Critical reviews (by Lutheran pastors and church musicians) of books and other resources for Christian worship, preaching, and church music from a perspective rooted in Holy Scripture, the Lutheran Confessions and good common sense. LHP Quarterly Book Review asks, "Is it worth the money to buy, the time to read, the shelf space to store, and the effort to teach?"
Feed: Pastoral Meanderings Posted on: Friday, March 16, 2012 5:00 AM Author:email@example.com (Pastor Peters) Subject: How we read the Bible and miss the message...
I have reported before on the on-going, seemingly Lutheran, conversion of Tullian Tchividjian, 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.