[these revivalist theologians] also gave minimal attention to the doctrine of creation which accounts for the otherworldly orientation of much left-wing Protestantism” (The Christian Life and Salvation
Donald Bloesch, who routinely sought for a richer and deeper evangelical and ecumenical theology, said: “The Christian life is the arena or theatre of our redemption and not simply an effect or sign of this redemption. It is the battleground on which our salvation is continually fought for and recovered” (The Christian Life and Salvation, 17). After living my adult life in evangelical and Reformed communities (where Puritanism held a healthy sway over much I learned and practiced) I have concluded that Bloesch was profoundly correct. He writes, “The Christian cannot earn his salvation, but he is called to retain it and defend it” (18).
Please read the Donald Bloesch quotation above once again. It is striking. It will quite likely jar you at first. It is paradoxical in the best sense. It also preserves the truth that I have discovered within the context of my own ecumenical journey. (This last sentence will create fear in those who wish to defend one of the previous ways in which this battle has been fought between Catholic and Protestant, even between Protestant and Protestant!) The way forward is to revisit these historic tensions, survey where they have brought us, and then consider how we can learn from them and move forward in biblically creative ways. This is the work of good ecumenical theology at its best.