The Power of Narrative Theology

I’ve been asked a few times in groups I’m a part of and in person and elsewhere what my theological association/disposition is. My answer is often a mesh of Traditions. However, one leading answer I often give is that I adhere to a form of covenant theology. Just not the sort of covenant theology you find in “lordship” or calvinst versions.

I worship in a denomination called the Evangelical Covenant Church, and it is a good example of a Tradition that fits within the Protestant/Reformed umbrella but with a need and a desire to be constantly reforming. To be on the look out for the dangerous and corruptible parts within the larger umbrella and address it within the denomination. They did this initially by splitting off from Lutheranism in favor of reclaiming a more robust theology of the spirit, and also by stripping much of the doctrine and replacing it with central “affirmations” that leave plenty of room for diversity, disagreement and discussion within the congregations. It is a pretty wonderful thing from my experience.

However, what I really wanted to say was that when I say covenant theology I mean something more like narrative theology in this article here. The theologian cited (Emil Brunner) is another good example of someone who falls under the Reformed umbrella while also being willing to hold it to the fire of ongoing reform.

“Doctrines are secondary to the story; they cannot replace it. They are judged by their adequacy to the story—their ability to draw out and express faithfully the character of God as revealed by the story. But the story is primary; the doctrines are secondary and that means always revisable in light of a new and better understanding of the import of the story.”

“The only way to interpret “God is love” is to look at the biblical story that reveals God’s character through his actions.”

“Narrative theology has no need of “biblical inerrancy;” perfection with respect to purpose is sufficient to express biblical accuracy and authority. It is in and through the story that we meet God, especially in Jesus Christ. The Bible is the medium, the instrument, the indispensable witness to Jesus Christ. It is our life-changing meeting with him through the Bible’s Christ-centered story that elevates the Bible over other books. We do not believe in and trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior because of our belief in the Bible; we believe in the Bible because it is the unique instrument and witness of our meeting with him.”

Published by davetcourt

I am a 40 something Canadian with a passion for theology, film, reading writing and travel.

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