Occurs to me that Sydney is the ideal place for the kind of experiment I (and possibly Wellsie) am suggesting (see previous post): re-centring the church around the gospel story as the basis of its unity and identity.
Why? Because Sydney is the natural home of biblical theology. We have a fifty year tradition of reading the bible in this way, listening for the stories, the themes, the flow, etc. We have a sense of the Scriptures as a unity, and that unity is a narrative unity. The bible tells one big story. Which, using the term in its broadest sense, we might call ‘the gospel’.
We have even made efforts to rejig our theology around the story. Think Graeme Goldsworthy etc. There’s been a lot of hard work done to instil this into our thinking, and it’s worked. That stuff feels pretty natural for us by now. It gets taught at the colleges. It gets taught to our kids.
We’ve never given the meta-narrative or biblical theology the place I’m suggesting, as the unifying core of our community life. But we have taken it on as, shall we say, a string in our bow. It’s one of the strands of thinking about our faith that has achieved a prominent place in the weave, as particularly significant for us Sydney churches.
Perhaps it’s not a very well integrated strand. Maybe it’s existed alongside other approaches to the faith, other ways of reading Scripture, which it should have been allowed to challenge. But it’s there, and it’s not weak.
Who then is in a better position to storyify their churches, than we are? I reckon we can give the story of the gospel the central, integrative role in our church identity that I’ve been describing, without having to introduce anything that new or different. My guess is that the people in our churches will like it, will take to it like a duck to water.
Anyone up for it?