A church without Jesus? Impossible you say? Yet theologian and pastor Dr Christopher Peppler argues in his newly revised book ‘Truth is the Word’ that in much of the church of today, good works, spiritual manifestations, social issues and even the Bible itself, have edged out Jesus’s pivotal place in the Christian life.
With the subtitle ‘restoring a lost focus’, this book launched last week in print and electronic forms, is aimed at contributing to the efforts of many to refocus both Christians and the church itself on the Lord Jesus Christ.
In this newly revised edition of ‘Truth is the Word’, the author presents the case for Jesus as the living Word- and the Bible as the written Word of God. Therefore the scriptures should be understood with reference to the person, words, and ministry of Jesus Christ.
The new edition is a clear and concise version of the original, which was published in 2007. The direct style of the second edition allows readers from all denominations – leaders and congregants alike – to comprehend and process the points it makes quickly and effectively.
“This book is about the source of truth, how it manifests, and how we are to understand it,” says Peppler, “The source of truth is a divine person, the Lord Jesus Christ who is manifested in and through the Bible, the church, individual illumination, and finally Christian lives.”
A book with two parts
Divided into two parts, Book One, entitled, The Source of Truth, begins with how knowledge is acquired and the various current theories of truth. It then discusses the Bible in relation to truth and finally settles on Jesus, as revealed in the Bible, as the source of truth.
Book Two, entitled Comprehending the Truth, begins with a compact history of biblical interpretation and the various modern options available. The book then moves through topics such as biblical text and its meaning, both-and exegesis, mystery, levels of meaning, culminating in Christocentricity.
The Christocentric principle is an approach to biblical interpretation that seeks to understand scripture from the perspective of what Jesus taught and modelled, and from what he revealed concerning the nature, character, values, principles, and priorities of the Godhead. The book ends with an important practical concept of finding Jesus in the Bible.
Refocusing the post modern church on Jesus
Truth is The Word was written following Peppler’s observations of how Christians regarded the relationship between Jesus and the Bible. “For most the Bible had become the centre of attention and Jesus more a character within its pages than its author and main interpreter. The focus seemed to be on learning the scriptures rather than learning to know Jesus,” he says.
More recently, the trustworthiness of the Bible has come under increasing attack, leading many Christians to focus on defending its integrity rather than on the centrality of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Focus is also being lost as today’s postmodern worldview challenges traditional knowledge and beliefs, and presents a torrent of conflicting ideas, resulting in a society in spiritual turmoil.
“The solution is to get back to the fundamental realisation that Christianity is not a philosophy but a relationship, where truth is defined not as a principle but as a Person: the Lord Jesus Christ,” Peppler says.
According to the author, the benefits of such an approach are multifold:
“Through a Christocentric faith, we will be able to understand the Bible more fully in the light of God’s character as displayed in the Lord Jesus. Our churches will be united around the person of Jesus rather than being divided over doctrine or practice. Our Christian lives will transform from an exercise in will and intellect to a personal Spirit-led daily experience of the living Lord.”
Truth is The Word is designed to stimulate and challenge readers to examine their own thoughts and Christian beliefs, and their practical day-to-day applications of these. It explains step by step how the reader can learn to understand the Bible more deeply. It also provides a useful set of guidelines for interpreting Scripture, based on the work of the earliest Fathers of the Faith and adapted to our present needs.
Commenting on Truth is the Word- Restoring a lost focus, world renowned Christian author Dr Leonard Sweet, says: “Peppler’s greatest contribution may well be his demonstration that what releases us from living self-referenced lives and frees us to live God-referenced lives, is truth. And truth is a Person, not a principle. To put on the ‘mind of Christ,’ to live according to the ‘things above’ not the ‘things below,’ is a life lived for the sake of others, not ourselves.”
Truth is the Word – Restoring a lost focus (Revised edition) is available in print at R120 and in all major e-book formats. For more information and related resources visit www.truthisthewordbook.com.