Forgive us our debts

University of Chicago theologian Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite says that when Jesus told us to pray (in some translations) “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors,” he was calling for the forgiveness of economic debts.  She also says how Occupy Wall Street is “operationalizing” Jesus’s economic teachings:

The folks who brought you Occupy Wall Street have launched what they call “Rolling Jubilee.” By donating to Rolling Jubilee, individuals can give money to buy up distressed consumer debt that is normally sold to debt collectors for pennies on the dollar. But instead of acting like debt collectors, hounding folks for the full payment, you are giving to cancel the debt, that is, forgive it.

What Jesus taught as a prayer about forgiving debt (Matthew 6:12) has just been operationalized by Occupy.

Through prayer and deed, Jesus pursued an economic plan called the “Jubilee,” as I write in ‘#OccupytheBible: What Jesus Really Said (and Did) About Money and Power,’ my new book on how what Jesus really said about money, and what he did about economic issues in his own time that is just now launching as an e-book, and then in print.

It is critical that American Christians learn that Jesus really meant it when he asked us to pray, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” Conservative Christians would like you to forget that Jesus really meant debt forgiveness. The Religious Right would like you to focus only on specific, individual “sins” like homosexuality (something that Jesus actually never mentions), and ignore that Jesus was really concerned about structured economic inequality in his own time. To Jesus, systemic economic inequality was the “Kingdom of Caesar,” not the “Kingdom of God.”

Jesus starts his ministry (Luke 4:16-19) by standing up in the synagogue and reading from one of the key texts of his Hebrew scriptures on the biblical “Jubilee.” The biblical “Jubilee” is a time of debt forgiveness.

Rolling Jubilee is exactly what Jesus was talking about and doing something about throughout his whole ministry.

According to the Jewish tradition in which Jesus stands, and from which he preached, the Jubilee is a special year of “liberty” where every 50 years there was a kind of “reboot” of Jewish economics and social relations. As described in Leviticus, “And you shall hallow the fiftieth year and you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; you shall return every one of you to your property and every one of you to your family” (25:10). This 50th-year (or 49th-year) Jubilee followed seven “sabbatical cycles” where every seven years male slaves were released without debt, and land was allowed to lie fallow.

But that was millennia ago, some will say. How could the biblical Jubilee possibly be an economic plan in today’s economy, one that is far more complicated than in the first century CE?

It has never been more important to raise the issue of debt forgiveness and do something about it in concrete ways than it is in 21st century America.

via Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite: ‘Forgive Us Our Debts’: Occupy Operationalizes the Lord’s Prayer on Debt.

This reminds me of a preacher I heard, back in my pre-Lutheran days when I belonged to a liberal denomination, who taught that because Jesus proclaimed “release to the captives,” we need to empty our prisons by letting all of the inmates go free, a gesture of grace that would surely reform them all.

What do you think of Dr. Thistlewhite’s exegesis?  If you disagree, how would you answer her?   OR, does she have a valid point somewhere in her teaching?  What is the principle behind the Jubilee year?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Pete

    Nah. Consider the first beatitude: “…poor in spirit.” First off, they (well, we, when you come right down to it) are poor in spirit, not in bank account. Theirs (ours) is the kingdom of Heaven which has, as best I can tell, nothing to do with money or the lack thereof. Consider Jesus telling God, in the Lord’s prayer, to forgive us our debts. I’m pretty sure I don’t owe God money – I owe Him righteousness (of which, sad to say, I have none.) Jesus then paid my debt on the cross. But I still have to pay my phone bill – He didn’t pay that one. The debt He paid was of a very different and ultimately very much more important category.

  • Pete

    Nah. Consider the first beatitude: “…poor in spirit.” First off, they (well, we, when you come right down to it) are poor in spirit, not in bank account. Theirs (ours) is the kingdom of Heaven which has, as best I can tell, nothing to do with money or the lack thereof. Consider Jesus telling God, in the Lord’s prayer, to forgive us our debts. I’m pretty sure I don’t owe God money – I owe Him righteousness (of which, sad to say, I have none.) Jesus then paid my debt on the cross. But I still have to pay my phone bill – He didn’t pay that one. The debt He paid was of a very different and ultimately very much more important category.

