Friday, April 18, 2008

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Biblical theology: proclaiming Christ
April 07, 2008
By Jeff Robinson

Major General Douglas Carver spoke in a chapel service at SBTS, March 25. Photo by John Gill

The single, central message of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation is God's unfolding plan of salvation through Jesus Christ, biblical theologian and author Graeme Goldsworthy told students during a lecture series March 18-20 at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Goldsworthy, who serves as visiting lecturer of hermeneutics at Moore Theological College in Sydney, Australia, said any individual text of Scripture is only properly understood in light of the unity of all 66 books of the Bible, a unity that is found in the Gospel.

The Old Testament promises the coming of a Messiah who will provide full and final redemption for His people and the New Testament represents the fulfillment of that promise, he said. The Gospel represents the "big picture," the overall storyline of the Bible which binds it together and provides the key for interpreting it, said Goldsworthy who was the key-noted speaker for Southern's annual Gheens Lectures.

"At the heart of the Gospel is the person of Jesus Christ; He is the Word of God come in the flesh. The nature of the Gospel is such that it demands to be at the center of the biblical message," Goldsworthy said.

"Biblical theology is the study of how every text in the Bible relates to Jesus and His Gospel. Thus we start with Christ so that we may end with Christ. Biblical theology is Christological, for its subject matter is the Scriptures as God's testimony to Christ. It is therefore, from start to finish, a study of Christ."

The Old Testament must be understood through the lens of the New, he said. Christians today are to interpret the Old Testament in the same manner as the New Testament authors, he noted. Goldsworthy gave six "Christological markers" that help tie the testaments together into a single unified story:

Christ is the God of the Old Testament who has now come in the flesh.

Christ is the true and faithful people of God.

Christ is the true Israel, the true Son of David, and thus the true Son of God.

Christ is, in His humanity, the new creation.

Christ is the prophet, priest, king, wise man and faithful Israelite.

Christ is the new temple in which God dwells among His people.

"Each of these points is, I believe, sustainable from the way the New Testament treats the fulfillment of the Old Testament in Christ," Goldsworthy said. "All of these roles can be seen in the way the New Testament relates the Old Testament to Christ.

"The relationship is a two-way thing; we understand the New Testament only as the fulfillment of the Old. On the other hand the message of the New is that Jesus of Nazareth makes clear the full meaning of the Old. Thus, there is priority to the New for it brings to us the revelation of God's final and fullest word which is Jesus."

Preaching Christ from all the Scriptures is crucial for the pastor in feeding his flock, Goldsworthy said, because taking such an approach is integral to promoting a high view of the Bible, Christology, the Gospel and the ministerial task.

"[This] focus is a key antidote to distorted perspectives in that it contextualizes texts that might otherwise be taken out of context," he said.

All three of Goldsworthy's lectures are available in both audio and printable PDF formats here.

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