Theologian Russ Moore on the Story of Scripture

Theologian Russ Moore on the Story of Scripture May 20, 2008

Today, I found a great link from Tim Challies’s website. Dr. Russ Moore has just published a lengthy and incisive essay on the story of Scripture. It relates heavily to the development of Christocentric theology, a topic I’ve discussed at times on this blog and one which I’m working through in seeking to develop my own theological system.

In hopes of advancing this discussion, here are three sections from Moore’s essay, “Beyond a Veggie Tales Gospel: Why We Must Preach Christ from Every Text.”

1. What Scripture is fundamentally about–

“Every text of Scripture–Old or New Testaments–is thus about Jesus, precisely because, at the end of the day, everything in reality is about Jesus. Why is there something instead of nothing? Why are human beings religious? Why do people want food and water and sex and community? Why are there galaxies and quasars and blue whales and local churches? God is creating all that is for His heir, for the glory of Jesus Christ. When you see through Jesus, you see the interpretive grid through which all of reality makes sense.

With this in mind, the Scripture tells us that all of Scripture tells us the story of Jesus. The Gospel writers show us how Jesus fulfills the Scripture, but, interestingly enough, He doesn’t simply fulfill direct and obvious messianic prophecies. He also relives the story of Israel itself–exiled in Egypt, crossing the Jordan, being tempted with food and power in the wilderness during a forty-day sojourn there. Jesus applies to Himself language previously applied to Israel and its story–He is the vine of God, the temple, the tabernacle, the Spirit-anointed kingship, the wisdom of God Himself.”

2. How the story of Scripture can be missed, and corrupted–

“There’s plenty of Veggie Tales preaching out there, and it’s not all for children. As a matter of fact, the way we teach children the Bible grows from what we believe the Bible is about–what’s really important in the Christian life. There’s also such a thing as Veggie Tales discipleship, Veggie Tales evangelism, even erudite and complicated Veggie Tales theology and biblical scholarship. Whenever we approach the Bible without focusing in on what the Bible is about–Christ Jesus and His Gospel–we are going to wind up with a kind of golden-rule Christianity that doesn’t last a generation, indeed rarely lasts an hour after it is delivered.

Preaching Christ doesn’t simply mean giving a gospel invitation at the end of a sermon–although it certainly does entail that. It means seeing all of reality as being summed up in Christ, and showing believers how to find themselves in the story of Jesus, a story that is Alpha and Omega, from the spoken Word that calls the universe together to the Last Man who governs the universe as its heir and King.”

3. How Christ’s centrality in Scripture and life relates to our lives as Christians–

“It is only when I see what God is doing with the world through Christ, and for the glory of Christ, that I am able to see where I fit in the big storyline of the universe or in the little storyline of my own life. The Apostle Paul’s words to the Romans are familiar passages of comfort for believers. “And we know that fro those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28). This verse does not mean, however, simply a cheery “What doesn’t kill you’ll make you stronger; hang in there.” Instead, Paul says that the believer’s little story ultimately is a glorious one because it is part of a larger story, that I may be “conformed to the image of His Son, that He may be the firstborn among many brothers” (Rom 8:29). How do I know that my story ends happily? I only know this if I am found in Christ.

But, if I am, then like all my forefathers and foremothers before me, I am free from condemnation, liberated from the curse, triumphant over death, the heir of the universe, the child of God in whom He is well pleased. How do I know this? I know it because I know the story of Jesus. I know that David may be dead and buried–but Jesus was raised. I know that Moses may never have walked in the Land of Promise–but Jesus has received it. I know that Abraham never saw with his eyes his descendants outnumber the stars–but Jesus stands before His Father, “Behold, I and the children God has given me” (Heb 2:13). I know that when the Accuser indicts me of sin, that I am worthy of sharing a lake of fire with him and his minions, I point to Jesus Christ, and announce, “I have already been to hell–and, in Christ, there is therefore now no condemnation.”

This is beautiful, rich, weighty writing. Whether you agree with every point or not, I would encourage you to read the entire piece. It would be great for a Bible study or group of Christians to think through together. Or, it would be great simply to think through on your own as you attempt to piece out the story of Scripture, the story of your life, and the way the two fit together.

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