The role of Scripture in Christ-centered preaching

What is the role of Scripture in Christ-centered (trinitarian) preaching? Consider the following from Eugene Peterson (quoted from “Living into God’s Story” - click here to read the full paper):

Scripture…does not so much present us with a moral code and tell us, "Live up to this," nor does it set out a system of doctrine and say, "Think like this." The biblical way is to tell a story and invite us, "Live into this - this is what it looks like to be human in this God-made and God-ruled world; this is what is involved in becoming and maturing as a human being."

We don't have to fit into prefabricated moral and mental or religious boxes before we are admitted into the company of God. We are taken seriously just as we are and given place in his story - for it is, after all, God's story. None of us is the leading character in the story of our lives. God is the larger context and plot in which all our stories find themselves.
How can we most effectively use Scripture as story to tell the Good News of our inclusion through and with Jesus in God's story?


Anonymous said…
Hi there!

The idea that states or implies that how we think is not important, leaves me feeling rather uneasy. The reason is that such an idea runs counter to the Great Commandments of the New Covenant. Please note:

I Jn 3:23-24--And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.
Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us. (NIV)

Yes, how we think does effect the presence or lack thereof of Jesus Christ in us. Let us be careful not to miss this point.

The best to you all!

J. Richard Parker
Anonymous said…
This is a follow-up to my previous comment.

You see, I do feel that the Bible is like a great novel, which flows to a belief conclusion. Furthermore, I feel that the Bible's final "chapter"--the New Covenant is crucial for us to use in explaining "Christ centered" theology and in preaching such.

But I must say that I see a reluctance of many preachers to "sit down" in the New Covenant books (John through Revelation) to frame theology. Instead, I see a strong tendency present to "run away" from these books to find foudation for what is taught. Unfortunately, this often just produces "law centered" theology and preaching.

Now, I am not saying that the pre-John books are of no value. Actually, they are of great value as they set the stage for the New Covenant and give us framework for the need for the New Covenant. (And yes, I do preach from the pre-John books as I show that stage setting.)

What I am saying is that we can
"sit down" in the New Covenant books, with no need for proof-texting, to find our base. In fact, by so doing, it protects us from forming concocted notions about the faith.

The best to you all!

J. Richard Parker
Ted Johnston said…
Edith Humphrey unpacks a theme similar to Petersonn's in her book "Ecstasy and Intimacy" (Eerdmans, 2006). She addresses the writings of the Church's ancient and contemporary "spiritual theologians"-noting that these are useful to the church as they are "anchored within the grand biblical narrative..the holy *meta - narrative* of God's dealings with the world, with humanity, with Israel, and with the Church, God's *New Israel.*"

This anchoring makes it possible for this writing (and by extension, biblically-based preaching) to be an aid for the peole of God "to meet with God in the Scriptures."

This approach to Scripture as place of meeting (rather than mere information or moral instruction) follows "the pattern of the Scriptures themselves, for the Bible is meant not simply to teach information *about* Christ, but to be an icon, a window, a means to meet God and to be met" (pp. 14-15).

Of course, the God that we meet in Scripture is none other than the Father-Son-Spirit (Trinity), in whose triune life our lives are centered and contained through the incarnation of the Son of God in the person of Jesus.

Thus Scripture is the place of meeting with the triune God, and an encounter with our true humanity in Jesus.