2008-02-04

Scripture: The Story that Reads Us


OK, instead of writing a sermon this last week, I drew a picture. Click above to see it.

The basic thesis that drives the chart above (and the sermon that went with it) is that Scripture is a grand Story which reads us and interprets our lives to us. When we find our place in the outworking Story revealed in Scripture, we find our true identity in Christ. This Story has seven "ages" or "chapters":

1. The Creation.
2. The Crisis.
3. The Calling.
4. The Christ.
5. The Commission.
6. The Church.
7. The Completion.

Let me describe a little of what is going on here. The idea that "Scripture is a grand Story into which all of our personal stories are being woven" is not a new one. It has its roots in the early Church tradition. One exemplar that I can think of is Irenaeus and his theory of Jesus Christ recapitulating and redeeming the whole human story.

However, the immediate inspiration for this has come over the last 5 years through three authors: (a) CS Lewis hits on this theme in several of his essays, and even implicitly in his Narnia series and Space Trilogy. (b) Brian McLaren puts forward a scheme that is substantially the same as what I have drawn above in his book "The Story we find ourselves in". This book was the first time I explicitly began to formulate my ideas of Scripture as Grand Story, and I borrow heavily from McLaren. (c) NT Wright, in his book "The Last Word" (and others) formulates an idea of Scriptural authority based in narrative consistency. His schema only uses 5 acts in the Story, but I rely on his sense of Biblical Authority.

There are also other works of systematic theology, such as VonBalthasaar's "Theo-Drama", and Kevin Vanhoozer's "The Drama of Doctrine", and Gabriel Fackre's "The Christian Story", which contribute largely to my understanding.

Anyway, enjoy the chart. I hope it makes sense. At some point I will put an essay up which describes in detail what the chart means. But, until then: My you find your story in His Story.
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This is a bunch of stuff to make us think hard about our incredible love affair with the God of the universe, our astounding infidelities against him, and his incredible grace to heal and restore us through Christ. Everything on this site is copyright © 1996-2015 by Nathan L. Bostian so if you use it, cite me... otherwise you break the 8th commandment, and make God unhappy. You can contact the author by posting a comment.