I have studied various aspects of Biblical Theology and the Redemptive Historical Hermeneutic for about 12 years now. Though I don’t always do it well, as a pastor, I try to place every sermon series in the context of the bigger storyline of redemption; so much so that our Church of the Cross family is probably tired of going back to Genesis in almost every sermon series.
I love the dual emphasis on the unity of Scripture (through God’s progressive revelation of Himself) and the emphasis on the supremacy of Jesus (He is the point/key/fulfillment of all Scripture). But, as Michael Goheen recently reminded me, there is another, dramatic but overlooked implication to understanding the Bible as a story; there is an inescapable truth-claim woven throughout the biblical narrative: it claims to not only be a unified story but the true story of all creation (and by “story,” I don’t mean fiction but defining narrative).
I worry that many American Christians have undermined the absolute claims of the Bible by treating it, not only as a mere collection of unrelated stories but as simply one “religious book” among many. It is neither of those things; it is the story that gives all other stories their meaning and place.
How can this be relegated to only Sunday morning? How can this not capture and compel us? If the Bible’s claims are taken seriously then there is no place for “nominal” Christian living, there is no returning to “life as usual.” If we are truly swept into the world’s true story, then our lives are not our own.
I was tremendously convicted when Goheen related being questions by some Chinese scholars whether or not North American Christians really believed the truth claims of Scripture. So often, my life is lived on my terms, as if I’m writing my own story rather than being swept into something more challenging, rewarding, all-encompassing than I could have ever imagined.
We are God’s people, reconciled to Him, made ambassadors of reconciliation, deliverers of the good news that the One who is setting everything right has come and the new is bursting forth from the old; that there is hope, meaning, purpose, significance and belonging. That, no, things are not as they should be, but we have a guarantee that one day, they will be; that there s meaning and purpose.
When we understand the Bible as the world’s true story, nothing can stay the same.