Saturday, December 03, 2005

Bauder on Narratives and the Message of Acts

This has been a great week, to me at least, for intruiging articles and discussions on the web. Unfortunately, it was also a busy one. Not only this week, but also just about every week provides a stellar contribution from Kevin Bauder, president of Central Seminary in Minneapolis. For any readers who think that all fundamentalists are fire-breathing nincompoops, I offer Dr. Bauder as Exhibit A for the defense. Subscribe to his weekly theological newsletter, which is always as thought provoking and valuable as Mohler's commentary, and often more so. His blog is wider-ranging but also interesting and occasionally entertaining.

This week's edition of the newsletter, titled "Acts as Transition," consists largely of an insightful analysis of the message of Acts, but his opening paragraphs are a concise summary of the purpose of narrative texts. His arguments for what narrative texts are not provide a needed critique of some all-too-common evangelical narrative hermeneutics.
Biblical narrative is always theological. The purpose of a story is never simply to interest us with the story itself, nor is it merely to furnish us with a source of moral maxims. Without exception, the narratives of the Bible arrange themselves into theological arguments. The story always makes a point beyond itself.

This is particularly true of the book of Acts. Luke uses the stories in Acts to make a significant theological point. He chooses precisely those episodes that walk the reader through the transition from gospels to epistles, from Old Testament ground to New Testament ground, and from Israel to the church. Transition is not merely part of the book of Acts, it is the main point.

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