Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Are You Producing Theologically Orthodox, Morally Upright, Warmly Pious Idol Worshippers?

Last night I sat down to start reading The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story by Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen, which sets out to tell the biblical story of redemption as a unified, coherent narrative of God's ongoing work within his kingdom. In the reading of the preface of the book a couple of statements stood out to me that describe much of what we are seeing happen within the church of the West in regards to Scripture, interpretation, and how we view our role in the story.

Here is the first statement that stood out:
"If we allow the Bible to become fragmented, it is in danger of being absorbed into whatever other story is shaping our culture, and it will thus cease to shape our lives as it should."

There are many other stories shaping our culture, but most all of these stories could be boiled down to one thing, idolatry. Idolatry is what has taken precedence in the secular world, but it is also showing many signs of prominence within the church. It is really a heart issue, which Tim Keller address by saying, "Our hearts are idol-making factories that make good gifts from God ultimate in our lives, thereby replacing God in our affections." Keller goes on to say, "An idol is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your hear and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you only what God can give you."

Here is the second statement that stood out:
"Hence, the unity of Scripture is no minor matter: a fragmented Bible may actually produce theologically orthodox, morally upright, warmly pious idol worshippers!" 

In recent days there has been much talk of the unity of Scripture by seeing the overarching story (Creation, Fall, Rescue, Restoration) in the Bible, which I see as a positive thing. The issue is that many people within our churches for far too long have been taught only one part of the Bible, often the New Testament, which has left many to believe that they are different stories. Many professing Christians believe that many of the stories in the Bible are just that, stories with no purpose. The problem is if Christians fail to see every part of the Bible in the context of one story then the risk is a fragmented Bible as the quote points out.

My question then is to you leaders, are you teaching your church the unity of Scripture? Have you ever thought that if you are not communicating to the people the unity of Scripture, then you may actually be assisting in the producing of people who turn out to be theologically orthodox, morally upright, warmly pious idol worshippers!

N.T. Wright says, "The whole point of Christianity is that it offers a story which is the story of the whole world. It is public truth." I want to encourage you all to see the story that Christianity offers, which faith in Jesus is the means by which you understand life and all of history.

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