  • James Sarver

    Dr. Thistlewhite’s exegesis manages to miss the entire point of the Levitical system, which was set in place to keep God’s people mindful of their sinful condition and point them to the promise of the Messiah (who incidently would bring the cancellation of their debt due to sin).

    That shouldn’t be surprising though, since Israel really didn’t get it either. I wonder if she is willing to implement the rest of the Levitical system in her new social order or if she just gets to pick the pieces she likes. Maybe just the pieces Jesus mentioned. Or maybe just invent a social order and use snippets of Scripture to support it.

  • James Sarver

    Dr. Thistlewhite’s exegesis manages to miss the entire point of the Levitical system, which was set in place to keep God’s people mindful of their sinful condition and point them to the promise of the Messiah (who incidently would bring the cancellation of their debt due to sin).

    That shouldn’t be surprising though, since Israel really didn’t get it either. I wonder if she is willing to implement the rest of the Levitical system in her new social order or if she just gets to pick the pieces she likes. Maybe just the pieces Jesus mentioned. Or maybe just invent a social order and use snippets of Scripture to support it.

  • Orianna Laun

    The irony of the Year of Jubilee is that there is no evidence that the people of Israel ever observed it. They were commanded to, but there is no evidence they did.
    As for Jesus not mentioning homosexuality, yes, He did. Right there where he defines marriage as a man leaving his parents and clinging to his wife. You know, right after He says divorce is not the way God intended.

  • Orianna Laun

    The irony of the Year of Jubilee is that there is no evidence that the people of Israel ever observed it. They were commanded to, but there is no evidence they did.
    As for Jesus not mentioning homosexuality, yes, He did. Right there where he defines marriage as a man leaving his parents and clinging to his wife. You know, right after He says divorce is not the way God intended.

  • Tom Hering

    Whatever. Rolling Jubilee is a good work.

  • Tom Hering

    Whatever. Rolling Jubilee is a good work.

  • http://www.christlutheran.net Jeff Samelson

    The answer to this “exegesis” is really rather simple: consult the parallel passage in Luke 11:1-4 and see how the Lord’s Prayer is worded there.

    And Luke 11:4 uses the specific word “sins” (ἁμαρτίας hamartias), not “debts”, thus making clear that the context here is spiritual, not financial; the language is that of offense, not economy.

  • http://www.christlutheran.net Jeff Samelson

    The answer to this “exegesis” is really rather simple: consult the parallel passage in Luke 11:1-4 and see how the Lord’s Prayer is worded there.

    And Luke 11:4 uses the specific word “sins” (ἁμαρτίας hamartias), not “debts”, thus making clear that the context here is spiritual, not financial; the language is that of offense, not economy.

  • http://homewardbound-cb.blogspot.com ChrisB

    The answer to her exegesis is to actually do some. The Jubilee didn’t forgive all debt; it forgave very specific kinds of debts. (More here.)

    If all debts are forgiven, all the money she has in a savings account is now interest free (if it is still in the account; if it’s not, it’s gone) and all the bond funds in her 401(k) are now worthless. Of course, she doesn’t want money people owe her to be forgiven, but that’s the point — they never think these things through.

  • http://homewardbound-cb.blogspot.com ChrisB

    The answer to her exegesis is to actually do some. The Jubilee didn’t forgive all debt; it forgave very specific kinds of debts. (More here.)

    If all debts are forgiven, all the money she has in a savings account is now interest free (if it is still in the account; if it’s not, it’s gone) and all the bond funds in her 401(k) are now worthless. Of course, she doesn’t want money people owe her to be forgiven, but that’s the point — they never think these things through.

  • SKPeterson

    This is not exegesis but eisegesis.

