We have lived for so long with a “propositional” approach to Christianity, we have nearly lost its true meaning. As Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen says, Much of it hinges on your view of scripture. Are you playing proof-text poker with Genesis plus the Gospels and Paul’s epistles, with everything else just sort of a big mystery in betweenâ€”except maybe Psalms and Proverbs, which you use devotionally? Or do you see scripture as being a cosmic dramaâ€”creation, fall, redemption, future hopeâ€”dramatic narratives that you can apply to all areas of life? (PrismÂ interview)
For centuries prior to our Modern Era, the church viewed the gospel as a Romance, a cosmic drama whose themes permeated our own stories and drew together all the random scenes in a redemptive wholeness. But our rationalistic approach to life, which has dominated Western culture for hundreds of years, has stripped us of that, leaving a faith that is barely more than mere fact-telling. Modern evangelicalism reads like an IRS 1040 form: It’s true, all the data is there, but it doesn’t take your breath away. As British theologian Alister McGrath warns, the Bible is not primarily a doctrinal sourcebook: “To reduce revelation to principles or concepts is to suppress the element of mystery, holiness and wonder to God’s self-disclosure. ‘First principles’ may enlighten and inform; they do not force us to our knees in reverence and awe, as with Moses at the burning bush, or the disciples in the presence of the risen Christ” (A Passion for Truth).
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