Introducing a New Blog Series: Gospel Threads in Scripture

2019 greetings! It’s been a few months since any of us at De Ambigua have posted anything. Nathaniel and Brittain each had babies. And I had a few bouts of heartburn. In other words, they have excuses and I just have indigestion. But with a new year comes the inevitable new resolutions that become old resolutions pretty quickly: and before you know it, they become broken resolutions. But with that in mind, I wanted to announce an exciting new project of mine in 2019: Gospel Threads in Scripture.

This new blog series will try to blend the disciplines of exegesis and Biblical Theology together in order to explore what I see as the many “Gospel threads” that weave throughout Scripture and tie it all together. Invariably, most of my posts will focus on the Old Testament, seeing as that’s where the Gospel is introduced, and also because the OT provides the language by which the New Testament writers invite us to understand the Gospel. In other words, all the New Testament writers based their Gospel theology on two things: the earthly ministry of Christ and the Old Testament.

There are many reasons I want to do this study, but I have a few major reasons. One of the problems I see in everyday evangelicalism is a truncation of the Gospel message into what is understood by many to be its “essential” or “explicit” parts: namely, Christ’s penal substitution on the cross as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29) and “double imputation,” a la Paul’s statement: “He made him who knew no sin to become sin so that we might become the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor. 5:21). And, to be fair, if you have to shrink the Gospel message to two things, those are two important facets of the Gospel. But, of course, we don’t have to shrink the Gospel message. And why would we want to?

Unfortunately this emphasis has silenced, or at least drowned out, the many other facets and threads of the Gospel as found in both the OT and NT. The Gospel story is very big–cosmic, in fact (Eph. 1:10)–but we’ve made it very small. And we see the ramifications of this Gospel truncation in the preaching of “Gospel-centered sermons,” which often merely repeated the same mantra that “we are great sinners but Christ is a great Savior,” instead of preaching “the whole counsel of God,” something very Gospel-centered if understood correctly (see my previous blogpost on “Rethinking Gospel-Centered Preaching”). We also see ill-effects in the (often) misguided debate over “antinomianism and legalism,” where the “antinomians” want to emphasize what Christ saved us from while the “legalists” want to remind us what Christ saved us for. We see ill-effects in people misunderstanding how to interpret the Old Testament in light of Christ. And we see ill-effects in the simple fact that we aren’t listening to much of Scripture. In a very real sense, the often well-intentioned desire to “preach Christ crucified” (1 Cor. 1:23) has ended up leading pastors and church members to ignore or misunderstand a large portion of Scripture, portions that emphasize: kingdom, law, sacrament, prophecy, covenant, Satan, death, creation, consummation, Christ’s earthly ministry, Christ’s resurrection, the Holy Spirit, et al.

This might seem severe, and it’s probably overblown. There are actually many people writing and speaking on the things I just listed above. So really I’ll just be one voice among many (far more qualified and eloquent than I) who are trying to emphasize the many facets of the Gospel in Scripture. But it’s an important discussion to keep having, if for any reason because it’s always beneficial to try to engage with Scripture through fresh eyes, seeking to mine the unfathomable depths of God’s Word.

Most of my posts will focus on the Old Testament because the Old Testament is difficult to understand and OT narratives are particularly difficult to interpret in a way that seems satisfying and consistent. Because of those two things, a lot of people don’t try. I also want to focus on the OT because I love stories and I love all type of literature (I am a literature teacher, after all). The OT introduces us to God’s grand meta-narrative, and it also features almost every literary genre we could hope for, each genre adding new threads to the Gospel tapestry that could only be expressed by that genre.

Because I’m not very organized and I don’t know how long this series will last, invariably some of my posts will be scattered; not all will build nicely on the one before; and some might end up contradicting each other a bit. But that’ll just be part of the fun. I hope that in the end, this will be a worthwhile project. If anything, it’ll get me reading my Bible more.

So that’s something.

3 thoughts on “Introducing a New Blog Series: Gospel Threads in Scripture

  1. John Forster January 19, 2019 / 3:47 pm

    This is what is desperately needed to further the current Reformation. Just be ready to lose some friends and have your denomination kick you out. Jesus didn’t get crucified because of the Messianic offices of Prophet and Priest. When you start teaching the actual implications of Jesus being Judge of living and dead you can’t help venturing into the applications of how His standards require the Bystander to participate in killing, coercing, and confiscating from criminals as His revelation defines crime and punishment. This will poke the dragon by confronting the Prevailing Idolatry of the Age, which insists that the Body Politic (majority) is the supreme Owner and Lawgiver and Judge.

    Like

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