    Another section of the NT to consider: The Parable of the Talents. The third servant is condemned for not even placing his money with the bankers to earn interest. The other two are commended for engaging in the market, buying and selling, trucking and bartering. Further, Jesus commends economic analysis and planning when he asks, “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, `This man began to build, and was not able to finish.’”

    What is telling from the rest of the post and the comments that follow that Thistlewaite and Occupy are advocating another works righteousness version of Christian morality that isn’t even new – it’s just Social Gospel 2.0. Trite, boring, empty and failed.

  • SKPeterson

    This is not exegesis but eisegesis.

    Another section of the NT to consider: The Parable of the Talents. The third servant is condemned for not even placing his money with the bankers to earn interest. The other two are commended for engaging in the market, buying and selling, trucking and bartering. Further, Jesus commends economic analysis and planning when he asks, “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, `This man began to build, and was not able to finish.’”

    What is telling from the rest of the post and the comments that follow that Thistlewaite and Occupy are advocating another works righteousness version of Christian morality that isn’t even new – it’s just Social Gospel 2.0. Trite, boring, empty and failed.

  • Jon

    The Religious Right would like you to focus only on specific, individual “sins” like homosexuality (something that Jesus actually never mentions), and ignore that Jesus was really concerned about structured economic inequality in his own time.

    You can tell a lot about her theology when she has to put quotes around sin.

    She should join forces with that other brilliant exegete, Joel Osteen. Her debt forgiveness plan would be such a compliment to Osteen’s prosperity gospel.

    When the prosperity fails, then you can fall back on the debt forgiveness.

  • Jon

    The Religious Right would like you to focus only on specific, individual “sins” like homosexuality (something that Jesus actually never mentions), and ignore that Jesus was really concerned about structured economic inequality in his own time.

    You can tell a lot about her theology when she has to put quotes around sin.

    She should join forces with that other brilliant exegete, Joel Osteen. Her debt forgiveness plan would be such a compliment to Osteen’s prosperity gospel.

    When the prosperity fails, then you can fall back on the debt forgiveness.

  • Tom Hering

    … Thistlewaite and Occupy are advocating another works righteousness version of Christian morality … (@ 7)

    Where are they saying this will save your soul?

  • Tom Hering

    … Thistlewaite and Occupy are advocating another works righteousness version of Christian morality … (@ 7)

    Where are they saying this will save your soul?

  • Steve Billingsley

    I think the biblical exegesis is a bit lacking in Thistlewaite’s argument. But I agree with Tom @ 4 here. This is actually good work. I don’t know how it necessarily fits into a broader economic scheme, but on it’s face, people are being helped.

    Nothing wrong with that.

  • Steve Billingsley

    I think the biblical exegesis is a bit lacking in Thistlewaite’s argument. But I agree with Tom @ 4 here. This is actually good work. I don’t know how it necessarily fits into a broader economic scheme, but on it’s face, people are being helped.

    Nothing wrong with that.

  • Steve Bauer

    It is amazing how so many can dispose of such a profound theological issue in such a cursory way. Regardless of the type or extent of debt the Jubilee year was meant to erase, the basic idea was to release people from bondage (which happened, more often than not, in that economy, when people had to sell themselves into slavary in order to pay off debt). The case can be made, I think, that in our economic system, we have gotten rid of involuntary servitude but in its place have raised up a voluntary servitude (that in many ways and degrees is not as “voluntary” as we Americans delude ourselves to think it is) to banks, corporations, employers, etc. that is just as dehumanizing as slavery is.
    Be that as it may, if you want to talk exegesis, this is a classic case of using the Biible to present your argument (whether you are Thistlethwaite or someone who denies her point) as an “either/or” proposition when Scripture is talking about a “both/and” situation. In Matthew’s version of the sermon on the Mount, Jesus says “Blessed are the poor in spirit…” in Luke’s version He says, “Blessed are the poor…” Which is it? It’s both/and. Concerning the righteousness of faith, Jesus is talking about forgiveness. Concerning the righteousness of the law, Jesus is talking about loving our neighbor. If we are to give our coat as well to the enemy who demands our cloak, what should our response be to the one enslaved by debt (regardless of who he or she got that way–there is usually a whole spectrum of causes, some the debtors fault, some not). I think Luther was getting at this in the explanation to the seventh commandment. Not only are we not to take our neighbor’s money or goods but we are to “help him to improve and protect his property and business”.
    I’m not arguing for a law that forces institutions or individuals to forgive the debts of others. But if people willingly give of their property to freely pay off the debts of those less well off, I think they are fulfilling the law of God, which is better than not fulfilling it, even though it doesn’t earn them a way into heaven. And if unbelievers are more willing to do this than believers, then I think we have to go back and reread the letter of James.

