Gospel, Salvation, and Other Religions - Lesson 3

Christ as the Center of Scripture

This lesson explores the centrality of Christ in Scripture, examining the Old and New Testaments. The lesson begins with an introduction that provides the historical and literary context for the topic, followed by a discussion of Christ as the center of Scripture. The lesson then delves into the Old Testament, looking at the Pentateuch, Prophets, and Writings, and examining key events and themes such as Creation and Fall, the Covenant with Abraham, the Exodus, the Giving of the Law, Psalms, and Wisdom Literature. The lesson then moves on to the New Testament, examining the Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, Epistles, and Revelation.

Todd Miles
Gospel, Salvation, and Other Religions
Lesson 3
Watching Now
Christ as the Center of Scripture

I. Introduction to Christ as the Center of Scripture

A. Overview of the Topic

B. The Person of Christ

C. The Work of Christ

II. Old Testament Foreshadowings of Christ

A. The Messianic Hope

B. The Suffering Servant

C. The Davidic King

D. The New Covenant

III. Christ as the Fulfillment of the Old Testament

A. The Person of Christ as the Fulfillment of the Old Testament

B. The Work of Christ as the Fulfillment of the Old Testament

IV. The Significance of Christ as the Center of Scripture

A. Understanding Scripture in Light of Christ

B. Applying Scripture in Light of Christ

  • This lesson provides an overview of the various aspects of Theology of Religion, and explores the complexities of engaging in dialogue with other religions.
  • You will gain an understanding of the exclusivity of Christ and its implications for other religions, as well as the challenges to exclusivity presented by atheism, theological pluralism, and other religions. You'll also learn how to engage other religions and live out Christian witness in a pluralistic world.
  • This lesson will provide you a deeper understanding of how Jesus is the central figure of Scripture, and how Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled in the New Testament.
  • You will gain insight into the similarities and differences between the religions of the Ancient Near East and the religions of the Bible, looking at concepts such as Hebrew monotheism, the theology of salvation, and the theology of creation. You'll also explore how mythology and evil are portrayed in both the Ancient Near East religions and the Bible, as well as how the Bible incorporates cultural elements from the Ancient Near East religions.
  • You will gain insight into the implications of polytheism from a biblical perspective and understand the nature of God and the roles of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
  • In this lesson, you will gain a better understanding of the New Testament and its relationship to other religions. You will gain insight into the theological messages found in the various books of the New Testament, and learn how the New Testament relates to other religions in terms of Jesus, salvation, evangelism, and relationships.
  • This lesson you will receive an overview of universalism, its historical context, and its implications for the Bible and theology. You will learn the different types of universalism and examine the biblical passages related to universalism, as well as the theological perspectives on universalism.
  • You will gain an understanding of what pluralism is and how it has evolved over time. You will also explore the challenges to pluralism and the implications it has for religious dialogue and multiculturalism.
  • In this lesson, you will gain an understanding of inclusivism, its history and theology, as well as its application in missions. You will learn that inclusivism is an approach to theology that respects and works with different religious paths, and offers a robust theology of salvation that is both inclusive and faithful to the biblical message
  • This lesson will teach you about the presence and role of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, including Ancient Near Eastern Religion, the Old Testament, the Pentateuch, Wisdom Literature, and Prophets.
  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the person and nature of the Holy Spirit, the role and ministry of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, the process of receiving the Holy Spirit, and the gifts and fruit of the Spirit.
  • This lesson provides an overview of the critical questions related to the gospel, salvation and other religions, and the importance of asking them. It explores questions of homogeneity, essentialism and pluralism with definitions and examples.

With Todd Miles, Ph.D. Western Christianity’s interaction with world religions used to be, for the most part, overseas. Today, “religious others” often live next door. At a changing time when one public prayer spoken during the 2009 U.S. presidential inauguration festivities was addressed to “O god of our many understandings,” the evangelical Christian church should do more than simply dismiss non-Christian religions as pagan without argument or comment. The Church needs a theology of religions that is Christ-honoring, biblically faithful, intellectually satisfying, compassionate, and that will encourage Spirit-powered mission.



