The Epic of Eden by Sandra L. Richter

The Epic of Eden by Sandra L. Richter

Sandra Richter is an associate professor of Old Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary who has taught the Old Testament for decades in “an array of educational and ministry positions.”[1] During her tenure she noticed that the overwhelming majority of Christians do not know and/or understand how the Old Testament impacts their lives as a follower of Jesus. Moreover, a lot of Christians do not have a structure in place to help them make sense of the overall story line. The Epic of Eden is Richter’s solution to this ignorance where she tries to provide a structure that modern Christian can learn to understand and love the Old Testament.[2] Using the analogy of a “dysfunctional closet” Richter begins to create a structure upon which the Old Testament facts and stories can be hung.[3] Chapter one begins by first discussing the culture in which the Old Testament was written followed by a chapter on rehearsing the “story of redemption through the lenses of real space and time.”[4] In chapter three, Richter begins to hang “clothes” on the closet structure through an understanding of the “concept of covenant.”[5] Richter, like other scholars before her, sees the theology of the Old Testament as being organized around “five covenantal interactions” connected to five biblical figures: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David.[6] After outlining the basic historical concept of a covenant, Richter shifts gears for chapters four and five. In these chapters she first discusses “God’s Original Intent” for humanity before dealing with “God’s Final Intent” (chapters four and five respectively).[7] The end result of these discussions being that God’s original and final intent for...
Our Place In The Story (Act 5 Scene 3)

Our Place In The Story (Act 5 Scene 3)

This past Sunday was the last week of our eight month journey through the Bible tracing the metanarrative  or grand story of God. Being the last sermon in the series,  this sermon served two purposes: 1) a recap of the entire eight months and 2) an arrow pointing forward to our part in The Story. Five Act Shakespeare Play Along this journey we used N.T. Wright’s outline of a lost Shakespeare play with the final act missing. This ‘newly discovered’ lay is wonderful, full of drama, passion and amazing insight into the human soul – this play is destined to be a classic on par with Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet. The only one problem is that missing last act…. So what do you do?  Well, you pull together the best Shakespearean actors and actress on the planet – the ones that know all of Shakespeare’s other plays – you give them all the acts that you have – the first four acts – you have them study them, to enter into the story – to learn and know the characters in the play – then you put on the play with the actors living out the last act within the theme and direction of the first four acts. This is us – we are in the fifth act of God’s story. We have the first four acts recorded in the Bible – shoot, we even have the first and last pages of Act 5! We just don’t have the pages in the middle… so what are we going to do? I pray that we learn the first four...
Church History (Act 5 Scene 2)

Church History (Act 5 Scene 2)

This last Sunday service was a a tad different as we looked at the church history between Acts chapter 28 and today (Act 5 Scene 2 in the Grand Story of God). While history may not be in the Bible, this is a very, very important topic as God did not stop working after St. Luke penned the final words of Acts. He is very much active today and He has always been active within history. There is a reason that the majority of the Scripture is written as history – Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings, 1-2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Jonah, Matthew, Luke, Mark, John, and Acts. They are all history books detailing the work of God among humanity… and if God deemed it important enough to include the history of the Jewish people in His Sacred Text, than I feel it is important to know the history of the Church, birthed with Jesus and infused with the Holy Spirit. The prophet Jeremiah speaks to this in the sixth chapter: 16 This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. -Jeremiah 6:16 The “ancient paths” => we are not alone on this journey. There have been many followers of Jesus who has walked this path before us. Hebrews 12:1 says that we are “surrounded” by a “great cloud of witnesses” who are cheering us on – encouraging us to finish the race set before us by “fixing...
A New Age Begins (Act 4 Scene 2)

A New Age Begins (Act 4 Scene 2)

Have you ever watched one of those confusing movies where after a minute or two of video the film flashes back to a few years previously? Just when I started to get the hang of that, the person who I thought was the main character dies. Now I’m REALLY confused. What is the point of the film? Who is the good guy? Is there a good guy? And what the heck is going on?! For many years I felt the same way about the Bible. Being an avid reader, I picked up the Bible and started at the front. There was this deal about a guy named Adam and his girl, Eve. But they didn’t hang around very long – just long enough to screw up everything. Trying to keep an open mind, I continued to read – only to get more and more confused as first one character and then another comes on the scene only to die a few chapters later. I was beginning to think that while God was a good at creating planets and the like, He was terrible at writing a book! After what seemed like eternity, someone let me in on the secret: start with part about Jesus of Nazareth. Flipping past three-quarters of the book, I found the part about Jesus and started reading. Boy did things start making sense – I had found the main character and He was pretty cool! However, there was one thing in story about Jesus that I did not understand. He kept talking about and referring to the “kingdom of God”  or the “kingdom of heaven”...
The Invasion of God – Birth of Jesus (Act 4 Scene 1)

The Invasion of God – Birth of Jesus (Act 4 Scene 1)

Over the past few months we have been walking through the Bible – Genesis to Revelations – looking at the grand story of God and how our lives fit into His story. Today marks a radical shift in this story for as we celebrate the birth for Jesus – the invasion of God into Present Evil Age. Life – human history – would never be the same after that first Christmas. The story of God had reached its climax… But we are getting ahead of ourselves. Before we can fully understand the significance of Christmas we must look at how the birth of Jesus fits within the grand story of God. Lost Shakespeare Play The story of God is best told as a five part act – all pointing forwarding and connected with each other. It is like a discovering a lost Shakespeare play– it is wonderful, full of drama, passion and amazing insight into the human soul – this play is destined to be a classic on par with Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet. There is only one problem… the last act is missing… So what do you do?  You pull together the best Shakespearean actors and actress on the planet – the ones that know all of Shakespeare’s other plays – you give them all the acts that you have – the first four acts – you have them study them, to enter into the story – to learn and know the characters in the play – then you put on the play with the actors living out the last act within the theme and direction of...