show at the El Corazon on Sunday, October 21.  You can also see one of their videos on YouTube.  But, enough of me plugging their band. 

Randall wrote an incredibly though provoking post on the subject of Salvation.  We can easily or too simplisticly deduce salvation as one dimensional – “Do you accept Jesus or not?”  If we see the totality of Jesus’ life, salvation includes that but so much more.   Make sure you read the entire post [it’s worth the time] and share your thoughts – here or there on his blog entitled, LONE TOMATO.  It’s a beautiful thing to engage and seek to Love God with your heart, soul, body, and MIND.

This question has to do with the first century church – a church that had to endure lethal amounts of persecution. As a christian, depending on where you lived, you could be subject to assault from the Romans who saw this new cult as a threat to the Pax Romana or from Jews who considered the teachings of Jesus to be blasphemy. Despite the fact that declaring one’s self to be a christian could get you killed, christianity exploded across the continent such that a mere three hundred years after the death and resurrection of Christ, the emperor of Rome, Constatine I, legalized the worship of Christ with the Edict of Milan.

So my question is, what was it that those first christians found so compelling about the Gospel that they were willing to die for it? Because to be honest with you, if I had been living in an area where christians are persecuted today (places in the Middle East or South Asia, for example), I don’t think I would have accepted Christ with the messages I heard here in America – that Jesus died so that I could have a “personal relationship” (a metaphor that I’m not entirely comfortable with – see post 270) with God. I mean, that would have been cool but I don’t know if that would have been enough for me to adopt a life where I would likely be disowned by my family and ran the risk of being tortured and/or killed if my conversion was reported…

And later in his post:

I think the best way to understand salvation is to think of it as signing on to be a part of a revolution – a movement to upend a world that has lost its way and to set things right again. That is the good news of the Gospel.

In the first two chapters of Genesis, God creates the cosmos and it is good, perfect, flawless. And then in chapter three, Adam and Eve, duped by the serpent, eat fruit off the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

And then the shit hit the fan.

Every instance of injustice, of betrayal, of meaningless suffering, rancor, and defeat can be traced back to that little taste. Pride, lust, envy, and every other dark need that drives us entered the scene, poisoning even our best intentions. Large to small, top to bottom, everything in the world that’s not as it should be is torqued because of the fall. Everything from national stories like the racism that seeks to unequally punish the Jena Six or the incomprehensible fact that in the richest nation in the world, two years after the fact, New Orleans is still a tragedy; to national issues like the genocide in Darfur, the never-ending dispute in Israel, or the megalomaniacal government of Burma; down to the little nuisances of everyday life – drivers who don’t know how to merge, people with fifteen items in the twelve item grocery line, stupid workplace situations. All of these things because of the fall in Genesis three. As a result, everything else in the Bible from Genesis four through Revelation twenty two has to do with God helping us to get back what was lost. And this powerful play goes on and God commands us to contribute a verse! Yes, Christ died so we could be freed from slavery to sin and be reconciled to God but that is ONLY THE BEGINNING. As precious as this freedom is, it’s kind of like a fringe benefit or a signing bonus. It’s not the point of accepting or following Christ. To me, the part of the Gospel that is worth more than life itself is the idea that through the work of Christ on the cross, we become a part of God’s plan of redemption and reconciliation. It’s like we’re given a transfer from the wrecking crew to the repair crew. All the things that are wrong with the world – we become partners in God’s plan to set all things right. [READ FULL POST]

Filed under: emerging church, quest church, religion

12 Responses

  1. Jenny says:

    You certainly have some talented folks at your church who aren’t afraid to think critically about their faith.

  2. Rex Hamilton says:

    I couldn’t agree more! I heard Brian McLaren say once that we believe one of two gospels…the gospel of evacuation (leaving behind this world and it’s dysfunction), or the gospel of transformation (joining God in the trasformation of this world). Ever since my eyes were opened to being on a mission with Jesus I’ve never felt more alive in my salvation. I like his thoughts on being “transfered” from the wrecking crew to the repair crew. Overall, I think the church in America has a long journey to understanding salvation as an invitation to mission and not a free pass to live and leave our world. But I do believe in the church very much and have great hope in it’s future! On another note, I met Martin who is the lead singer of Harrison at a bar almost a year ago and have had the chance to see their set a couple times…great sound, great lyrics, great band! God bless you Eugene in your work today.

