2 Timothy 3:14-17
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Over the next 8 weeks, we at Ecclesia are embarking on a journey focusing on The True Story of the Whole World. With the guidance of the book by Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen, we’ll be digging in to the entire story of the Bible - the full picture of the scriptural narrative - in order to help us find our place in the big, beautiful story God is writing in the world.
Last night, in our weekly worship gathering, we began with an introduction the series and a discussion about why this is an important endeavour. And ultimately, it comes down to this: stories shape us. Stories are formative. They change and shape and form and transform who we are and how we live in the world.
This all comes down to our worldview - the way we see the world. Everyone - male, female, young, old, religious, non-religious, everyone - has a worldview; it’s the way in which we organize the world in a coherent manner in order to make sense of the world around us and our place in it. It’s the story through which we filter all our experiences, relationships, and values so that we can understand them, and understand ourselves in light of them. Our worldviews are created by stories, whether we’re conscious of them or not. And, according to Bartholomew and Goheen, the way our worldviews get formed is through creating a story, at the centre of which are four basic questions of human existence:
- Who am I? (What does it mean to be human?)
- Where am I? (Where did our world come from?)
- What is wrong? (Why does the world seem so troubled?)
- What is the remedy? (Who or what fixes the problem?)
The way we answer those questions tells us our worldview. And what’s more, for those of us who call ourselves followers of Christ, we find the answers to these questions in Scripture. In the Bible.
But it’s not just pieces of the Bible that are important. It’s the whole of Scripture. The Bible is more than just a book about religion, or an owners manual for Christian living. Instead, the Bible is a drama; it is a book that contains the true story of the whole world. We as Christians can get ourselves into a lot of trouble by breaking up the Bible. For example, Hitler and the Nazi regime used Scripture to justify their racist beliefs and tragic actions. Nazism was a pseudo-Christian belief system, and the leaders looked to Scripture to show the morality of their claims. Of course, this was a misinterpretation of the Bible - but they chose the bits and pieces that furthered their anti-Semitic agenda, and made a compelling enough case that hosts of people followed them.
One way to remedy this danger is to understand the trajectory of Scripture. To see it as a whole narrative, a drama unfolding throughout history - a story in which we now get to play a part. To understand the Bible not just as a book about religion, but as the true story of the whole world.
So, that’s what we’ll be focusing on in Ecclesia for the next 8 weeks. In Bartholomew and Goheen’s book, they lay out six acts in the Bible, like acts of a play. They are:
Act 1: Creation (God Establishes the Kingdom)
Act 2: The Fall (Rebellion in the Kingdom)
Act 3: Redemption Initiated (The King Chooses Israel)
[Interlude: The Intertestamental Period (A Kingdom Story Waiting for an Ending)
Act 4: Redemption Accomplished (The Coming of the King)
Act 5: The Mission of the Church (Spreading the News of the King)
Act 6: Redemption Completed (The Return of the King)
If you’re interested, come join us! We gather on Sundays at 4:30 pm at my home in Oshawa. Hope to see you there!