, grandson of Billy Graham and now Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, successor to D. James Kennedy. It continues to amaze me how some outside Lutheranism get it while we Lutherans ignore it. To those Lutherans who have moved their congregations and their preaching away from sin and forgiveness, death and resurrection, and on to helps for a better life today, I would encourage you to read one still outside the boundaries of Lutheranism (though, maybe not by much):
We often read the Bible as if it were fundamentally about us: our
improvement, our life, our triumph, our victory. And as a result we
treat it like a book of timeless principles that will give us our best
life now if we simply apply those principles. We treat it, in other
words, like it’s a heaven-sent self-help manual. But by looking at the
Bible as if it were fundamentally about us, we totally miss Jesus–like
the two on the road to Emmaus. In fact, unless we go to the Bible to see
Jesus and his work for us, even our devout Bible reading can become
fuel for our own narcissistic self-improvement plans.
So, if we read the Bible asking first, “What would Jesus do?” instead
of asking “What has Jesus done” we’ll miss the good news that alone can
set us free.
As I’ve said before, the overwhelming focus of the Bible is not
the work of the redeemed but the work of the Redeemer. The Bible is not
first a recipe book for Christian living, but a revelation book of
Christ who is the answer to our unchristian living. Scripture, in other
words, is the portrait of Jesus. It’s a picture of who he is and what
he’s done. The Bible tells one story and points to one figure: it tells
the story of how God rescues a broken world and points to Christ who
accomplishes this. The OT predicts God’s rescuer; the NT presents God’s
rescuer. In all of its pages and throughout all of its stories, the Word
of the Lord reveals the Lord of the Word. The plot line of the Bible,
in other words, is Jesus-centered.