  • Steve Bauer

    It is amazing how so many can dispose of such a profound theological issue in such a cursory way. Regardless of the type or extent of debt the Jubilee year was meant to erase, the basic idea was to release people from bondage (which happened, more often than not, in that economy, when people had to sell themselves into slavary in order to pay off debt). The case can be made, I think, that in our economic system, we have gotten rid of involuntary servitude but in its place have raised up a voluntary servitude (that in many ways and degrees is not as “voluntary” as we Americans delude ourselves to think it is) to banks, corporations, employers, etc. that is just as dehumanizing as slavery is.
    Be that as it may, if you want to talk exegesis, this is a classic case of using the Biible to present your argument (whether you are Thistlethwaite or someone who denies her point) as an “either/or” proposition when Scripture is talking about a “both/and” situation. In Matthew’s version of the sermon on the Mount, Jesus says “Blessed are the poor in spirit…” in Luke’s version He says, “Blessed are the poor…” Which is it? It’s both/and. Concerning the righteousness of faith, Jesus is talking about forgiveness. Concerning the righteousness of the law, Jesus is talking about loving our neighbor. If we are to give our coat as well to the enemy who demands our cloak, what should our response be to the one enslaved by debt (regardless of who he or she got that way–there is usually a whole spectrum of causes, some the debtors fault, some not). I think Luther was getting at this in the explanation to the seventh commandment. Not only are we not to take our neighbor’s money or goods but we are to “help him to improve and protect his property and business”.
    I’m not arguing for a law that forces institutions or individuals to forgive the debts of others. But if people willingly give of their property to freely pay off the debts of those less well off, I think they are fulfilling the law of God, which is better than not fulfilling it, even though it doesn’t earn them a way into heaven. And if unbelievers are more willing to do this than believers, then I think we have to go back and reread the letter of James.

  • SKPeterson

    Tom @ 9 – They (Thistlewaite and commenters at HuffPo) are expressly noting that this is the central and defining message of Christianity. Call my use of “works righteousness” into question, but they are expressly advocating replacing Christ’s work with works, in which the central message of Jesus is not the salvation of the sinner, but in living a proper moral life as defined by the OWS agenda. They are just advocating a moralism of the Left in contrast to the moralism of the Right.

  • SKPeterson

    Tom @ 9 – They (Thistlewaite and commenters at HuffPo) are expressly noting that this is the central and defining message of Christianity. Call my use of “works righteousness” into question, but they are expressly advocating replacing Christ’s work with works, in which the central message of Jesus is not the salvation of the sinner, but in living a proper moral life as defined by the OWS agenda. They are just advocating a moralism of the Left in contrast to the moralism of the Right.

  • helen

    We paid off the debts of a lot of obscenely rich people and even gave them bonuses for managing their business that badly (“because they had contracts”).
    Interesting to see so much discussion about forgiving debts now.

    Of course, in the first instances, if they’d asked us we might not have bailed out the rich… or we’d have required the perpetrators to share the pain, which they have escaped.

    If asked, I would help [have helped] people with medical debt. But people who bought houses they couldn’t afford, with no money down, just paid “rent” for as long as they could hang on to them. They had no skin in the game and nobody owes them a free ride.

