I am afraid that we have relegated Christianity to something in our mind and lost the sense of how holistic redemption is, how God communicates what Christianity is through the images that he has given to his church. There is a felt flatness to some versions of Christianity, not an embodied invitation to a historic sacramental Christianity. The historic images that God has given to his church are not the practices that usually come to our mind when we think of what it means to be a Christian.
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!