"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." - Jerome

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Quote of the Week: The centrality of Christ

A full week of having no assignments has allowed me to turn my studies to my own pet interests. So this week, I began my journey through the 5 volumes of Jaroslav Pelikan's History of Doctrine starting with: "The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition, 100-600 a.d."

Within the first few hundred years, one sees the unity of the church on several issues of interpretation, especially as all sorts of heresy develop. One of the greatest points of early orthodoxy was the centrality of Christ in all areas of theology. Here is an example when Pelikan addresses the issue of Scripture:

"'Word of God' was, of course, one of the most important technical terms for Jesus Christ in his relation to the Father; and when 'the gospel' or 'Scripture' was equated with the 'word of God,' the presence of Christ in this means of grace was seen as in some way analogous to his presence in the
...Christ was the preaching of God." (pg 161)
In reaction to liberalism that questioned the accuracy of the Bible, some have placed the Bible as the foundation to the Christian faith. However, we find when looking at the early Church that their foundation was Christ and the Scriptures depended on Him, led to Him and were His words. The primary doctrine of the Early Church was the inerrancy of Christ that made the Scriptures valid, not the inerrancy of Scriptures that made Christ valid.

The close relationship of Scripture and Christ may make distinctions of which one claims primacy seem technical (if both are inerrant, why quible?). But I have come to the conviction that it is important. We read in Luke 2, Simeon declares about Christ:

“Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Then we read Hebrews 4:12 -
"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Have we allowed the "Word of God" merely to mean God's commands or instructions in a book? Or does "Word of God" mean a Person who pierces us to our soul and look for this Person in our Scriptures. Muslims believe in the Word of God as revealed writings, but we are Christians and we believe in the Word of God made flesh. This does not lessen our view of Scripture, instead the Scriptures gain more power when we realize that in reading them, we are not ruled by a book, but by the Lord Christ that book reveals and Whose words they are.

On my desk sits the image to the left. It is a picture of Christ holding the Scriptures. The Greek reads: "The Light-Giver." The picture reminds me of my favorite part of the DTS doctrinal statement:

"We believe that all the Scriptures center about the Lord Jesus Christ in His person and work in His first and second coming, and hence that no portion, even of the Old Testament, is properly read, or understood, until it leads to Him."

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