The Centrality of Luther’s Question

This is a provocative statement, but nevertheless a good caution, it seems to me, on the danger of getting so caught up in corporate-narrative-biblical categories that we lose sight of the urgency of Luther’s struggle, that of the individual sinner in his guilt seeking peace with a holy God.

“In recent years, great strides in biblical theology and contemporary canonical exegesis have brought new precision to our grasp of the Bible’s overall story of how God’s plan to bless Israel, and through Israel the world, came to its climax in and through Jesus Christ.  But I do not see how it can be denied that each New Testament book, whatever other job it may be doing, has in view, one way or another, Luther’s primary question: how may a weak, perverse, and guilty sinner find a gracious God?  Nor can it be denied that real Christianity only starts when that discovery is made.  And to the extent that modern developments, by filling our horizon with the great metanarrative, distract us from pursuing Luther’s question in personal terms, they hinder as well as help in our appreciation of the gospel.”

J.I. Packer, In My Place Condemned He Stood (Crossway, 2007), 26-27.

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