The American Experience & The Scarlet Thread
One of the reasons that there is a shift to focusing on the “redemptive story” is because there is a lost understanding of just how practical the Scriptures to those who do not live an “American Christian Experience.”
While some may see preaching on this-or-that passage as “moralizing” Scripture, the reality is that the passage is designed to be so very practical to God’s people around the world and throughout the ages.
It is because we as American Christians may not and/ or cannot see the purposeful value in various passages, that some want to focus on the story of redemption. However, to many other fellow believers around the world, and throughout the ages of time, Scripture not only presented the story of redemption but provided some very practical help for navigating the Christian life in a world which opposed, persecuted and killed God’s people.
Let me illustrate that:
There are many in the world who understand the “imprecatory” portions of Scripture far better than American Christians because they witness and experience some of the most egregious and wicked actions of men against mankind and their fellow believers. We may read about David who runs to the city of Nob and then finds himself at the gates of Gath and miss the practical value, the moralizing value, of such passages.
The Bible preacher-teacher may have to skip quickly over such passages if he cannot make some kind of connection with the story of redemption — as he must when it comes to many other passages which are seemingly unnecessarily included in Old Testament narrative accounts.
What does the story of David fleeing to the city of Nob, or slobbering as a fool at the gates of Gath, or being lowered out of a window by Michael his wife, or the mocking of David by Eliab, or – or – or — have to do with the story of God’s redemptive program.*
However, saints who are facing persecution, injustice, stress-filled days in a world that seeks their injury and harm well understand the value of such passage! Such passages are very real to them and the lessons they draw out of the many events David experiences and faces are “moralizing principles,” but vital help for navigating life!
* I would suggest that there are many passages of Scripture that will be left unpreached because there is no obvious connection with those passages with the grand story of redemption. However, they are very important to practical Christian living and for God’s people as they navigate life and living around this world.
Such passages may be read during a message which speaks to the scarlet thread, but that is about it. No real value is draw from David at the city gates of Gath, acting like a fool, — or — what a superficial shallow and repetitive comment is made about God’s plan of redemption so as to include it — i.e. — “David is acting like a fool because that is what happens when we lose sight of God’s redemptive plan for His people. Fear will cause you to think like a fool, to do some of the most foolish things, to . . . .”
There are great lessons — “moralizing lessons” in the words of some — about what fear can and does to God’s people. Lessons which many non-American Christians need and get from the pages of Scripture which are lost in the thinking of American Christian preaching!