Josh Philpot

Theology, the Church, and Music

Sidney Greidanus’ “Christocentric Method” for Preaching the OT

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I found this quote from the blog at Reformed Reader helpful in thinking about preaching Christ in all of Scripture. Many pastors, young and old, continue to do a disservice to the OT text by bludgeoning Christ upon every jot and tittle.To those who make it their practice to do so, I think these wise words from Sidney Greidanus are instructive:

The christocentric method complements the theocentric method of interpreting the Old Testament by seeking to do justice to the fact that God’s story of bringing his kingdom on earth is centered in Christ: Christ the center of redemptive history, Christ the center of the Scriptures.  In preaching any part of Scripture, one must understand its message in the light of that center, Jesus Christ.

It should be clear by now that our concern is not to preach Christ to the exclusion of the “whole counsel of God” but rather to view the whole counsel of God, with all its teachings, laws, prophecies, and visions, in the light of Jesus Christ.  At the same time, it should be evident that we must not read the incarnate Christ back into the Old Testament text, which would be eisegesis, but that we should look for legitimate ways of preaching Christ from the Old Testament in the context of the New.

Preaching Christ from the Old Testament, pgs. 227-28.

A solid reminder that while we must not allegorize Christ all over the OT, as though we could make him explicitly mentioned in every verse, we must recognize that every verse providentially exists where it is as part of a canonical Bible that centers around God’s redeeming work in none other than Christ himself.  Thus to preach a given verse as though it had nothing to do with Christ and his finished work is to misunderstand the OT as Christian Scripture.

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Written by Josh Philpot

April 5, 2009 at 11:27 am

Was Noah the first environmentalist?

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Darren Aronofsky, director of “The Fountain,” “Pi,” and “Requiem for a Dream” recently sat down with Peter Sciretta of slashfilm.com and spoke about some of his upcoming film projects. One of his future movies is a “religious film” dealing with the biblical character of Noah. Here is part of the interview:

Peter Sciretta: The only thing I wanted to ask you about is when you were in San Francisco with The Fountain, you told me about your next project, which is going to be a religious film…

Darren Aronofsky: That was Noah.

Peter Sciretta: Yes, Noah, what’s happening with that?

Darren Aronofsky: We have an amazing screenplay.

Peter Sciretta: Who wrote it?

Darren Aronofsky: I wrote it. Me and Ari Handel, the guy who worked on The Fountain. It’s a great script and it’s HUGE. And we’re starting to feel out talent. And then we’ll probably try and set it up…

Peter Sciretta: So this isn’t something you can make for six million dollars?

Darren Aronofsky: No, this is big, I mean, Look…it’s the end of the world and it’s the second most famous ship after Titanic. So I’m not sure why any studio won’t want to make it.

Peter Sciretta: You would hope so?

Darren Aronofsky: Yeah, I would hope so. It’s a really cool project and I think it’s really timely because it’s about environmental apocalypse which is the biggest theme, for me, right now for what’s going on on this planet. So I think it’s got these big, big themes that connect with us. Noah was the first environmentalist. He’s a really interesting character. Hopefully they’ll let me make it. Oh that’s right I forgot I told you that whole religious thing.

It is interesting to see how our culture views biblical stories – outside the metanarrative of Scripture and inside their personal worldview. For Aronofsky, the flood narrative of Genesis 6-9 is about an environmental apocalypse, with its main character being the Al Gore of the ancient Near East. For Christians, the story is much bigger. A few things struck me as I read this interview: 1) Noah’s story is the biggest theme going on in the planet. 2) Noah’s story does connect with us. Not only are we all longing for a savior (just look at all the superhero movies that have been made in the last 5 years), the whole creation is groaning inwardly, eagerly awaiting the redemption of sons (Rom. 8:18-25). 3) Noah’s ark is much more famous than the Titanic. 4) Noah’s story is very timely.

Noah was no environmentalist or weatherman. Noah was a savior. More to the point, Noah was typological of the coming Savior who not only saves people from judgment, but also saves them from their sins. In return, those who are united to him receive life. Noah’s story is about the flood, yes, but what Aronofsky doesn’t realize is that Noah’s story is about Jesus. Unlike Noah, Jesus was (is!) an environmentalist – he walks on water (Matt. 14:22-33) and the winds cease at the sound of his voice (Matt. 8:23-27). Like Noah, Jesus ushers in a new creation as the last Adam (Rom. 5:14). Yet while Noah preaches the gospel by calling the people to turn from their wickedness and enter into the salvation that God provided, Jesus is the salvation. Jesus is the gospel.

If “Noah: The Movie” is ever made I will probably see it. But Hollywood will never get it right. The flood narrative is not the end of the story. It only points to the one through whom all men will be reconciled.

“By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.” – Hebrews 11:7

Written by Josh Philpot

April 5, 2009 at 11:25 am