Christians talk all the time about Eden and rightfully so, yet, it usually is just to set the scene for the upcoming drama rather than be a part of the drama itself. But when we come seeking God’s agenda rather than pushing our own, we see that Eden is not just a backdrop for the world’s beginnings, it is a theology lecture in garden form. In every tree, plant, and fruit, God is explaining who he is and who we are. And as the true artist, he speaks to us through the garden’s form and function.
It is the tension between belief and experience that Portland, Oregon-based pastor, professor, and author A.J. Swoboda explores in A Glorious Dark. In it, a means of navigating between these poles is identified: hope. And yet, Swoboda does not offer this as a huckster’s panacea, but rather, as a sincere solution – one characterized more by grit than gloss.
Progressive Covenantalism, edited by Stephen Wellum and Brent Parker, is meant as a follow-up to Kingdom through Covenant, which was published in 2012. While both books seek to offer an alternative system to dispensationalism and covenant theology, this volume adds a greater level of depth to certain areas of the position through a series of articles that address particular aspects of progressive covenantalism, each written by a different author. In the introduction, the editors acknowledge that not every author would agree on all points. Still, each contributor resonates with the basic commitments of progressive covenantalism.
The Bible is more than a collection of thrilling stories or a library of inspired books. The Bible is one book that tells one great story of how God has reached out from eternity into time to give us a place in His story. As you read the Bible, look for the themes that reflect and propel this story. Like a sparkling diamond, the story of the Bible has many facets. But it is one story!
Today, we still see this problem of “biblical myopia” in our sermons, Bible studies, and even how we converse with each other about the Bible. We teach Bible stories and often tack on little morals. But we fail to explain how all of the pieces fit together in the great flow of holy history. Seldom are believers presented a picture of God’s all-encompassing plan for the ages.