2236199757_62dcb45583_z

One Word

While I’ve lately been pretty distracted finishing up Benefit of the Doubt (Baker, 2013), my goal is to sprinkle in posts that comment on the distinctive commitments of ReKnew a couple of times a week. I’m presently sharing some thoughts on the second conviction of ReKnew, which is that Jesus Christ is the full and final revelation of God. Jesus is thus not to be placed alongside of other portraits of God in Scripture, which is what Christians have tended to do throughout history. Rather, everything in Scripture should be read through the lens of Christ and, more specifically, through the lens of the cross, for as I’ve argued, everything Jesus is about is summed up, and woven together, around the cross.

John 1:1 teaches us that Jesus is “the Word” who was “in beginning with God” and who is himself “God.”  While scholars nuance it differently, all agree that the concept of the “Word” (logos), as John uses it, refers to God’s self-communication. As John Robinson put it, Jesus is “the face of God.”  And notice the definite article. Jesus is the Word. God doesn’t having many Words. He has one, and it’s Jesus Christ. Whenever God speaks or presents himself to us, John is saying, he looks like Jesus.

So far as I can see, this means it is illegitimate to ever think we can supplement or qualify what we learn about God in Jesus Christ with other words in Scripture. Scripture’s words are only the Word of God insofar as they agree with, and in fact point to, the revelation of God in Christ. In fact, Jesus himself reflects this conviction when he chastises the religious leaders of his day saying they study Scripture while failing to see that it all “testifies about me” (Jn 5:39). So too, the resurrected Jesus chided two of his disciples for being “slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken” about him. “Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” he asked. (Lk 24:25-26). And then, Luke says,” beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself” (Lk 24:27).

It is apparent that Jesus is the Word of the words of Scripture. God “breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16) all Scripture for the ultimate purpose of “breathing” his Word, Jesus. In this light, the last thing we should ever do is try to supplement, let alone qualify, the revelation of God in Christ with other words.

Image by carulmare. Sourced via Flickr.

Related Reading

A Coming Storm

There is a storm beginning to brew on the horizon. It is a debate among Evangelicals about the violent depictions of God, stirred up largely by Eric Seibert’s Disturbing Divine Behavior. Here is a post that sounds “the clarion call.” The debate is presently around two options. Option #1:  Traditionalists argue we must simply embrace…

Cross-like Love and Non-Violence

Cosmo Spacely via Compfight Though it seems to have been forgotten by many today, the cross wasn’t simply something God did for us. According to the NT, it was also an example God calls us to follow. Hence, after John defined love by pointing us to Jesus’ death on the cross on our behalf, he…

The Only Thing That Matters Is Love: The Kingdom of God (Part 3)

To say that living in Calvary-quality love is the most important thing in our life is to grossly understate its importance. This stands in distinction from how we typically define the Kingdom of God. But it stands in line with the fact that Jesus is the Kingdom of God. Paul says the “the only thing…

The Cross and the Witness of Violent Portraits of God

In my previous post I noted that the prevalent contemporary evangelical assumption that the only legitimate meaning of a passage of Scripture is the one the author intended is a rather recent, and very secular, innovation in Church history. It was birthed in the post-Enlightenment era (17th -18th centuries) when secular minded scholars began to…

Podcast: Where Does Forgiveness Fit in a Cruciform Theology?

Greg offers looks at forgiveness in a realm of natural consequences.    http://traffic.libsyn.com/askgregboyd/Episode_0298.mp3

A Cross-Centered Evaluation of Responses to Tragedy

I’d like to pick up where I left off on my previous post about Draper’s article entitled “Aurora shooting inspires various perspectives on God and belief.” Toward the end of his article, Draper reports on an informal survey conducted by Stephen Prothero on his CNN Blog. Prothero simply asks people to respond to the question: “Where…