The Gospel is More Than a Story

The Gospel is More Than a Story

“Christian faith is not primarily about arguing over right beliefs and doctrines, it is about letting the story of God’s grace become our story and shape our lives.”

I am sure many of us (who read at least) have heard/read some version of that in recent years. “Storying” is very much in vogue in Evangelical circles right now. There is an interesting discussion on the Gospel Coalition website between Trevin Wax and Lesley Leyland Fields (read her article on, ‘the gospel is more than story’ here.) on the dangers of seeing the Bible almost exclusively as a grand story. In her writings for Christianity Today magazine, Fields helpfully reminds us that,

“God gave us stories indeed, but he also gave us proverbs, poetry, law, exhortation, prophesy, lament, riddle, letters, visions, genealogies, and prayers. Man lives by every word that proceeds from God’s mouth.”

“For reasons we will likely never know, God, who could have placed in our hands any kind of book he wanted, chose to give us a plurivocal, polyphonic, multilinear anthology, a magnificently irreducible book that contains as many rhetorical forms and voices as we have temperaments and experience. God knew—of course!—that we need them all. It’s time, then, to replace the term “narrative theology” with “literary theology” to include all the literary genres God chose to speak through.”

It all makes for fascinating reading. I work in a culture that loves stories. It is an excellent evangelistic/teaching tool. They love to hear good testimonies. The Christian church, for example, loves to bring in a good testimony to keep the punters interested (story telling can also be a good teaching tool too). And why not? We should, after all, use any and all means at our disposal. The thing we must remember is that all of our biblical stories must point us to Calvary. My worry is that the current story obsession in some circles can leave us thinking that  the universe is about us when it is about Him and what He has done for us. At Niddrie we love to tell the grand story of the Bible, beginning at creation and all the way through to redemption and the coming renewal of all things. We find it a helpful platform upon which to help our people understand God’s salvation plan from a wider perspective. The Bible isn’t just a story to be told but a truth to be proclaimed and commands to be acted upon.

Good stuff and well worth further reflection.