Saturday, April 9, 2011

Salvation, Archie Marshall, and Larry Brown

Larry Brown, my favorite basketball coach of all-time, led the Kansas Jayhawks to the national championship in 1988. That team featured Danny Manning and a few key supporting players, including guards Kevin Pritchard and Archie Marshall. Brown is a coaching vagabond, and he left Kansas immediately following the championship to coach in the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs.

Archie Marshall had ended his Kansas season with a career-ending knee injury. This was back when an ACL tear was pretty much it for a basketball player. In Brown's first draft with the Spurs, he took Marshall in the third round even though he knew Marshall would never step on the floor. Class move on Brown's part. But I've often thought about how Marshall must have felt. I imagine it was bittersweet.

I think this because if Marshall was passionate about the game, it would not be enough to have the draft status of being an NBA player. The only satisfying thing would be to have stepped on the court to face Michael Jordan or Larry Bird, to actually play the game at the highest level.

I think about this story when I think about the meaning of salvation. Some views of salvation seem to think that being saved is being drafted even if you have no way of ever getting on the floor. What matters is being pronounced righteous, even though you're not. Salvation is about your status, and Brown's drafting Marshall even though he was not good enough to play gave him the status of being an NBA player.

But salvation is about more than status. It;s about getting on the floor and playing. Salvation in this sense would mean Marshall's knee becoming better than new. Salvation would mean lacing up the sneakers and getting on the floor, participating in the game at the highest level. And I think this is how salvation is conceived in the Bible. It is not salvation to simply be proclaimed righteous, but salvation actually involves becoming righteous. As Paul says, Christ became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God.

Now when I say things like this, people think I've let loose of salvation by grace. But I don't think I have. In fact, I think I have a stronger view of grace than the view that salvation is only about being pronounced righteous. Let's see if I can walk you through that in future posts.


JamesBrett said...

great analogy. really looking forward to this series.

Bart W. Castle said...

what you've said strikes me not as letting loose of something, rather an articulate, even if unintended, statement of what people in reformed and armenian (sp) camps seem to spend time misunderstanding about each other's position. Is the point, "getting into the league" with little regard for the game, or "getting in the league" and demonstrating, likely unconsciously after a time, conduct that is evidence of being in the league? Also look forward to the subsequent posts bro.
To the game, NBA, ABA, NCAA (DI, II, or III), NAIA, who cares - it's the game that's fun.