Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Erasmus on Interpretation

"For there are some secret places in the Holy Scriptures into which God has not wished us to penetrate more deeply and, if we try to do so, then the deeper we go, the darker and darker it becomes, by which means we are led to acknowledge the unsearchable majesty of divine wisdom, and the weakness of the human mind."

-Erasmus of Rotterdam, preface to On the Freedom of the Will, 1524.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Jesus in Context

"If you don’t put Jesus in his proper context, you will inevitably put him in a different one, where he, his message, and his achievement will be considerably distorted." Found in a nice article by N.T. Wright about C.S. Lewis (thanks to euangelion for pointing it out).

If you already like Wright, you will enjoy this article. If you are skeptical about some of Wright's ideas (as I am), you will see a bit of Wright's admirable heart and observe that he is quite a bit like Lewis.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Vacation Pictures

You can take a look at our family vacation pictures here and our day at Sequoia National Park here.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Jesus Was Not a Rebel

When I say that Jesus was not a rebel, I mean that he was not a rebel in the way that most modern or post-modern Americans define rebel. When I hear or read a claim that Jesus was a rebel, it usually implies the following definition:

A rebel opposes authority simply because it is authority. A rebel flaunts traditions simply because they are traditions.

People who view Jesus as this sort of rebel emphasize that he publicly broke Sabbath traditions and consorted with outsiders such as tax collectors and prostitutes. But does this sort of rebel image really fit Jesus? As I read the Gospels, it seems clear to me that Jesus was not opposed to all authority or all tradition. Rather, he sought to overthrow one sort of authority and replace it with another. Read the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7) carefully - Jesus rejects the authority of the scribes and Pharisees, but he replaces it with his own authority and the authority of the Torah. Jesus was not opposed to all traditions, but only to those traditions that prevented genuine obedience to the even older tradition of the Law.

Why does this matter? Because it seems to me that a certain class of Christian routinely skewers authority and traditions and uses the excuse that Jesus was a rebel. Before we begin to flaunt Christian traditions by swearing or smoking pot (for example), we need to ask if that sort of rebellion is really anything like what Jesus did. Jesus broke bad rules and replaced them with "greater righteousness" based on love for God and neighbor.