Revelation – Centred On Christ, Our Saviour

Carl E. Braaten has written that “Serious reservations … must be voiced against the dominant position of the idea of revelation in theology.” Braaten suggests that the idea of revelation implies that “man’s essential predicament is his lack of knowledge.” Braaten offers this comment: “If the ignorance of man stands in the centre, then the fact of revelation relieves that plight; but if man’s guilt is the problem, then not revelation but reconciliation must become the theological centrum” (History and Hermeneutics, p. 14).
Any worthy theology of revelation will take full account of the substance of Braaten’s comment. Man’s basic need does not lie in his finitude. It lies in his sinfulness. This need is not met by mere knowledge about God. It is met by reconciliation to God. We must, however, resist any and every tendency to draw a false contrast between revelation and reconciliation. Revelation is not merely an antidote to ignorance. Revelation centres on Christ. He is our Saviour. He is the One who reconciles us to God. Biblical revelation must be understood with respect to its specific intention. This is most closely related to salvation. The Scriptures point us to Christ. They call us to believe in Him. They call us to receive eternal life through faith in Him. This salvation is more than simply an antidote to our ignorance. It is God’s way of removing our guilt. Scripture’s primary focus of attention is on the divine reconciliation by which our guilt is removed. Let us not think, however, that we should dispense with the word, ‘revelation’, and simply replace it with the word, ‘reconciliation’. Let us rejoice in the God who has revealed Him most wonderfully in His great act of reconciliation through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18-21). 

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