Published on May 11, 2023 by Eugene Ho

IVP Academic, 2002 | 304 pages

A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance

by Mark Baker


About the Author

Peter Jensen is a retired theologian who was formerly archbishop of the Diocese of Sydney, Australia and principal of Moore Theological College.


About the Series

The Contours of Christian Theology series aims to give a systematic treatment to major doctrines of the Christian faith. “Top priority has been given to contemporary issues, some of which may not be dealt with elsewhere from an evangelical point of view” (9). It also seeks to “rework the orthodox evangelical position in a fresh and compelling way” (9). 



It is no secret that Enlightenment thought has irrevocably influenced contemporary theology. The doctrine of revelation has arguably taken the biggest blow in this regard. Many conservative theologies of revelation, therefore, devote much of their attention to arguing against the contributions of the Enlightenment. “My starting point is the argument that, in choosing to talk about revelation as a response to the Enlightenment, we have chosen the wrong initial category” (29). Instead of using Enlightenment categories to talk about revelation, this book will discuss the categories of the knowledge of God and “the more crucial biblical category of the gospel by which this knowledge arises” (29). 


Table of Contents

1 The Gospel as Revelation
2 The Nature of the Gospel
3 The Gospel and the Knowledge of God
4 The Gospel as a Pattern of Revelation
5 Revelation and the Human Experience
6 The Gospel and Religious Experience
7 The Authority of Scripture
8 The Nature of Scripture
9 On Reading Scripture
10 The Gospel and the Spirit
11 Contemporary Revelation




Chapters 1–4: The Gospel

The most important revelation from God is the gospel. Jesus came to preach the gospel, namely, the kingdom of God. In 2 Corinthians 4:1–6, Paul uses the phrases “the word of God,” “the truth,” and “the gospel” almost synonymously, indicating the centrality of the gospel as the primary revelation from God. “By God we learn God. The gospel is the very means by which God prosecutes his work in the world; it is the means he uses to inform the world of its central truth; it is the way he applies the salvation of the atoning death of Jesus to men and women” (37). To understand the gospel further, we must look at the apostolic preaching as recorded in the New Testament. A survey of the apostolic preaching reveals that the story of the Bible is the story of the gospel. Jesus fulfills the demands of the law and the expectation of the prophets. The gospel is the summary and the central axis of God’s revelation to humanity. 

The gospel sets the pattern for all other revelation. This is a key idea for the rest of the book, and this idea rests on four fundamental axioms. First, “the gospel is the measure of all revelation” (85). Christians don’t start with the gospel and then move on to more important truths. All of the Christian life centers on the gospel. Second, “Christian revelation is basically verbal” (87). The gospel is revelation, not just a witness to revelation. Third, “revelation conveys both information and relationship” (90). The only way to relate with God is through the words that he has revealed. Therefore, the gospel is not just something to be believed; it is also something to be obeyed. Fourth, “The Jesus Christ of the gospel, in whom we have believed, is none other than the one the gospel identifies as fulfilling the existing word of God in the Scriptures” (92). In short, Scripture is revelation. It is a simple point, but on this point, everything else changes. The rest of this book will seek to expound upon these four fundamental axioms. . . .

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IVP Academic, 2002 | 304 pages

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