“Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.” (Mk. 8:34-35)
If the Abraham reality is the starting definition for biblical faith…that places the cross of Christ element into the biblical narrative stories of faith…which is 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 in economically developed countries around the world.
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 of discipleship that runs contrary to the mass-appeal required to produce mega-church sized congregations…then we have two programs today that have conflicting purposes.
As Abraham initially travels from the city of Haran to the Promised Land of Canaan, with each step he takes God is displacing Abraham’s worldly 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 full force and effect.
In other words…if remaining in Haran…and faced with the seeming dilemma of producing no child heirs through Sarah his wife…Abraham would then have the available option of easily finding additional wives among the population of Haran…and producing children through his own means according to acceptable contemporary conventions.
But as Abraham walks towards Canaan…his new storyline contains no wiggle-room for a self-sovereign contrivance of his own making in this all-important regard of producing an heir…because Abraham is now walking in a new script inserted into his life by God.
Abraham is not going to accidently “bump” into a chance meeting with beautifully attractive female candidates like Sarah from his hometown of “Ur of the Chaldees”…for a second or third wife in addition to Sarah…because the promise to Abraham is to have children as numerous as the dust of the earth…through Sarah.
Abraham is now locked into the storyline script of biblical faith for the highest and best of reasons…being the first to walk in a God-composed adventure of faith life-script.
This 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 in the opposite direction 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).
Likewise, Joseph cannot procure his premature release from Pharaoh’s prison through the help of his fellow-prisoners 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 being killed by a stray arrow or an unlucky sword blow in battle.
Peter may incorrectly think it is his absolute duty to courageously make his stand alongside Jesus at the night trial…in one impetuous show of bravery…but occupying a fourth cross on Calvary Hill the next day is not the detailed and finely calibrated life-script destiny for the full future life of Peter…that fateful night in the courtyard of Caiaphas.
From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity