Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
TRINJ 27:2 (Fall 2006) p. 309
Craig Bartholomew and Michael W. Goheen. The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2004. 252 pp. $15.99.
Biblical illiteracy presents a serious problem today—not just an ignorance of major events and people in Scripture but, more fundamentally, the failure to see how its parts fit together, to recognize its divine authorship, and the unity that engenders. Consequently, Scripture lacks the concrete authority to shape our lives and communities, and we allow ourselves to be defined by some non-biblical story. As Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen provocatively put it, we end up “theologically orthodox, morally upright, warmly pious idol worshippers!” (p. 12). In The Drama of Scripture, Bartholomew and Goheen, an OT scholar and a missiologist respectively, aim to show how the Bible tells a coherent story. Written for first-year students at Redeemer University College in Ontario, the book has two goals: to show how Scripture is “God’s story, the true story of the world” and to lay the groundwork for a biblical worldview (p. 11).
Building on the work of N. T. Wright, the authors organize the biblical story in six acts: Creation, Fall, Israel, Jesus, the Church, and New Creation, with the Second Temple period as an interlude between Israel and Jesus. Within this narrative, kingdom and covenant serve as the main entrance into “the cathedral of Scripture,” although other possibilities are acknowledged (pp. 23-24). In each act, Bartholomew and Goheen summarize the key accounts of the biblical narrative in such a way as to show how it is all one story. They have a full, illuminating discussion of creation in Act 1, which fits with their emphasis on redemptive history as the restoration of creation (p. 12). Throughout the OT, they underscore how the covenants hold together this unfolding drama (e.g., how Sinai builds on the Abrahamic covenant, pp. 65–66). In Act 4, the climax of the story, Jesus is interpreted in kingdom terms: the kingdom is proclaimed in his message, explained by his parables, demonstrated in his miracles, and inaugurated by his death and resurrection. The church in Act 5 continues what Jesus began and invites others into the kingdom, and Act 6 shows the kingdom as fully come.
The main entailment of seeing Scripture as a unified storyline is that both its individual passages and our lives are to be interpreted in its context. This redemptive narrative serves as the framework for answering the big questions about the world and ourselves (p. 197). Indeed, Bartholomew and Goheen stress the role we play: Scene 2 of Act 5 (the Church) remains unwritten, and we are to improvise in harmony with the rest of the biblical drama.
On the whole, Drama su...
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