Dr. Todd Miles
Gospel, Salvation, and Other Religions
Christ as the Center of Scripture
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:11] As Christians, you've probably all run into the situation where you're talking with someone who believes differently than you do, perhaps someone who is part of a different religion. And you want to quote the Bible, you want to go to the Bible as your source book of material. You want to go to the Bible in order to correct the the fallacious thinking of of the individual with whom you're speaking. And they really don't recognize the authority of scripture because they have their own book that they like to read. They have their own sacred text. Then maybe you're speaking with another Christian even who thinks differently than you do about the nature of of salvation, the nature of of salvation in other religions and the possibility of that. And you can't even agree on the right interpretation of passages. So today I want to take a look at something at a more foundational level. I want us to think about how we're supposed to read the Scriptures as a Christian, you know that you're supposed to read the Bible. We believe it's the inspired word of God. It gives testimony to Jesus Christ. And and as a Christian, you are or at least you ought to be committed to the authority of the Bible. Of course, other religions are going to be committed to their own sacred texts, Hindus to the Bhagavad Gita, Muslims to the Koran, Mormons to the Book of Mormon, and you know how it goes. But if you're a Christian of this stripe that I described in the very first session, one who is convinced that the Bible is qualitatively superior to all the other so-called sacred texts of the world, because it claims to be and in fact is the very word of God, then you ought to be convinced that the answers to how we are to view other religions are to be found in the Scriptures.

[00:02:07] And fortunately, words, including if not especially those found in Scripture, are open to interpretation. And we need to recognize that going in that there's going to be disagreement over interpretations. What we ought not to do, though, is fall prey to the trap that says just because there are a lot of different interpretations of a passage, that that's the way that it ought to be, that just because there are lots of different interpretations of a passage, that there must not be any one correct interpretation of a passage. Now, when I say that the words scripture, particularly here, is subject to interpretation, I do not mean by this that words can mean whatever the interpreter wants them to mean. When I sit down to read the Bible, just like when I sit down to read a recipe or a comic book or any other kind of literature, I can't make them mean what I want them to mean. I don't create meaning. I try to discover the meaning that was intended by the author. Furthermore, unless we're speaking in puns, there's only one meaning to a text or a statement. We typically don't speak with double meaning, at least when I'm communicating with people. And I don't think anybody does. People who have double meaning to everything they say, that is, they speak in puns all the time. We have a word for that annoying. They are annoying and people can't do that. You can't speak with double meaning. And so when we approach the text, we actually think, you know, God's probably not speaking in puns. He probably doesn't have multiple meanings to everything that he says. Now a text of scripture can have many different applications. It can have many different implications and levels of significance, but it can only have one meaning.

[00:03:58] And what I mean is that the people, even even Christians, will disagree over the correct interpretation of the very words that are supposed to guide and comfort and challenge and teach and edify us. But that doesn't mean that everybody's right. That doesn't mean everybody's right. If if if two or three people are disagreeing over the nature of interpretation of a text, maybe one of them is right. But both of them are probably not right. And what we're going to find is that for all the different proposals for how Christianity fits into the context of of world religions, for all the different proposals of whether or not one needs to believe the gospel in order to be saved, there's going to be an attempt to justify those proposals from the same scriptures. When you're talking to a Christian who believes that there are many paths to God, they're going to try to support their case from the Bible as an exclusivist one is committed to the uniqueness of Jesus. I'm going to appeal to the Bible, but I recognize that Universalists are going to appeal to the Bible as well. Inclusiveness. They're going to appeal to the Bible, perhaps even some pluralist are going to appeal to the very same Bible. But that doesn't mean. Then all the different interpretations are correct. There may be, there may be and there are different interpretive proposals, but they're not all equal. What I'm going to suggest to you today is and we need to listen to Jesus to understand how to interpret and understand the Bible. And when we do, I think what we'll find is the case for the uniqueness and the exclusivity of Jesus becomes all the stronger Christ. And the interpretation of Scripture throws me to Luke.

