03 January 2009

In the middle of cleaning out my room at my parents' house, I found one of my term papers from a couple of years ago.

It bears this promising title: "You Can Get to Heaven on a Bicycle: The Relevance of Faith and Works to Salvation."

An excerpt from the introduction:

There is a well-known camp song that many children learn around the fire-- "You can't get to heaven on roller skates." Playfully building on a theme, the call-and-response song enumerates many different ways to not get into heaven. As with most folk songs, the lyrics change depending on the person singing it--you can't get to heaven on a pogo stick, in a limousine, in a putt-putt car, on a pair of skis. The choices are almost as endless as heaven itself. One variation might instruct the echoing singers that they can't get to heaven on a bicycle. A bicycle is a more apt analogy for the path to heaven than, say, a pogo stick. Throughout the New Testament, Christ ans His apostle proclaim the way of salvation as faith and obedience-- "faith working through love." The way of faith can be likened to a bicycle, one wheel being faith and the other being obedience and works of charity, both working to propel the rider to his destination. A bicycle is useless without one or both of its wheels; the Christian life is likewise of no avail if one of these elements is missing. Of course, the analogy is insufficient to illustrate the whole Christian life, but it provides a clear picture of how ineffective an incomplete Christian life is. You can't get to heaven on a bicycle with only one wheel. By preaching salvation by faith alone, Martin Luther attempts to ride this one-wheeled bicycle, yet faith needs works, or else it is useless. Although Martin Luther asserts that man is saved only by faith and receives Christ's righteousness by imputation, Christ and His apostles teach that faith and righteous works in tandem are necessary for salvation.

Oh man. What was going on there? I think my favorite was "Martin Luther attempts to ride this one-wheeled bicycle." Not my best writing, but perhaps one of the cleverest introductions I've ever written, despite the fact that I probably don't have a good grasp of how either Christ or Luther tell us we can be saved.


Maria Nichole said...

It is indeed a clever introduction, and I was really enjoying it. I feel like most of the time I'm riding a bicycle with one or more flat tires...they're both there, just deflated at times, waiting to be pumped back up again.

Erin Bernard said...

Haha I feel like I am trying to ride a bicycle with NO wheels, most of the time. God help us. It was a pretty snarky introduction, though. Like, Martin Luther on a bicycle? What? Haha. I can't believe I turned that in.