  • helen

    We paid off the debts of a lot of obscenely rich people and even gave them bonuses for managing their business that badly (“because they had contracts”).
    Interesting to see so much discussion about forgiving debts now.

    Of course, in the first instances, if they’d asked us we might not have bailed out the rich… or we’d have required the perpetrators to share the pain, which they have escaped.

    If asked, I would help [have helped] people with medical debt. But people who bought houses they couldn’t afford, with no money down, just paid “rent” for as long as they could hang on to them. They had no skin in the game and nobody owes them a free ride.

  • DonS

    The theology is horrific. And the expressed motivation, to show up their political opposition, is less than wholesome. But, the work itself, buying up distressed debt using private funds, and then forgiving that debt, is certainly worthy.

    Steve Bauer @ 11: You say “And if unbelievers are more willing to do this than believers, then I think we have to go back and reread the letter of James.” Are you making an accusation? Or merely stating a hypothetical? This particular scheme is new, to my knowledge, but plenty of believers do plenty to alleviate poverty and suffering. There’s nothing inherently more scriptural or better about this particular approach. It seems pretty random, actually, in how it administers aid. And, obviously, it is being done with political overtones, which greatly reduces its earthly righteousness in my view.

  • DonS

    The theology is horrific. And the expressed motivation, to show up their political opposition, is less than wholesome. But, the work itself, buying up distressed debt using private funds, and then forgiving that debt, is certainly worthy.

    Steve Bauer @ 11: You say “And if unbelievers are more willing to do this than believers, then I think we have to go back and reread the letter of James.” Are you making an accusation? Or merely stating a hypothetical? This particular scheme is new, to my knowledge, but plenty of believers do plenty to alleviate poverty and suffering. There’s nothing inherently more scriptural or better about this particular approach. It seems pretty random, actually, in how it administers aid. And, obviously, it is being done with political overtones, which greatly reduces its earthly righteousness in my view.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    My take is that responsible scholars have always viewed the “debt” of the Lord’s Prayer as primarily a criminal matter in ancient Rome, not a civil law matter.

    I’d be game, though, for restricting the rules of debt quite a bit to reduce its role in our society. Let’s keep in mind that the year of Jubilee was something that Israel was aware of BEFORE they went into Canaan–Moses was not rewriting their 30 year mortgages or anything there.

    Or, like Don says, horrific, appalling lack of theology on the good professor’s part.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    My take is that responsible scholars have always viewed the “debt” of the Lord’s Prayer as primarily a criminal matter in ancient Rome, not a civil law matter.

    I’d be game, though, for restricting the rules of debt quite a bit to reduce its role in our society. Let’s keep in mind that the year of Jubilee was something that Israel was aware of BEFORE they went into Canaan–Moses was not rewriting their 30 year mortgages or anything there.

    Or, like Don says, horrific, appalling lack of theology on the good professor’s part.

  • Steve Bauer

    I’m basically stating a hypothetical although some of the earlier responses to this post seemed to me to summarily dismiss even the notion that Jesus or the OT Jubilee had anything to do with the physical situation of our neighbor. Moreover, the question of why Occupy Wallstreet has come up with this idea (at least at this scale)before the churches is an interesting one.

  • Steve Bauer

    I’m basically stating a hypothetical although some of the earlier responses to this post seemed to me to summarily dismiss even the notion that Jesus or the OT Jubilee had anything to do with the physical situation of our neighbor. Moreover, the question of why Occupy Wallstreet has come up with this idea (at least at this scale)before the churches is an interesting one.

  • DonS

    Steve @ 16: Hmm. Are you sure they have? Most Christians I know do their ministry in private, not seeking publicity or political points. Maybe it’s just that Occupy Wallstreet chose to publicize their actions for other purposes.

  • DonS

    Steve @ 16: Hmm. Are you sure they have? Most Christians I know do their ministry in private, not seeking publicity or political points. Maybe it’s just that Occupy Wallstreet chose to publicize their actions for other purposes.