[00:05:38] Chapter 24. Luke 24. This chapter coming on the heels of the resurrection of Jesus. It provides to critical teachings by Jesus Christ Himself on the nature of Scripture and then how we're supposed to understand it. Following His resurrection, Jesus Christ, he walked with two disciples who didn't recognize him, and they're on the road to a mass. You're familiar with the story. See that when he responds to Cleopas and into Cleopas, a companion that they were troubled over the events of the recent days and Jesus called them unwise and slow to believe in their hearts all that the prophets had spoken. That's in verse 25. Now that word unwise. It doesn't carry the sense of moronic or stupid bit, but it's more obtuse. You're not seeing what's right in front of you. Jesus says the disciples are slow of heart because they didn't understand the redemptive purposes of God. They didn't understand the things that they should have. They were there in the Scriptures for them and with this sinner. With this statement, I think Jesus is laying claim to be the center of the biblical prophetic ministry. The prophets were talking about Jesus. How do I know that? Well, look down at verse 27. Jesus seizes the opportunity to teach these two men on the road to a mass and beginning with Moses and all the prophets. So we're talking about the Pentateuch and then all the prophetic literature he interpreted to them, quote, The things concerning himself in all the Scriptures. All the scriptures. Now, we're not told what passages Jesus interpreted for his followers. We don't know. But from Luke's perspective, I don't think it matters. The ministries and the teachings of Moses and all the prophets, just as all the scriptures they point toward Jesus, they point towards the Messiah and His glory through suffering.

[00:07:41] The two disciples had to have the Scriptures interpreted for them because they had not been reading them correctly. Look, there's passages. It's it's it's really interesting. They they walk with Jesus for a period of time and they don't recognize him because Jesus didn't want to be recognized. And we find he goes into the to their place where they're staying and they go to the table to eat together, pick it up in verse 30, when he was at the table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. Verse 31 and their eyes were opened and they recognized him. They saw Jesus. This was the one that they'd been anticipating. And when they'd been looking for the one that they wanted to see and they recognized him, their eyes were open. He vanished from their sight nose, verse 32. They said to each other, Did not our hearts burn within us? While he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures, he opens the Scriptures and describes how the our the Ministry of Moses and the Ministry of the Prophets pointed towards the Christ. Turn with me to verse 36 through 49. Here we have another passage where Jesus, He He joins a larger gathering of His disciples now, and He teaches them the exact same lesson. Look at verse 44. Jesus claims that his ministry was the focal point of the law of Moses, the prophets and the Psalms. That that's a shorthand way of saying all of the Old Testament, the the law of Moses, the Torah, the prophets, the never in the writings, the catch movie that that comprises the Hebrew scriptures, that Tanakh, the Torah, the never name the captive him.

[00:09:29] And Jesus says that his ministry is the focal point of all of it. And then it remember how Jesus opened the eyes of the two disciples so they could recognize him in verse 31. So in verse 45, we have Jesus opened their minds to understand the Scriptures and think there's a parallel here. It establishes the one who sees and understands Scripture correctly is the one who sees and recognizes Christ as pervasive throughout Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy. He's also the central figure in this divine drama that dominates all of human history. This is demonstrated by Jesus, a statement in versus 46 and 47. This is what is. Written, the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead the third day and repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in his name to all the nations. Beginning at Jerusalem, he uses that term. What is written. This is what is written. The Greek phrase the Greek word is property. And that indicates that Jesus, it's a technical term. Jesus is referring back to the Old Testament. Every time you encounter get graffiti. It is written in the New Testament. It's as if it's a code for I'm about to quote authoritatively from the Old Testament. There are four exceptions to that, but all of them point to divine writing. All of them point to divine writing now. And so it's written that this is what Jesus would do suffer and rise from the dead on the third day. Repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in his name to all the nations He's quoting authoritatively from the Old Testament. And so we go to the Old Testament to find that exact Scripture in verse that Jesus is quoting We won't be able to find it.

