The Starting Point: The Crux of All Time and History

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, December 13, 2017 0 comments

by David Odegard

Editor's note: Please enjoy this previously written post as David focuses on his pastoral ministry during this Advent season.

The first step in a comprehensive Christian social ethic is to reclaim the Bible as the basis of truth, accepting the consequences for meaning, value, and ethics. Not just any interpretation of the Bible will do either; let us return to Jesus Christ as the authoritative interpreter of the Bible. Jesus said, “I am the truth” (John 14:6). This is an even more lofty pronouncement than Louis IV’s famous “I am the state.” It claims so much more. But accepting Jesus Christ as the Truth is what makes our comprehensive social ethic a Christian one. Jesus Christ provides me with an interpretive lens through which I must view everything. Accepting His interpretive lens as the ONLY authoritative interpretation of the Bible is what makes me a Christian—a follower of His way. As my beloved Hebrew professor, Dr. Gary Staats, likes to say, “Jesus is my rabbi, so I have to follow him.”

It is hard for many to accept that truth is not found in an objective mathematical equation, but rather in a story of God’s dealings with His people since the dawn of creation. The Hebrew Scriptures are an account of how God has dealt with humanity since the beginning; they reveal what kind of being God is and a lot about what kind of beings humans are. God chose different men to record His own interpretation of the events that surrounded His people. Out of all of the vast number of possible explanations for why certain events happened, God spoke through the prophets how He saw things. This is what we call divine revelation, and accepting it is vital to any thinking titled Christian. If you do not believe that God spoke to these men, you will not be able to accept God’s interpretation of history. You will be adrift in the prevailing winds of contemporary philosophy.

Beyond accepting the Hebrew Scriptures, to be Christian we must also accept Jesus’ claim that everything in Scripture points to and centers upon Him. On the road to Emmaus after Jesus was risen from the dead, he appeared to some disciples and “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). Their eyes were opened and they recognized Jesus. This revelation of Jesus as central to Scripture became “the apostles’ teaching” and accepting it as true and authoritative is necessary to call oneself Christian. This Christ-centered interpretation became the New Testament.

Therefore, Christians are those who accept not only God’s interpretation of history in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), but also God’s divine revelation in the person and work of Jesus Christ as documented in the New Testament. “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe” (Hebrews 1:1-2).

Any other basis for a social ethic cannot rightly be called Christian; it must take some other name if it is going to be honest. Coherency begins with honesty. If you disagree with these basic tenets that is understandable, but acceptance of these tenets is essential to naming your philosophy “Christian.” Please understand that the contributions that you make in to this comprehensive Christian social ethic will be accepted only on the basis that you conform to these primary tenets of divine revelation. “For no one can lay a foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11). Jesus Christ cannot be added to some other framework of philosophical understanding as liberal Christians try to do. They try to add Christ to a framework of humanistic rationalism, which simply cannot work. Either Christ is the cornerstone or He is the stumbling block, but he is never a building block on some other foundation (1 Peter 2:7).

Where did the Christian left come from and why do they try to add Christ to a thoroughly non-Christian base? Where do they derive their inspiration and authority since they obviously reject the primary tenets of revelation? That is for next week, constant reader. Blessings! As always, I invite your questions and comments.

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