  3. Right on… Rob Bell also was saying someting similar, how there are both personal and societal implications from the Gospel, how giving a poor man some food and telling him he needs to repent are both the Gospel… about how God rescues us, reconciles us to Himself, but also transforms us and sends us back out to be a blessing to the nations!

  4. chad says:

    excellent post…really glad you pointed this out…it reminds me of some things Shane Claiborne says in Irresistible Revolution…

  5. RK says:

    Thanks for the post. Grew up in church; father’s a missionary and professor of theology and was a pastor. Trying still to figure out how theology and faith translates into an authentic and meaningful life in a church setting. Is it really possible in most churches today?

    When I read the Gospels, truth of God’s love resonates deep within me. I think it is this clear, unconditional love and ultimate freedom from guilt and sin and the determination to never lose the greatest gift to human life, that causes one to believe one can die for this.

    However, in many churches I have experienced the opposite of the freedom I mention above. People seem less honest, like they have more to hide. I do this myself because I feel judged when I walk into a church. From how you dress, to what car you drive, to what kind of house you live in, what you do for a living, and so on. Not everyone is that way, but enough of them to turn me off. Often church culture breeds a lot of “shoulds” and “should-nots”.

    I like what Randall said about doing his part in a way by filing and organizing. It’s really between him and God, who knows his heart. Whether or not we’ve read through the entire Bible, go to church every Sunday, I think it really comes down to one’s personal conviction of God’s love and truth and how one applies it in daily life…or is it? Can we form a faith community outside of traditional church?

  6. Nick H says:

    I feel that I live in a world, specifically a culture that has boxed me in and trapped me. We talk about freedom and braking the bondage of sin but I don’t feel free at all. I like the idea that salvation lies within participating in the revolution but I feel that this culture has created a world so deceiving, that we don’t even know we are in a war.

  7. e cho says:


    So, what does “participating in the revolution” mean for you?

  8. […] Comment on thoughts on salvation by chadexcellent post…really glad you pointed this out…it reminds me of some things Shane Claiborne says in Irresistible Revolution… […]

  9. an_atheist says:

    There are two questions that I have: first, if the heart of Christianity – the thing which Christians like Randall are wiling to die for – is participating with God in “fixing” this world – then why is Christiantiy exclusive? Shouldn’t all religions and philosophies that have the goal of making the world a better place be embraced by Christians as fellow revolutionaries? Afterall, Christians aren’t the only one expressing concern and trying to bring relief to the issues listed by Randall.

    Second, if being reconciled to God (whatever that may mean) is only a fringe benefit (that is peripheral to the main benefit), then why are so many Christians I know always trying to “convert” me? Why can’t I just be who I am and help fight against the genocide in Darfur or help people merge in traffic better? Why the insistence on the label Christian when it seems like we’re fighting for the same thing.

    Sorry if I sound a bit pushy; I just can’t get my head around these questions?

  10. Nick says:

    Great question……………I’ve been thinking that it might mean giving up this comfortale world my wife and I have created for ourselves. I’m not sure how that will be played out but I feel it’s something I need to do. Kind of vague huh?

    an_ atheist:

    Thanks for asking tough questions.

  11. e cho says:

    Nick: So, I guess the next logical question would be:

    “Does it have to be ALL or NOTHING?”

    You and your wife have made choices of that reflect sacrifice, generosity, and care. You’re taking steps… I guess it’s possible that your calling may be to GIVE UP EVERYTHING but if that’s not your calling or you can’t, it’s ok.

    You care and you’re trying…

  12. Randall says:


    those are great questions and honestly, right now I don’t have a compelling answer. I’m ashamed to admit that but there it is. I can say that I’m not smart enough to know how to go about fixing the world and so I rely on the guidance I find in the Bible to help me. And because I believe God created the cosmos, I believe he has the best plan to set it right again.

    And no, that doesn’t answer your questions and I apologize. I do have some ideas that might get at some of what you’re asking but I’m still working through them – they’re not quite ready to see the light of day yet. Give me a couple weeks (or months, I’m not the fastest writer/thinker) and I’ll see if I can come up with a better response.

