Monday, November 1, 2010

The dissappearing gospels

Over the past year I have been meeting with two groups of people to read through a gospel. I've been reading Luke with a bunch of high school students and Matthew with some 20 somethings (a category that extends well into the 30's). Both groups have plodded along at a chapter a week. With both I wondered whether I should change it up a bit, do some old testament, or epistles.
Yet I've come to the conclusion that most Christians are woefully ignorant of the gospels (including me), and so are roughly ignorant of Jesus too. I've also come to think that unless we get some grip on the Jesus of the gospels (and until he grips us), the epistles aren't much help to us.
For example, we will read a passage like Hebrews 1, and nod our heads, about Christ being the perfect revelation of the Father, and yet spend so little time getting to know him through the gospels. our nods are theologically correct, but essentially meaningless.
Why do we privilege the somewhat abstract statements about Jesus in the epistles? This isn't to say that there is a theological gap between them. But I feel like most people read the gospels to mine them as examples of their reading of Paul.
We know God by reading a story. We need to just read the story more

1 comment:

Mike Bull said...

We can't understand Paul without understanding the gospels, yes. But then we can't understand the gospels without understanding the Old Testament.

How many Bible teachers tell us that Jesus' healings are qualifying a new Israel for Tabernacle service? How many understand that the Tabernacle, the body of Moses, was the body of death, prostrate like dusty Adam and awaiting the Spirit?

Modern Bible teaching is worse than one-eyed. And the modernistic boffins in our academies who bump around blindly in the epistles thinking they understand Paul should be barred from the New Testament and forced to read Leviticus for 5 years till their imaginations start to work again. I am very quickly losing respect for them.

I read stuff by smart evangelicals and I don't know whether to laugh or cry. They don't have the mindset required to read and understand the Scriptures. Check out the tag clouds on their blogs. Lots of abstract nouns. No Bible. Consequently they get a lot of stuff totally wrong, and they close the Bible to average Christians.

My Scripture kids get Bible symbols better than many Anglican and Baptist ministers I could name (Pressbuttons seem to do a lot better, at least the ones I know). I try to explain stuff and I can hear gears crunching and smell burning rubber. Credit to the ones who are actually trying, but it's old dog new tricks. The kids get it straight away, as they did this morning at Katoomba.

Things are changing, slowly. The old school eventually dies away. At least postmoderns understand the bankruptcy of smartarse modernistic thinking and its scientistic methods of interpretation. It's up to us to fill the vacuum with a truly biblical worldview. The kids are starving for it.