Thursday, 20 March 2014

Faithfulness and Freedom: Divine Drama and Pilgrim Improvisation

In my last post I ended with the increasingly popular insight about regarding the Bible as a great Drama in which God's purposes are being gradually unfolded, acted out in history. A Drama which we get to enter into and play a part. One of the most popular advocates of this way of viewing how we we live under the authority of Scripture (as opposed to it as a rule book, blueprint or big book of answers) is N T (Tom) Wright. He speaks of the Five-Act Model (as in a Shakespearean play) and suggests that the 5 Acts are: Creation, Fall, Israel, Jesus and Church. Others have suggested modifications to this but my main concern is with how we relate the Drama so far (recorded in Scripture) to how we live out the Drama now. And with how we live out this Drama not only  in the light of what has gone before, but also in the light of the final scene, the ultimate end of God's story. Doing this is a better way of understanding how we live under Scripture's authority.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

A Big Story Told Through Many Stories

I said in the last post that I now try to primarily engage with the Bible as God's Big Story (as well as a Sacred Place where we experience transforming encounters with God). This is not new, and right across the Christian theological spectrum there has been an emphasis on the narrative nature of the Bible for many years now. But people put this observation to varying uses and still end up with very different views of the Bible and of what they think it teaches. I also don't think what has taken place in academic and more reflective parts of the Church has always connected with popular Christianity at the grassroots, especially among pentecostal-charismatics. We have tended to concentrate on the Bible as a 'sacred place' of encounter; and then used it as a book of answers, a rule book, or blueprint when we wanted to argue the case for our beliefs and assumptions. Having said that, in the best sermons I have heard, the preachers have actually