[00:11:09] We won't be able to find it. It's not an explicit quotation of any biblical passage. But I think what Jesus is saying is this is the implicit teaching of the entire Old Testament. This is the fulfillment of it all. It's driving towards this. So the correct reading of Scripture, I would suggest to you, is not merely an academic exercise, like we're trying to find out some facts. Jesus claims to be the center and focus of all the scriptures, and and that focus is on the proclamation of the forgiveness of sins through the work of the Messiah. Now, the disciples understood this. They understood this hermeneutical principle, and it's evident from the Gospel Proclamation in the Book of Acts. Remember Peter Sermon on the Day of Pentecost, and in chapter two, It concludes this way. Therefore, let all the House of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah. They're preaching the Gospel and they see it as rooted in the Scriptures. Peter did not arrive at that conclusion based on some naked assertion from the Old Testament. It is not an explicit quotation, but he understood that when the Old Testament is interpreted in the manner prescribed and then modeled by Jesus, then the Scriptures point in concert toward Christ. Towards the end of the Book of Acts, Paul summarizes his entire preaching ministry this way as saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass, that the Christ must suffer, and that by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles. Paul's defending his proclamation of the Gospel to Jews and Gentiles, and he defends it to a Jewish audience by saying, I'm not saying anything that was not foretold in the Scriptures.

[00:13:05] What I'm doing is in perfect harmony with everything that Moses and the prophets in the writings were saying. So Jesus drives us back to the Old Testament, and He bequeathed to his church a way of interpreting the Bible that points to his person and his work. He teaches us that will lead us to him. I think we have to read the Bible in the manner in which it specifies that we read it. See, the Bible is not just there for us to decide how we're going to read it. It tells us how we're supposed to read it. Jesus tells us how we're supposed to understand it, and it must begin with Christ. Graham Goldsworthy summarizes this way In doing biblical theology. As Christians, we do not start at Genesis one and work our way forward until we discover where it's leading. Rather, we first come to Christ and He directs us to study the Old Testament in the light of the Gospel. The Gospel will interpret the Old Testament by showing us its goal and its meaning. The Old Testament will increase our understanding of the Gospel by showing us what Christ fulfills. The New Testament teaches that it was Jesus Christ himself who first taught His followers to read the Scriptures seeking Him. He offered to us a hermeneutic a way of interpreting the Bible. My question is this Are we compelled to reject that offer? Are we compelled to reject that offer now? How do we see Jesus in the Old Testament that the path to reading the Old Testament in light of the Christ event and there's some obstacles there because we're just looking for the word Christ or Messiah, we're going to find it that often. The Old Testament uses the term Messiah only nine times of the coming anointed one who would arrive in the person of Jesus.

[00:14:51] But when we read the Old Testament in light of the fabric of the Old Testament story, then I think that the challenge to us to see Jesus there is not overly formidable. According to some rabbinical calculations, there are about 456 Old Testament texts that refer either directly or indirectly to the Messiah. Engage. You see, there's a there's a fine line between faithful exegesis or interpretation and then over spiritual lies in the text where we insert Jesus and his work into every detail, the Old Testament text. What happens when we do that is we is we go back to those horrific days of just sheer allegory that dominated the church for really almost a thousand years on 1400 years or so until the Reformation. I don't think we need to spiritualized and come up with some allegorical significance for everything that points in some way to Jesus. Rather, I think that we read the Old Testament as a story. As a story. Now it's a true story, and everything in there is very true. But it's driving towards the incarnation, the coming of the Messiah. And so we read every individual piece of the Old Testament in light of how it fits in to the big picture that is. All I'm asking is that we read the Old Testament in context. That's how we want to read everything. That's how we are to interpret everybody who either writes or speaks. I know that's how I want to be interpreted. I want to be taken in context. And when I'm taking in context, I think that people would be able to arrive at the meaning that I intend by what I say. Witness Jesus words to the Jews in John Chapter five or 39. You pour over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify about me and you are not willing to come to me that you may have life.

