Jonathan Pennington on the Gospels as Archway into the Canon

Jonathan Penning (SBTS) has a great little piece over at SBTS Resources on Gospels as Archway into the Canon.

There was a time in the not so distant past when many conservative Christians were suspicious of any preacher or professor who emphasized the Gospels too much. On the surface this seems like an odd thing to say and an odd position to take. After all, are not the Gospels Holy Scripture and indeed the place where we see Jesus himself? Could they really be emphasized too much? Nevertheless, there was anecdotal evidence that gave this assumption some grounding. Specifically, leading up to the tumultuous days of the Conservative Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention, a divide had often occurred between those who emphasized the Gospels versus those who emphasized the Epistles (especially Paul). The opposing groups often chose one part of the New Testament over the other. The “moderates” or “liberals” tended to define the gospel in terms of love, mercy, acceptance of others, political progressiveness and social upheaval and reconstruction — all stemming from the model and teachings of Jesus himself as found in the Gospels.

A great article with some wonderful exhortations about the necessity of preaching the Gospels!

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  • Marie Peterson

    Perhaps a large part of the divide is a tendency to view passages, such as the Sermon on the Mount, as teaching how we can’t ever reach God’s standards perfectly rather than teaching what it means to live under the lordship of King Jesus (and without Him we can do nothing!- hey that’s Gospel…). Speaking personally, I found that, with the former view, I almost viewed the Gospels as a shadow and type of Paul’s theology rather than the bedrock foundation of it!

    • Patrick

      Being a former SBC, I can relate to this debate. THE problem is that SBC are dispensationalists. That denudes the sermon on the mount of it’s authority for the church right now as they say it is meant for His “future rule”. So, it loses import for the church now.

      Dispensationalism needs to be denuded of it’s import, so that’s today’s prayer from yankeeland!

  • Lynn Betts

    Well, this seems to answer why the (conservative) committee that developed the 2000 “Baptist Faith and Message” felt it necessary to remove from the 1963 version the final statement on the doctrine of Scripture that reads (in the 1963 version): “The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ.”

    I could never understand why they would find this statement objectionable. I did not know of the “deep suspicion” the two sides held toward use of the gospels vs. Pauline epistles. What a shame.

  • Jonwards

    Just wondering if Dr. Patterson and other dispy SBC leaders have ever
    Googled “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty,” “Pretrib Rapture Pride,” and
    “Pretrib Rapture Stealth.” The last item has enough passages from Acts
    etc. to blow the pretrib rapture all the way back to 1830 and to the
    doorstep in Scotland of Margaret Macdonald!

    /Yo Michael. Caught the foregoing snippet on the web. Reaction to it?/