An Old Kind of Unbelief
How should Christians view God’s story line of redemption revealed in Scripture? How does our life fit in that plot? What sort of authority does it have over our thinking, decisions, or experiences? Below are two answers to questions like these that could not be more different:
To be a Christian – in the West, at least, since the fifth or sixth century or so – has required one to believe that the Bible presents one very specific story line, a story line by which we assess all of history, all of human experience, all of our own experience. Most of us know the story line implicitly, subconsciously, even though it has never been made explicit for us. We begin our quest for a new kind of Christian faith by questioning this story line.
-Brian McLaren, A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith (forthcoming February 9, 2010)
Does our worship focus on the historical drama of the Triune God? Are we being constantly directed outside of our inner experience and our own felt needs to the real newsmaker in history? Is our corporate or private worship centered on “human will or exertion” or “on God, who has mercy” (Romans 9:16)? Is the main point trying to see how God fits into our existing plotline or to hear God tell us how we fit into his unfolding drama of redemption? Like the Old Testament feasts, the great events celebrated by Christians have to do with God’s mighty acts: the Son becoming flesh (Christmas), the crucifixion (Good Friday) and resurrection (Easter), Christ’s exaltation to the right of the Father (Ascension Day), and the sending of the Spirit (Pentacost). There is no room in the Christian calendar for celebrating our own works.
-Michael Horton, The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World
I’m so thankful for faithful Christian leaders who point to God’s authority in Scripture. To begin by questioning this story line is not a new kind of Christian faith, but an old kind of unbelief where “everyone does what is right in their own eyes” (Judges 21:25).