  • JonSLC

    There is much that could be said from Scripture about usury and economic exploitation. Amos, for example, hits hard. There’s also much that could be said about Christians, some of whom are zealous capitalists, having a blind spot when it comes to things like debt forgiveness. My problem is that Thistlethwaite is not making those cases based on Scriptural exegesis.

    I think we should avoid both extremes. We Christians should not ignore the opportunities to show love by forgiving debts. Nor should we let debt forgiveness displace Christ’s redemptive work as the soul of Christianity.

  • JonSLC

    There is much that could be said from Scripture about usury and economic exploitation. Amos, for example, hits hard. There’s also much that could be said about Christians, some of whom are zealous capitalists, having a blind spot when it comes to things like debt forgiveness. My problem is that Thistlethwaite is not making those cases based on Scriptural exegesis.

    I think we should avoid both extremes. We Christians should not ignore the opportunities to show love by forgiving debts. Nor should we let debt forgiveness displace Christ’s redemptive work as the soul of Christianity.

  • David M.

    Terrible exegesis. Fairly good idea. Helping people who are struggling with debt is a good thing, and the best idea I’ve heard from the whiny “Occupy movement”. I think it is done MUCH better at the local (congregational) level, instead of a national “organization”. They say on their website, “Together we can liberate debtors at random”. It would bring people together if it was the community around these people who were helping them. If I were to receive help, I would want to thank the people who helped me.

  • David M.

    Terrible exegesis. Fairly good idea. Helping people who are struggling with debt is a good thing, and the best idea I’ve heard from the whiny “Occupy movement”. I think it is done MUCH better at the local (congregational) level, instead of a national “organization”. They say on their website, “Together we can liberate debtors at random”. It would bring people together if it was the community around these people who were helping them. If I were to receive help, I would want to thank the people who helped me.

  • brianh

    Haranging sinners to be perfectly and totally unselfish is a cruel use of the first use of the law.

  • brianh

    Haranging sinners to be perfectly and totally unselfish is a cruel use of the first use of the law.

  • Wayne A.

    I say, how dare she force her morality on me!

  • Wayne A.

    I say, how dare she force her morality on me!

  • PinonCoffee

    Under current law, you can declare a chapter 7 bankruptcy once every eight years. That’s a lot like a year of Jubilee. Of course, certain types of debt aren’t dischargeable (including student loans, for political reasons? I think?), but declaring bankruptcy is a lot better than selling your kids into slavery.

  • PinonCoffee

    Under current law, you can declare a chapter 7 bankruptcy once every eight years. That’s a lot like a year of Jubilee. Of course, certain types of debt aren’t dischargeable (including student loans, for political reasons? I think?), but declaring bankruptcy is a lot better than selling your kids into slavery.

  • Jim Hamilton

    This woman’s analysis is so absurd that it doesn’t deserve a serious response. She’s just a liberal who wants to use religion to achieve her secular political and economic objectives. She’s not a Christian. I hope she comes to repentance and true faith.

    By the way, people accrue debt by borrowing money. So far as I know, people are not forced to borrow money in our society. If people don’t like owing money, they shouldn’t have borrowed it in the first place. Lenders are not evil. They provide a service and shouldn’t be stiffed because fulfilling one’s obligations is boring and hard.

  • Jim Hamilton

    This woman’s analysis is so absurd that it doesn’t deserve a serious response. She’s just a liberal who wants to use religion to achieve her secular political and economic objectives. She’s not a Christian. I hope she comes to repentance and true faith.

    By the way, people accrue debt by borrowing money. So far as I know, people are not forced to borrow money in our society. If people don’t like owing money, they shouldn’t have borrowed it in the first place. Lenders are not evil. They provide a service and shouldn’t be stiffed because fulfilling one’s obligations is boring and hard.

  • Grace

    Dr. Veith writes:

          “This reminds me of a preacher I heard, back in my pre-Lutheran days when I belonged to a liberal denomination, who taught that because Jesus proclaimed “release to the captives,” we need to empty our prisons by letting all of the inmates go free, a gesture of grace that would surely reform them all.

