If you enjoy reading The Bible here is something to meditate on from William Webb (pretty much my NEW hero)…

First of all I want to encourage you to purchase this book by William Webb…
Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis

“As one might suspect from its name, a key component of a redemptive-movement hermeneutic is the idea of movement. The Christian seeking to apply Scripture today should examine the movement between the biblical text and its surrounding social context. Once that movement has been discovered, there needs to be an assessment of whether the movement is preliminary or absolute (see criterion 1). If it is preliminary and further movement in the direction set by the text would produce a more fully realized ethic, then that is the course of action one must pursue. The interpreter extrapolates the biblical movement toward a more just, more equitable and more loving form. If a better ethic than the one expressed in the isolated words of the text is possible, and the biblical and canonical spirit is headed that direction, then that is where one ultimately wants to end up. The alternative, of course, is to work with an understanding of Scripture that is static.
A static hermeneutic does not interest itself in discovering movement. It is primarily interested in exegeting the text as an isolated entity and finding comparable or equivalent expressions (alternative forms) of how that text may be lived out in another culture. In the case of slavery, a static hermeneutic would not condemn biblical-type slavery, if that social order were to reappear in society today. Proponents of a static hermeneutic are generally willing to condemn American slavery, which was often worse than the biblical form, but they will not speak in a negative manner about the kind of slavery presented in the Bible. In the meantime, the household codes concerning masters and slaves are transferred to the modern context of employer/employee relationships. Equivalent admonitions of “obey” and “submit” are popped in like sure-fit items. This type of application process amounts to a rather wooden swapping of ancient-world and modern-world equivalents. When a static hermeneutic is pressed with the actual words of the slavery texts, however, it produces grotesque, mutation-like applications. Imagine taking the words of Peter and advising modem employees to accept physical beatings by their employers for the sake of the gospel (1 Pet 2:18-25). Or, think about instructing contemporary employers from the Pentateuch that, should they limit beating employees to within a hairbreadth of their life, they would not be guilty of legal reprisal (Ex 21:20-21). Or, maybe our modem world should consider handing out lesser penalties for sexual violation against an employee (= slave) than in the case of sexual violation against an employer or self-employed person (= free) (Deut 22:25-27; cf. Lev 19:20-22). These examples, of course, show the utterly ridiculous nature of a static hermeneutic. Even a static application utilizes a redemptive-movement hermeneutic of sorts, on a lesser scale, by its selective choice of that which can and cannot be carried over to our context.
One might be able to persuade a modern congregation into believing that employees should “obey” and “submit to” their employers based upon the slavery texts. This happens all the time. But the outcome reflects a tragic misunderstanding of Scripture. The rest of the slavery material, beyond the obey/submit instructions, is often left at arm’s length and simply not applied.  This kind of static approach to the slavery texts is not persuasive. In fact, the wooden nature of a static hermeneutic becomes a liability to any Christian seeking to live out their commitment to God’s will, as revealed through Scripture. Having discovered the movement of the biblical texts on slavery relative to the original social context, an extrapolation of that movement today leads to the abolition of slavery altogether. On this issue our culture is much closer to an ultimate ethic than it is to the unrealized ethic reflected in the isolated words of the Bible.

In addition to the complete removal of slavery, a redemptive-movement hermeneutic proposes quite a different way of applying the household codes in our modern context. A redemptive-movement hermeneutic does not argue that modem Christians apply the household codes through submitting to and obeying their employers. Such an application not only neglects the element of movement to a more fully realized ethic but overlooks fundamental differences between slavery and modem employee-employer relations. The most crucial difference is that of ownership compared to a contractual basis for working relationships. In the modern contractual setting we should not preach obedience and submission, but that Christian employees should fulfill the terms of their contract to the best of their ability in order to bring glory to God and enhance their gospel witness. In addition, a redemptive-movement hermeneutic seeks to reapply the spirit or movement component of the slavery texts relative to the surrounding cultures. Scripture sides heavily with the plight of the slave, the poor and the oppressed. This life-breathing spirit, which bettered the conditions for slaves in the ancient world, should also influence the application process today. Contemporary Christian employers, then, should not abuse their power in pursuit of bottom-line production but advance their businesses in ways that value their employees as people and encourage their productive contribution in humane and just ways. Working conditions, levels of income, and disparity between the rich and poor are all issues that the redemptive spirit, evidenced in scriptural movement, ought to impact as we bring these texts to bear on our modem world.”

William J. Webb. Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis (Kindle Locations 319-339). Kindle Edition.

What are your thoughts?

1. “A static hermeneutic does not interest itself in discovering movement.” What do you think about the idea that scripture is not static?

2. As we read scripture are we able to see the trajectory of a text not just the shooter or the place where the text is being shot from?