    Thanks again for reading and asking,

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stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. Thanks for your prayers. 
I have numerous stories to share but for now, the following came up in every conversation with Iraqi/Syrian refugees:

1 Have tea with us. Or coffee. Or juice. Or something with lots of sugar in it. Or better yet, all of the above.
2 We want peace. We want security. 
3 We hate ISIS. 
4 We just want to go home.
5 Please don't forget us.

Please don't forget them... Father, please bless and protect these Iraqi and Syrian "refugee" children that have already endured so much. Protect their hearts and mind from unfathomable trauma. Plant seeds of hope and vision in their lives. And as we pray for them, teach us how to advocate for them. Amen. "We don't call them refugees. We call them relatives. We don't call them camps but centers. Dignity is so important." -  local Iraqi priest whose church has welcomed many "relatives" to their church's property

It's always a privilege to be invited into peoples' home for tea - even if it's a temporary tent. This is an extended Yezidi family that fled the Mosul, Iraq area because of ISIS. It's indeed true that Christians were targeted by ISIS and thatbstory muat be shared but other minority groups like the Yezidis were also targeted. Some of their heartbreaking stories included the kidnapping of their sister. They shared that their father passed away shortly of a "broken heart." The conversation was emotional but afterwards, we asked each other for permission to take photos. Once the selfies came out, the real smiles came out.

So friends: Pray for Iraq. Pray for the persecuted Church. Pray for Christians, minority groups like the Yezidis who fear they will e completely wiped out in the Middle East,, and Muslims alike who are all suffering under ISIS. Friends: I'm traveling in the Middle East this week - Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Make sure you follow my pics/stories on IG stories). Specifically, I'm here representing @onedayswages to meet, learn, and listen to pastors, local leaders, NGOs, and of course directly from refugees from within these countries - including many from Syria.

For security purposes, I haven't been able to share at all but I'm now able to start sharing some photos and stories. For now, I'll be sharing numerous photos through my IG stories and will be sharing some longer written pieces in couple months when ODW launches another wave of partnerships to come alongside refugees in these areas. Four of us are traveling together also for the purpose of creating a short documentary that we hope to release early next year.

While I'm on my church sabbatical, it's truly a privilege to be able to come to these countries and to meet local pastors and indigenous leaders that tirelessly pursue peace and justice, and to hear directly from refugees. I've read so many various articles and pieces over the years and I thought I was prepared but it has been jarring, heartbreaking,  and gut wrenching. In the midst of such chaos, there's hope but there's also a lot of questions, too.

I hope you follow along as I share photos, stories, and help release this mini-documentary. Please tag friends that might be interested.

Please pray for safety, for empathy, for humility and integrity, for divine meetings. Pray that we listen well; To be present and not just be a consumer of these vulnerable stories. That's my biggest prayer.

Special thanks to @worldvisionusa and @worldrelief for hosting us on this journey. 9/11
Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.

Today, I had some gut wrenching and heart breaking conversations about war, violence, and peacemaking. Mostly, I listened. Never in my wildest imagination did I envision having these conversations on 9/11 of all days. I wish I could share more now but I hope to later after I process them for a few days.

But indeed: Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.
May it be so. Amen. Mount Rainier is simply epic. There's nothing like flying in and out of Seattle.


my tweets

  • Boom. Final fishing trip. Grateful. A nice way to end my 3 month sabbatical. #catchandrelease… || 1 day ago
  • Christians: May we be guided by the Scriptures that remind us, "Seek first the Kingdom of God" and not, "Seek first the kingdom of America." || 1 day ago
  • Every convo with Iraqi/Syrian refugees included: 1 Have tea with us 2 We want peace 3 We hate ISIS 4 We want to go home 5 Don't forget us || 4 days ago
  • Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan to assess @OneDaysWages' partnerships & to film mini-documentary on refugee crisis. So many emotions. || 4 days ago
  • Pray for Mexico. For those mourning loved ones. For those fighting for life - even under rubbles. For rescue workers. Lord, in your mercy. || 4 days ago
  • Don't underestimate what God can do through you. God has a very long history of using foolish and broken people for His purposes and glory. || 6 days ago