The Gospel Carnival

I recently commented on Mark Snoeberger’s blog that I was appalled that he had preached five messages from the Old Testament and only mentioned Christ in one.  Maybe “appalled” was a little strong and since Mark is not a pastor it may not be five messages over a five-week period in the same church. So I should cut him some slack. Some but not much. 


One of the issues raised was Christ-centered preaching and Mark admitted the following: “But since I've spent almost all my study time in the OT during the last two months, it's almost as though I've left the Gospel Carnival behind. Kind of like going for a drive in the country, but better. It's been very refreshing, but the funny thing is that, despite the fact that I have been spending considerably more time than normal in my Bible for the past two months, I've read virtually nothing about Christ, the Cross, or the Gospel.”


Okay now I do find that appalling in light of New Testament teaching that “all the promises of God find their Yes in [Christ] – 2 Cor. 1:20. Now, there may be some way to limit those promises to exclude the Old Testament but Mark’s above-quoted statement sounds more like the confession of the disciples on the Emmaus road in Luke 24.  I could more easily understand how Mark might “read virtually nothing about Christ” in two months of Old Testament study if he didn’t have New Testament light. In light of the entrance of Christ on the world scene we do see things more clearly.


Perhaps there’s a clue to how Mark is reading the Old Testament and reacting in this statement: “The buzz today is THE GOSPEL. We have gospel coalitions, we get together for the gospel, the catchwords of the day are ‘gospel-centered,’ ‘Cross-centered,’ ‘Christ-centered,’ and so on.  Mark felt like he left this “Gospel Carnival behind.”  I find Mark’s language troubling and demeaning of efforts to make much of the gospel.  I think I understand his hermeneutical concerns yet his comments sound like there’s another axe to grind. Mark has done some explaining in a follow-up blog but I would invite him to consider whether he needs more of the “the buzz” rather than using belittling language to describe efforts to make more of the gospel.



6 Responses to “The Gospel Carnival”

  1. I read Mark's article. He upholds my critique of many dispensationalists who read the OT like Jews. I guess one could go to a Yeshiva to get the same OT education they would at Detroit Baptist.   

  2. I echo what John said. The only ones i see decrying the recent gospel-centered focus are dispensationalists. Many dispensationalist are very leery of seeing Christ and the cross in the OT lest they begin to "blur" the lines between Israel and the church. 

  3. Love the irony of reading you, Steve, calling for someone to not use belittling language and of then seeing John's comment. Sweet.

  4. Irony? Okay. Except I didn't make the comment but I do allow them. I guess I  can see some similarity with talking about the Gospel Carnival and studying the OT at a Yeshiva, but not much. However John's comment  does illustrate his opinion of how Mark reads the OT.  What's the point of the "Gospel Carnival?" 

    Judging from the comments on Mark's blog and some other blogs, including your comment and subsequent blog defense (and it looks like another Detroit prof had some objections), we're not the only ones concerned with a prof who finds it "refreshing" to study the OT for two months to read "virtually nothing of Christ, the Cross, or the Gospel." In that case, unless Mark was reading the same verses or chapter for two months, then John's analogy is an appropriate one.

    It's a discussion that needs to happen if Mark is an OT prof teaching this, blogging about it, and being called out on it.  Some might think your blog comment that “Some of the reactions to Mark’s post, though, seem oblivious to the hermeneutical issues at stake” belittle those who disagree with Mark.” Oh really? Just because they question Mark’s position they "seem“ oblivious?” Anyway, seems that belittling is often in the eyes of the belittler.  

  5. After checking out the DBTS web site it appears that Mark teaches Systematic Theology, not OT. So maybe what Mark holds is not what the OT guys teach. Whew! Thus the discussion can continue without further belittlement.

  6. But Mark did say that he  was "preparing two new classes for seminary this semester: Old Testament Historical Books and Old Testament Theology."
    My comment included 'some' dispensationalists like Mark who can teach  OTHB and OTT without seeing Christ. I'd be glad to hear that DBTS does teach that the OT story is part of the bigger story about what God accomplishes for mankind and the cosmos through the person and work of Jesus Christ.

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