[00:16:43] See, I think the Bible tells a story. And though it may not be readily apparent from the beginning, we're given clues as to where that story's going. And even in Genesis three, following the fall, God promises there's going to be a serpent crusher who comes. And so we wait in anticipation through all the Old Testament for that special seed of Eve that that baby to be born. We keep waiting and waiting and waiting. I think this is also apparent from the very first chapter of the first gospel, the genealogy that's recorded in Matthew one. We often think genealogy is not exactly the most gripping way to begin a gospel, but this points to the Jewishness of Jesus in his position as the heir of David. His genealogy traces all the way back to really back to Adam, who was the son of God. These opening pages, they demonstrate what the Old Testament meant in the context of the Gospel of Christ, the evangelists. They tell us the story of the real historical Jesus, a real man in time and space history. And they tell his story. They tell his history. They weave their stories, though, in a way so as to emphasize specific points of interest. And so ties to the Old Testament are not hard to find in the words of Jesus. But but they're also easy to find in the literary strategy of the gospel writers. So I think there are strong parallels in the Gospels between Jesus and Moses. The gospel writers wrote it that way, so we'd recognize Jesus's place in the story, in Luke, in Acts. Jesus is portrayed as the prophet, the law giver and leader. Matthew sees Jesus as as rehearsing or recapitulating Israel's history, and then he records Jesus as the one who is greater than all the three major categories of Old Testament leaders Prophet, priest and king.

[00:18:31] The book of John, I think, clearly has Old Testament thematic echoes throughout the entirety. The gospel themes such as Creation, the the I Am statements, the miraculous signs, the Jewish feast. They all act as organizing principles for John's writing, and they drive us back to the to the Old Testament. See, Jesus is coming in fulfillment of this. Oh, he's the one we've been waiting for. So I think that the goal of theology is to know and to see and to live Christ. And it coalesces around the Gospel of Jesus. Whenever we do theology as Bible believers, we have to seek to know the God of the gospel. We seek to to know the God who reveals himself revealed in redemptive history and recorded in Scripture and then is made known through Christ. Kevin Venues are so I really appreciate his writing. I think he's correct when he states the Bible, not only the Gospels, but all of Scripture is the divinely authorized version of the Gospel, the necessary framework for understanding what God was doing in Jesus Christ. Scripture is the voice of God that articulates the Word of God. Jesus Christ. So for the next seven sessions, as we approached this idea of what does the Bible have to say about other religions, Is there salvation? Is there truth? How are we supposed to comport ourselves in light of other religions? How are we supposed to share the gospel that whatever we do here in these sessions? I think it needs to be grounded by these by these three commitments that I have. Jesus saw himself as the focal point of the biblical story, the hinge upon which all of redemptive and human history turns. Now, why is this significant? Because I think that the way Jesus instructs us to read the Bible, it points towards his exclusivity.

[00:20:27] And we're going to find in the coming weeks that that inclusiveness they want to experiment with Reading the Bible from the perspective of the Holy Spirit is the organizing center. I don't think the Bible allows that. Some pluralist are going to demand that the two suggest that putting Jesus in the center of the Bible, that's way too particular. We need to be just more theo centric, more God centered. Because, of course, if we put Jesus in the center, the biblical story, we're going to end up with Jesus being unique and Jesus being exclusive. But I think the Bible demands that we read it that way. Though many Universalists, as we'll find, are going to be happy to place Jesus in the center. But but they're only going to read part of the biblical story about the plan and the character of the Messiah's coming rule. We have to do justice to it all, the whole canon. So everything I do in these coming sessions, it's going to be according to following guidelines. First, our theologies. And here our theology has to treat Scripture as fully authoritative, its first order of truth. Second, that our inquiry has to rely on a biblical theology. It has to go with the entire canon from Genesis through Revelation. It has to pick up the categories and vocabulary that are established in Scripture from the text of the Bible itself. And then finally, I think our theology should be consciously and intentionally crystal centric. And I'm just not I'm not trying to cook the books. I think that's the way that Jesus demands that we read Scripture. So let me go through these three points. First, full authority in the uniqueness of Scripture. Whenever we do theology, we're to undertake it as a humble response to the self revelation of God.

[00:22:09] And as such, I think our proper attitude of of biblical interpretation and then doing theology, trying to connect the dots to see how we're supposed to live in light of what Scripture says, the proper attitude is humility, the proper posture, the bent knee. Now, I've been I've been struck by in reading John Calvin lately just how how this prayer saturated his his interpretation of Scripture was, if you were not a man of piety, you had no business teaching. If you were not a a person who prayed fervently while you read scriptures, you were not going to be able to interpret it correctly. I think he's right to any discussion of of theological authority has to begin with the absolute lordship of God, the Father and his son, Jesus Christ, to the guidance of His Spirit, the Holy Spirit. And we have to submit ourselves to their Lordship, the Lordship of God. Any authority, authority of any kind there resides in any other source. It's derivative. God is the ultimate authority. And so it follows. Therefore, the authority of Scripture is tied to its divine origin. The Bible alone is the written self-revelation, the self expression of an all authoritative God. The role of the Holy Spirit in the writing of Scripture. It must not be understated. It must not be diminished. For it. Is He the Holy Spirit, the third person, the Trinity who imparts to the Bible its unique status as Revelation apart from the Spirit's movement in the human authors. See Second Peter Chapter one versus 2021. Scripture can make no legitimate claim to divine authority. So as we interact with other religions, what I want impress upon you is that we come to each sacred text and we see what how it attests to itself.

[00:24:04] And we're going to find the Bible makes unique claims. The Bible claims to be the very Word of God. Do all the other sacred texts make light claims? I think you'd be surprised to find out. No, they don't. But the Bible does. And we need to at least take it at face value and consider that it is what it purports to be before we just dismiss it. Furthermore, the Bible's authoritative because of what it is the Word of God. It's not authoritative because of what it does. We're going to find that many inclusiveness and pluralist are going to claim the Bible is authoritative because the Holy Spirit chooses to use the Bible powerfully. But what we'll find is that they're going to meet the Holy Spirit. It also is other sacred texts from other religions, powerfully and even redemptive in the lives of religious others. So to them, there's no real difference between the Bible and the sacred texts of other religions. It's only a matter of whether or not the Holy Spirit chooses to use any particular thing that one person might be reading suggest to you. This is a critical departure from the Orthodox defense of the authority of Scripture, and the consequences are going to be borne out in the theology of the various inclusiveness and pluralist we'll be looking at in later sessions. We're going to introduce to pluralist inclusiveness, like Jacques Dupuy, who is going to grant to the sacred writings of other traditions the status of divine self-revelation. Why? Because the Holy Spirit is breathing life into those texts, just as he breathed life into the Bible. We're going to run into Stanley some Martha. He's a fellow is going to believe that and suggest that the that that the Holy Spirit continually breathed life into the sacred writings of different religions, just as He does with Scripture.

[00:25:44] Because for these for these fellows, inspiration is what takes place when people read it. It's not what the Holy Spirit was doing. That is their blurring. Inspiration. The origin of Scripture with illumination. When the Holy Spirit guides you into truth and the authority of the Word as you read it. Second, I think we need a biblical theology that's that's canonical. We've got to pay attention to the whole story here. We need to submit to the Lordship of the trained God, and we need to speak with a moving conviction where Scripture is explicit and then we need to speak with that for humility, where Scripture is silent. I think the best route for the theologian, for us as we try to figure out how to comport ourselves in the light in the context of other religions is to rely heavily upon the themes and the categories and the vocabulary and the storyline from the text of Scripture itself. You see, the Bible comes to us with its own themes and categories. It comes with this to us with an entire storyline. The Bible provides the forms and the content for its own interpretation. And so we need to be self-consciously canonical. That is from Genesis to Revelation. We need to pay attention to the whole entire thing. The problem, I believe, with the methodologies of pluralist and universalist and inclusiveness that we'll be studying is that they treat the Bible as a simple storehouse of God's stuff of facts. They borrow facts here and there to build their desired theology. Therefore, they effectively ignore the form and the content and the themes that are given in Scripture to go their own way to blaze their own trail. For example, the inclusiveness, Clarke Pinnick will be looking at him.

