Monthly Archives: March 2012

God as a Story

So what is the relationship between studying the Bible, Systematic Theology, and Narrative Theology?

Gabler suggested that the job of biblical studies was to distill the truths from the Bible, to be handed over to the systematicians for proper and logical ordering. Such a vision holds onto what Narrative Theology will always deem a mistake: thinking that “systematic theology” is the real thing, whereas biblical theology is a road on the way to [the real thing].

via What is Narrative Theology? Pt. 1: Narrative Theology and Biblical Theology | Storied Theology.

Earlier in the same article, Kirk gives this description of Narrative Theology:

Learning the story of God as a story, articulating the various aspects as parts of a dynamic movement that not only passes through time but genuinely develops and changes as it does so, narrative theology never seeks to leave the story behind to get on to the real business of theology or ethics. The church’s theology is the narrative, and its ethics is the telling of that story in the words and deeds of Christian communities.

I like it. It allows for the development of ideas over time, and even the development of what makes for a proper understanding of God over the millenia.

We Must Not Allow Luke to Mute Matthew

Daniel Kirk discusses the synoptic problem: trying to harmonize the differences between the four gospels to figure out what “really happened”. But each author wrote his own voice in order to highlight the differences, not to have us smoosh them all back together into one undifferentiated meaning.

Once upon a time, I thought that listening to multiple voices was a way of telling us what the “one meaning” really was.

You know what happens when you do this?

…Luke’s “blessed are you who are hungry” is muted by Matthew’s “blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.”

You see what happens if we don’t allow the multiplicity of Biblical voices to speak? The concern for worldly poverty and starving kids in my city gets “spiritualized”–and the next thing you know, the church begins to think that having a quiet time is more important than feeding our starving neighbors.

Of course, we must not allow Luke to mute Matthew, either. Hungering and thirsting for righteousness are states of the blessed citizens of the Kingdom.

But we can only allow both voices to speak if we are willing to allow the Bible to be what it actually is. We can only listen to both Matthew and Luke if we are open to see that they shaped their messages in accordance with robust theological agendas that situate Jesus within the world and the story of Israel in unique ways.

via NT Scholarship and the Starving Poor | Storied Theology.

Emphasis mine.