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This Sunday’s sermon Mark 2:1-12 Title: Jesus is The Source of Forgiveness and Healing.

Text:And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”” (Mark 2:1–12, ESV)

Title: Jesus is The Source of Forgiveness and Healing.

  • The Source… Jesus is authority (He has called and they came in his own authority, He casts out demons in His own authority, He heals and forgives in His own authority.)
  • Forgiveness…  Only God can forgive sins. Jesus acts with the will and authority of God to forgive through Grace.
  • Healing… Image restoration.

Note on the relationship between sin and disease: Humans are in the image of God but we are all broken by the fall. As a result there is dis-ease (sins moral and natural blight on humanity) in every aspect of our very being…
Our Physical nature has been broken by dis-ease.
Our Spiritual nature has been broken by dis-ease.
Our Emotional nature has been broken by dis-ease.
Our Mental nature has been broken by dis-ease.
Our Volitional (our free will, desires, dreams, ability to choose) nature has been broken by dis-ease.
NOTE:Some say this brokenness is complete (people are 100 % percent broken) While others say this brokenness is total (every aspect of our being mental, emotional, physical, spiritual and  volitional, has been cracked by the fall) I personally hold  to a total brokenness (or depravity) position.

We need to understand from this text that
1. Jesus announces that He is The Source of forgiveness and love. ILLUSTRATION: Priest from the middle ages in France would say to the sick who came to them… “You have sinned and God is afflicting you. Thank Him, you will suffer so much less torment in the life to come”

2. Coming to Jesus as the source of forgiveness and love does not result in being turned away in this life or the next.

3. Healing is not only Physical!

4. Christ is God (Exodus 15:26 “I am the Lord who heals you”)

5. Our forgiving and healing relationship with God should carry over into our sphere of influence.

Congregational questions for discussion…
1. Do the Sick like you and I have full access to our Jesus and His church or are we fencing the well somewhere?
2. Do we see Christ as God or Gods separate helper? (example: is the Father angry at you and the Son is kind?)
3. Are we disgusted/angry about sins effect on us or are we angry about the effect of sinners on us? Which attitude is healthy and which one is not? Why?

More Sunday Morning Response… “Our wants grow in step with our egos.”

Check this blog response from Sunday morning… Created or Creators? You will be blessed.

“The created value Him; creators value chattel.

The created suffer; creators make others suffer.

The created love others genuinely; creator’s love because they should for their own good.

The created admit weakness; the creators shield it with bravado.

The created seek His authority; the creators think they are authority.”

 

Theologically dehumanizing people….

“Homophobia is LIKE racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to DEHUMANIZE a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood.” Coretta Scott King

Wow I just came across a profound quote by Coretta Scott King. It really puts into perspective how we can attempt to “dehumanize” an issue in order to avoid dealing with our fears or phobias.  I do this all the time with other cultures and people that I am afraid of or not familiar with. It is the easy way to deal with the human condition… to dehumanize it. I have been taught how to theologically dehumanize people. I am learning how to be more Christlike… now when I disagree with a person, don’t understand them or don’t sin like them…  I need to remember that I should not deny them their , humanity, dignity or personhood.  In that sense we both bear the image of God… our humanity.

Profound. I am thankful Jesus died for my phobias. I don’t want to reduce people to theological problems anymore in the name of Christ.

Michael Lawrence on “Church and State”

Michael Lawrence says this concerning the topic of the kingdom of God and society as it pertains to Mark 1:14-15 (emphasis mine)…

“According to Jesus, there is a sharp distinction between church and state, between the kingdoms of this world and the kingdom of God (Matt 26:53-56; John 18:36) Does this mean Christians shouldn’t care about what happens here, or that they can reject earthly politics? Not at all. In between the inauguration and consummation of the kingdom of God earthly political authority is both legitimate and good (Romans 13). HOWEVER, SUCH AUTHORITY IS ALSO BOTH TEMPORARY AND LIMITED. WE NEITHER PUT OUR FINAL HOPE IN, NOR GIVE OUR FINAL LOYALTY TO, THE POLITICAL STATE (CF. ACTS 4:19-20)”

From his book Biblical Theology in the Life of The Church.

“A chicken sandwich, a chicken sandwich! The Kingdom for a chicken sandwich!”

This is what the whole “Chick-Fil-A Stand” looks like to me. 😦

Sermon prep Mark 1:14–15 (as usual I welcome your questions, thoughts and perspectives)

Here is the text I will be working on this week for Sundays sermon (as usual I welcome your thoughts and perspectives)…

  • Mark 1:14–15 (The Message)

14 After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee preaching the Message of God: 15 “Time’s up! God’s kingdom is here. Change your life and believe the Message.”

  • Mark 1:14–15 (ESV)

14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

  • Mark 1:14–15 (NLT)

14 Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News. 15 “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”