Monday, June 07, 2010

Great Quote!

In discussing the problems with biblical propositions for premillinialist variations, Ladd says this: "Our problems arise when we begin to ask questions which were not in the minds of the authors." (The Blessed Hope, 13) So true. And it is compounded by modern views of Scripture that treat it like an answer or rule book for life. So what happens is that any marginal reference to an issue is grasped at, uncritically I hasten to add, and used to support our ideological stances. For me this is epitomized in the conversation about homosexuality. A scant few references are used to hastily bring the supposed judgment of scripture onto an issue that does not inhabit the same social import then as it does today. The good test of this is to ask, where does Paul ponder whether or not God would bless the lifelong marriage of a homosexual couple? Or where does Jesus ever ask if homosexuals should not be permitted at his table fellowship? Nowhere. In fact we could probably infer that Jesus' table was wide open. So far from saying the scriptures are unable to help us develop a response to the questions of our day - we need to approach them differently and let that question be asked of the Scriptures. The more I do that the less I can find reasons for closing my table, my church and my life to all. About the only ones I'm finding legitimate grounds to critique and condemn are those who behave like the Pharisees of Jesus' time. The ones who want to close the tables, keep their comfortable little religion and pretend the world around them has no relevance to their lives (and as a result participate in the systemic injustice of society, which was very much part of Jesus' critique).


byron smith said...

Thanks, this is a very important point. So often in our desire to make the text "relevant" we take hermeneutic short cuts. Speaking of which, I wonder whether we can move straight from Jesus' table fellowship to contemporary celebrations with bread and wine. Obviously, there is a connection between the two, but not, I think, a simple equation. Just a thought.

One of Freedom said...

I was actually thinking in terms who Jesus' hung out with, but the liturgical implications do need to be carefully worked out. I know that we draw our open (Eucharistic) table from our understanding of Jesus' table fellowship - but you are right we can't just assume it is a simple move from one to the other. This is why I'm more and more convinced we need to take the role of the community as interpreter of scripture and tradition seriously.