Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Culver Quotes-1

Since it's been awhile that I've added anything here, I thought I'd post some random quotes from one of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors: "Speak, Lord: Learning to Listen to the Bible" (which you can get here) by Christopher Culver, Pastor of Sovereign Grace Community Church out here in the Denver area. Remember, context is everything...but since I don't want to just re-write the whole book, I'll just post a few highlights from time to time.

God's self-revelation is historically framed and conditioned. The Bible is not a collection of religious, doctrinal, and theological statements; rather, it is an inspired record of and commentary upon God's ongoing interactions with the world through the movement of human history (pg. 12).

The Bible has a cohesive and purposeful storyline: From the opening verses of Genesis, it has a specific destination in mind, and everything it contains is recorded precisely because it contributes to the development of its "story" as it advances toward its predetermined goal (12-13).

The biblical text demonstrates that divine revelation is incarnate in history. It doesn't simply occur in history. It has its identity and lives, grows, and matures in history. Indeed, history is itself revelatory, for it is nothing except the observable outworking in time and space of God's eternal and sovereign puposes (13).

To paraphrase (Geerhardus) Vos, Biblical Theology is the theological discipline concerned with God's self-revelation in the Bible, but specifically from the vantage point of the organized and harmonious process by which God progressively unfolds it within the upward movement of human history (15).

Because man bears the image and likeness of God, and because he lives in a world that bears the indelible mark of God's existence and power, no human being can escape God's self-revelation (20).

In accordance with His eternal intention for human beings, God has been pleased to not leave them to a partial and obscured sight of Himself; He has made Himself known to His image-bearers by direct disclosure. It is this revelation of the divine person and purpose--particularly as it implicates and has its focal point in God's design and destiny for mankind in Jesus Christ--that is the subject of the Bible (22).

God created people as personal beings in His own image and likeness so that they would be able to know Him as He is. God's intention was that human beings would have a Person-to-person knowledge of Him. This kind of knowledge is not merely informational; it is relational (24).

Knowledge as relationship is a foundational biblical principle, and lies at the heart of all of the Bible's key themes. For this reason, one cannot really understand God's self-revelation in the Bible apart from it (relationship). From beginning to end, the Scriptures show that God has revealed Himself to men, not so much by direct theological pronouncements, but by entering into a relationship with them. Initially, these relationships were with individuals, but then, in Abraham, moved outward to his family and then to the tribes descended from him. Later, God made Himself known to an entire nation descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God established the nation of Israel as His "beloved son," and they alone were given to know Him as their covenant Father and Husband. Now, in Christ, God is becoming the Father of a multitude from every tribe, tongue, nation, and people (25).

5 comments:

thekingpin68 said...

God's intention was that human beings would have a Person-to-person knowledge of Him. This kind of knowledge is not merely informational; it is relational (24).

We are personal beings.

Philosophically it seems reasonable that personality and consciousness in a being does not come by chance.

We have a conscious, personal creator described in Scripture.

Great Googly Moogly! said...

Thanks Kingpin,

I think this may be our most accessible "apologetic". Not only is it "philosophically reasonable", as you say, that "personality and consciousness in a being does not come by chance", but our "naive experience" (a Dooyeweerdian expression) confirms that this is so. Humanity does not live as if we just "happened" along by chance. We know that there is something "meaningful" about our existence...we just have lost the point of reference (God) because of The Fall.

Personality and consciousness testify of "meaning"; and I think if we as Christians can express God's intentions for us as "image-bearers", then we can begin to "witness" effectively to a skeptical secular community. Without "meaning" we are nothing and nothing matters--and I think most people know this because we certainly don't live as if there is no meaning in the universe. We live as if it matters because we all have the "innate" knowledge of God expressed in our conscience (and consciousness) and personality. And this is where I think we would be most effective in our witness--we should explain to people who they were created to be, who they are now (after The Fall) and then how their relationships to God, Man and themselves are restored in Christ.

Thanks for the comment!

jeleasure said...

GGM,
It often takes so much effort with pure intentions to attempt to reach a person for The Lord. People will play with what you give them if their intentions are not pure and have other motives.
I have learned that what I thought I taught someone in order to help them was just to give my attention to them. The person did not change.
However, the only way to reach someone is to invest in that person. Sometimes you get nothing from your investment.
Jim

Great Googly Moogly! said...

Thanks Jim,

I agree that we should attempt to "invest" ourselves in people if the opportunity arises even if it turns out that we're being "used", so-to-speak. It's so difficult to "evangelize" in a conversation or two; although sometimes our role is to simply "sow seeds". But if we can, building a relationship with someone seems so much more productive in a Gospel witness because people get to know us and see the transformation in our lives.

As Paul says, "Let's not lose heart..." even when it seems our witness for Christ is going nowhere. When we are true to ourselves and express the love of Christ to one another and the "world", then we can't help but be witnessess of Jesus because everyone will know that we are His disciples--as you continue to point out! :-)

thekingpin68 said...

Humanity does not live as if we just "happened" along by chance. We know that there is something "meaningful" about our existence...we just have lost the point of reference (God) because of The Fall.

Yes, and Scripture/Gospel and the Holy Spirit make that point of reference somewhat knowable to followers.