Here’s a brisk and evocative claim: “Salvation is not a one-night stand. It cannot be isolated from the thick texture of history; it is all-encompassing, pulling everything that has happened and happens, and every person named and unnamed, into relationship with the work of God in history” (147). The Exodus is the OT example of how salvation works in history. Is your theory of redemptive historical?
History is about God, exorcism and salvation; and he rehearses the Exodus story.
God: God’s absence is inherent to this story. And he trots out some psalms on this. And we pray with them, and when we do we “pray in rhythm with our biblical companions who neither liked nor understood all that is involved in salvation any more than we do” (155). Therefore, he lays down this observation: “Any understanding of God that doesn’t take into account God’s silence is a half truth — in effect, a cruel distortion — and leaves us vulnerable to manipulation and exploitation by leaders who are quite willing to fill in the biblical blanks with what the Holy Spirit never tells us” (156). Write this down somewhere.
But God is also present. I AM THAT I AM. Inherent to the Exodus is not only God’s absence, but God’s presence. “Yahweh had bound it up with the free manifestation in history of his self-revelation in history” (160).
Exorcism: Here’s the problem. “The loudest and most conspicuous players on the field of history are playing quite a different game that Christ is” (160). “Christian spirituality makes the bold to claim that there is only one game on the field of history and that is salvation” (161). The Ten Plagues show Israel that the gods of paganism are an illusion. They are a deconstruction of evil; they are an elaborate exorcism. Pharaoh’s sovereignty over life-forms is destroyed one by one; Yahweh’s sovereignty is established. A performance in ten acts. He sees a Jesus counterpart in the Temple cleansing.
Salvation: Salvation is told as a story; not a dictionary definition. Here’s a quotation worth pondering: “salvation is not the spiritual diagnosis of souls, one here, one there; it is the story of a people, a community with a past, with ancestors, with common experience” (170-171). And this: “All the critical verbs in the core story (Exod. 13:17 and 14:31) are powered by God” (172). And then there is the meal (Exod. 12:14). And this: ” ‘Pass the broccoli’ and ‘Hear the Word of God’ carry equal weight in conversations amogn the saved” (174). The meal is called Passover.
Next there is the song. Exodus 15. “In a salvation-defined history, sin is not diminished –… — but it is not longer definitive” (178). “A sin-defined history understands history as primarily the experience of what men and women … do.” “By contrast, a salvation-defined history accepts all the sin-evidence but penetratingly discerns the sovereignty of God and the work of salvation ‘in, through, and under’ all of it” (179).