more on scripture: authority for the Church

Another thought on the how Scripture’s authority is worked out in the Christian life and in the Church. I really appreciate NT Wright’s presentation in The New Testament and the People of God in which he presents the notion of a 5-act play.

The acts of the play go something like this (I think I remember correctly):

Act 1: Creation
Act 2: Fall
Act 3: Israel
Act 4: Christ
Act 5: Church

So, Wright says, the first four acts are recorded in Scripture. The fifth act is ongoing and we carry it out. He invites us to imagine that we are actors in a grand drama. We have the first four acts of the play but lack the fifth, though we are to act it out. Our task, then, is to immerse ourselves so deeply and intimately within the first four acts of the play that we have that we are able to act out the final act of the play in a way that is completely faithful to the story that is being told.

For me, this really gets to the heart of Scripture being essentially the Story of God and its authority being worked out in the parameters and trajectory it sets for the people of God as we endeavor to live faithfully with him. The only way for persons to live faithfully as the people of God (the God of Israel and Jesus and who is revealed in Scripture, that is) is to be situated in the community of people who, being attentive to and led by the Spirit, are being immersed in the canonical Story of God in such a way as to be faithful performers of the Story in its fifth act, the Church in the world, for the sake of the world, today.

If this is a faithful way to understand the nature and role of Scripture in the Church, then no view of Scripture is really called for except a “high view” of Scripture. But, for me, a “high view” of Scripture is one that attributes authority to the canon of Scripture and then reads it, inasmuch as we are able, on its own terms, allowing it to teach us how best to understand not only the content of its proclamation, but also the nature and function of its inspiration and authority (As I wrote about here in my first post on this stuff a few days ago; the 2nd post is here).

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