Friday, March 21, 2014

Facts to teach, heroes to copy, or grace to reveal. . .

I must admit that I am weary of the many well intended but generally flawed efforts to engage evolutionary theory with the Genesis record.  Compromising the two and correlating them seems the most foolish of the paths.  Arguing constantly has gotten us almost nowhere.  Believing the Jesus who is the eternal Son of God once conceived, carried and delivered from the womb of a Virgin to suffer, die, and rise again, whose death is counted as payment for all the sins of the world and all its sinners but then wondering how God could create the world in six days seems the ultimate irony. The Scriptures are filled with facts that God clearly intends to be taken as facts, literal and historical.  But that is not the purpose of Scripture.  If you win the facts war, you have still not won the purpose for God's self-disclosure in His Word.

In the same way, I am all about saints and heroes.  Lord knows we have too few noble people to raise up the hopes and sights of our youth today.  But as wonderful as the lives of the saints (in and after Scripture), the Bible is hardly given to us as a blueprint of the kind of life we could, should, and would lead if we were good enough, tried hard enough, or believed sincerely enough.  Heroes to copy is hardly the purpose of the Scriptures.  The saints are to be remembered and their stories told but not as role models or at least not primarily as such.  They are recalled and their lives told as evidence of the grace of God sufficient for every need, calling us to His purpose with the promise that all things (read that adversity, tragedy, and sacrifice) work together for good for them who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose (read there baptism and its resultant vocation of new life in Christ).

No, the Scriptures are the book of the church because they reveal to us the grace of God.  This is not some theoretical or philosophical grace for us to ponder but the grace revealed in all creation endowed with His purpose and living for His glory, the grace of love that refused to abandon what He had made even when His mightiest creation did, and of the grace that was spoken through the ages until it became flesh and blood for us and our salvation.  Grace to reveal -- that is the story of Scripture -- amid facts, history, a plan of salvation before the world began, unfolding through moment, epoch, and era according to God's kairos until the glory of the Lord is manifest in the flesh and blood of our Savior and in His flesh and blood given and shed for us to eat and drink still as the foretaste of the feast to come.

Don't get me wrong.  The Scriptures are filled with facts and the stories of our heroes.  But they all serve one purpose -- to reveal to us grace of God in which we stand.  Unless we get this right, the other stuff matters very little at all...

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