If the Abraham reality is a definition of faith that places the cross element in the biblical narrative stories of faith completely outside the realm of humanistic literary conception and inventive creativity….and this concept proves to be a powerful apologetic argument for the divine origin and inspiration of the Bible…this then indicts a large part of the program of contemporary Christianity.
If too much emphasis is placed in seeker-friendly approaches aimed at expanding church growth by becoming more attractive to the un-churched…rather than preaching a biblical-quality cross message that runs contrary to producing mega-church sized congregations…then we have two programs that have conflicting purposes.
As Abraham initially travels from the city of Haran to the Promised Land Canaan, with each step he takes God is displacing Abraham’s world conventional, normative plans with a divinely conceived plan that is outside of the contemplation and contrivance of Abraham. This creates a narrative story…a storyline script…that cannot be deviated from and still maintain its force and effect.
In other words…if remaining in Haran and faced with the dilemma of producing no child heirs through Sarah his wife…Abraham would have the option of finding additional wives and producing children through his own means according to convention. But as Abraham walks towards Canaan…his new storyline contains no wiggle-room for self-sovereignty in this regard. Abraham is not going to accidently “bump” into a chance meeting with beautiful candidates for a second or third wife in addition to Sarah.
Abraham is locked into the storyline script of faith for the highest and best of reasons…being the first to walk in a God-composed adventure of faith life-script…which will make Abraham the “father of faith” of multitudes as the number of stars of the night sky of people having similarly patterned walks of faith…walking away from the conventional normalcy of Haran and into their own God-composed life-scripts in the spiritual equivalent Promised Land of Canaan (Jn. 8:36).
Joseph cannot procure his premature release from Pharaoh’s prison through the help of the butler and baker. Moses cannot persuade God at the burning bush to find someone else to go to Egypt to deliver the Israelites. David will not become king prematurely through Saul fatally falling off his horse or by a stray arrow or an unlucky sword blow in battle. Peter may incorrectly think it is his duty to courageously make his stand alongside Jesus at the night trial…in one impetuous show of bravery…but this is not the detailed and finely calibrated life-script for Peter that fateful night in the courtyard of Caiaphas.
One of the compelling arguments for the divine origin of this cross element in the biblical narrative stories of faith…the displacement of our own plans by the plans of God in a God-composed journey of faith life-script…is this absence of any wiggle-room for alternative self-sovereignty to change the details of the script. This element of God’s plans…removing ourselves off the thrones of our lives in the critical area of the direction of our lives…is as contrary to humanistic thinking and entitlement as is possible. This is the built-in argument within the narrative stories of faith in the Bible…starting with Abraham…that precludes any rational pretense that these stories are man-generated or the product of inventive mythological fiction writing. This cross element of displacing our ways with God’s higher ways is anathema to worldly conventional thinking.
If this indeed is a powerful argument for the divine origin and inspiration of the Bible…then an Abraham-style adventure of faith should be a central part of the Christian gospel message being preached throughout Christendom. But oddly and sadly it is not. The displacement part is left out. In a seeker-friendly approach to bringing in the un-churched, God’s “plans” are reduced to 3-point or 5-point plans that often only manage to confirm our own hopes and dreams in conformity to worldly conventional expectations…rather than picking up our cross to follow Jesus Christ into a whole new world of faith and trust that is unique to the Bible alone.