[00:27:26] He seeks to, quote, view Christ as an aspect of the Spirit's mission, and he explains that it lies within the freedom of theology to experiment with ideas like this. And I think that'd be fine, except that the spirit inspired scriptures don't allow for that kind of theological framework. The Bible doesn't allow us to start with the Spirit because Jesus told us to read it. Searching for him is the center. You see, we can't just mine the Bible as if it were a sterile sourcebook for our theological construction. Looking to find answers to a set of questions that that that come out of our culture and that ultimately are submitted to this, to the sentiments and the sensibilities of our culture. Know what our theology is not to mirror the structures of the Bible. We need to read all Scripture in context. We need to pay careful attention to the story of the Bible, a story that Jesus told us was all about him. We can't view Christ as an aspect of the Spirit's mission. Why? Because Jesus taught us differently. In fact, what we're going to find in the ninth session is that Jesus Todd's the Spirit's mission actually was to glorify him. Finally, we need a crystal centric theology. If theology must follow the structure of redemptive history in the apex of redemptive history is Jesus Christ. It follows that any theology thing we do and when I talk about theology or doing theology, I'm just asking, how are we supposed to live before God? How are we supposed to think he starts after him? Well, we must be crystal centric in that all things in the Bible they point to Christ in Christ is the interpretive principle given by Jesus himself. This doesn't mean that the Bible reader should attempt to find Jesus or put Jesus in every verse of the Old Testament.

[00:29:22] It's going to take a lot of imagination and creativity to do that, and you're probably going to be wrong. But what it does mean is that we pay attention to the story of the Bible. We recognize Jesus as the one to whom the entire drama is pointing. If we ignore this, not only are we going to miss the storyline, we're going to miss the main point of the Bible. But our understanding of the stories of Moses and Abraham and Adam or any other critical actor in redemptive history is going to be greatly impoverished if we fail to relate them in context to the bigger picture, relate them to Christ. It's an inclusiveness that we'll be looking at here. Amos Young. He objects to limiting the Holy Spirit to Christian Proclamation illegitimately narrows the scope of the Holy Spirit to ministry and thereby diminishes our understanding of Jesus, he says. And so I'll read a quote from him. He says, The Spirit's living testimony to Jesus Christ always translates the scriptural and received ecclesial witnesses into the terms and categories of the new context. This context today involves the plurality of religious traditions. But Christological then. Is it possible that the seeds of the words sown into the hearts and lives of all persons everywhere? He quotes John one nine there, references it. Is it possible they have germinated, at least in part, in the world's religious traditions? In the first century, Jesus was not recognized as the Messiah by most of his fellow Jews, even as he was said to be embodied in the prisoners, the naked, the hungry and the sick, and even the Samaritan. Do not the prisoners, the naked, the hungry and the sick of today include not only the Samaritans, but also those in other religious traditions? Might we come to a deepened and transformed understanding of Christ when viewed through the prism of other faiths? I'm going to ignore young Jesus for the time being, but I want to ask this Are we really in a new context? Is a plurality of religious traditions really new? I doubt it.

[00:31:17] Religious pluralism. It's manifest in humanity's rebellion against. And then it's reaching out for its creator. That's a continuous backdrop to everything in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. The reality of religious pluralism was part of Paul's mission to take the gospel to the nation's cherished pluralism, which is subjective, maybe new, but the reality of religious others. That's not this current cultural value of of loving pluralism. It doesn't change the purposes of the inaugurated kingdom. It doesn't change. Change the role of the spirit in growing that kingdom. And it certainly does not mean that we find Jesus in other religions because the seeds that he sowed in the early days of his ministry have germinated into religions around the world as was established earlier. We inhabit the same exact place and redemptive history as the apostles were looking back at the cross. We're looking ahead to the return of Jesus. Bruce where mentor of mine and he summarizes as well and will conclude with this quote, As the authors of Scripture were moved by the Spirit to write what the Spirit moved them to write, what was the central subject and focus of their writing? Jesus. He's the centerpiece of the Bible. He is what everything points to in the Old Testament. He is what the New Testament expands upon. All Scripture is given to us by the Spirit. And what the Spirit wants to talk about most centrally is Jesus. When we forget that and go to Scripture looking to justify our own sensibilities, to baptize our own cultural impulses, we're going to go sideways quickly. We need Jesus as the centerpiece of our theology. He is unique and it drives us towards his exclusive claims.


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