In another sermon Dr. Rubel
Here is what
(1) "For God so loved
the world that he gave his one and only Son, (2) that whoever believes in him shall not perish but
have eternal life" (John 3:16).
(3) "Therefore let all
Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you
Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36).
(4) "But God
demonstrates his own love for us in this: (5) While we were
still sinners, Christ died for us. (6) Since we have now
been justified by his blood, (7) how much more shall we be
saved from God's wrath through him!" (Rom. 5:8-9).
These are the
essentials of Christian faith. It is this
core message about Jesus that we share in common with other
resurrection-confessing, born-again persons that constitutes us a church.
Outside the essence
of the gospel,
other features that reflect our history and consensus interpretations of the larger biblical
had to strain the story of Jesus through philosophical
had to create and clarify special terms. They made entrance into their circles a matter of
"enlightenment" as reflected in peculiar vocabulary and
survived two millennia now in its narrative form of telling the big story through collections of little ones about Jesus.
Dr. Shelly defines the
narrative form as writers taking the literature and constructing a
narrative for their own time, place, theological agenda and
by sifting in Greek philosophy.
This is the old
Leroy Garret teaching as it is enhanced by the
stated an earlier pattern:
"This is to say that
the gospel is not the whole of the New Testament scriptures,
gospel was a reality long before the scriptures were written.
the teachings of
the apostles are not facts, as the gospel is,
interpretations, implications, and edification based on the
In this area, that of
the didache (teaching) even the apostles differed in their ideas and emphases.
churches for whom these documents were written
different from each other.
Garrett goes on to
define the "gospel" as something revealed but not subject to
doctrine allows for debate and dialogue, for
intellectual stimulation and the stretching of the mind. It
nurtures us in Christ,
such a way that each man develops according to his own
The pragmatic mind as well as the speculative mind finds
food for thought. Its design is (not) to make us all alike
in our thinking, but to make us mature in Christ.
So, we have the
was in effect before the "graphe," and the seven ones defined
above are the only things which we can use to accept or reject
All of the
rest of the Bible is just pre-post-modern understandings of the
apostle-prophets opinions or interpretations. That means
"uninspired" to this writer.
by Dennis Downing
"For I decided to
know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him
crucified." (1 Corinthians 2:2 RSV)
In the world in which
we live, a lot of people are interested in what feels
relevant, seems "politically correct" or has a valid ring to
it. Few are
interested in the truth. But a lot of those same people are
desperately seeking truth in a relationship. They want
someone, at least one person to whom they can turn who will
not turn away.
not to an
idea but to a
person, not to a truth but to The Truth. Jesus proved he was
true to me when he died in my place.
proved he was the true way when he came back from the
really come to know Jesus and him crucified --you know all you need to know.
You have come to know
and nothing but that truth will satisfy.
was not given a message or a doctrine to
he was brought into a vivid, personal, overmastering
relationship to Jesus Christ. Verse 16 [Acts 26:16] is
immensely commanding--"o make thee a minister and a
Till I come, give
attendance to (public) reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
1 Tim 4:13
Of course, we miss
the point that Paul stopped there because the Corinthians
were still carnal confirmed by their composing their own
songs and speeches.
In Narrative Theology,
John York and Rubel Shelly would take the musical idolatry
at Mount Sinai which lost Israel God's Covenant of Grace and
had Him turn them over to worship the starry host (Acts 7),
have its second incarnation as a pattern for Christian
worship and community.