    What do you think of Dr. Thistlewhite’s exegesis? If you disagree, how would you answer her? OR, does she have a valid point somewhere in her teaching? What is the principle behind the Jubilee year?

    First of all Ms. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite considers herself a pastor/Rev. or whatever she’s chosen. The Bible is clear that ONLY males are pastors, not women. She obviously missed that part.

    Second, she represents the United Church of Christ, and just what does that mean today?

    Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite
    “Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite is a Senior Fellow at American Progress. She is also Professor of Theology at Chicago Theological Seminary and its former president between 1998 and 2008. An ordained minister of the United Church of Christ since 1974, she is the author and/or editor of numerous books, and has worked on two different translations of the bible. Thistlethwaite is currently working in a new area she calls “Public Theology” and a new book on human nature and public policy. She writes a weekly column for the Washington Post “On Faith” online section and is a frequent media commentator on religion and public events.”

    http://www.americanprogress.org/about/staff/thistlethwaite-susan-brooks/bio/

  • Grace

    Dr. Veith writes:

          “This reminds me of a preacher I heard, back in my pre-Lutheran days when I belonged to a liberal denomination, who taught that because Jesus proclaimed “release to the captives,” we need to empty our prisons by letting all of the inmates go free, a gesture of grace that would surely reform them all.

    What do you think of Dr. Thistlewhite’s exegesis? If you disagree, how would you answer her? OR, does she have a valid point somewhere in her teaching? What is the principle behind the Jubilee year?

    First of all Ms. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite considers herself a pastor/Rev. or whatever she’s chosen. The Bible is clear that ONLY males are pastors, not women. She obviously missed that part.

    Second, she represents the United Church of Christ, and just what does that mean today?

    Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite
    “Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite is a Senior Fellow at American Progress. She is also Professor of Theology at Chicago Theological Seminary and its former president between 1998 and 2008. An ordained minister of the United Church of Christ since 1974, she is the author and/or editor of numerous books, and has worked on two different translations of the bible. Thistlethwaite is currently working in a new area she calls “Public Theology” and a new book on human nature and public policy. She writes a weekly column for the Washington Post “On Faith” online section and is a frequent media commentator on religion and public events.”

    http://www.americanprogress.org/about/staff/thistlethwaite-susan-brooks/bio/

  • Grace

    Steve Bauer @ 11

    You appear to be inthralled by what this lady, Ms. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite has to say.

    What Steve, do say regarding her being a pastor, or have you and the Church of Christ done away with only males as pastors?

  • Grace

    Steve Bauer @ 11

    You appear to be inthralled by what this lady, Ms. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite has to say.

    What Steve, do say regarding her being a pastor, or have you and the Church of Christ done away with only males as pastors?

  • Grace

    Steve Bauer @ 11

    YOU STATED: ” Regardless of the type or extent of debt the Jubilee year was meant to erase, the basic idea was to release people from bondage (which happened, more often than not, in that economy, when people had to sell themselves into slavary in order to pay off debt).”

    You need to stop right there Steve. The reason being, this law for for Israel, it does not apply to us today.

    When is the next Jubilee year?
    By Baruch S. Davidson
    “In short, the answer to your question is that the Jubilee year is currently not observed or commemorated. The reasons for this are complex and involve many different opinions on the matter. In the following lines I will attempt to briefly relay the relevant issues.

    According to biblical law, the Jubilee is only observed when all twelve tribes of the Jewish nation are living in Israel, as is derived from the verse,1 “And you shall sanctify the fiftieth year, and proclaim freedom throughout the land for all who live on it,” which implies that the Jubilee is only sanctified when “all who live on it”—meaning, all who are meant to be living there—are in the Land of Israel. Furthermore, the Jubilee is only observed when every tribe is living in the specific part of the land which was it was allotted when the Land of Israel was divided. However, some are of the opinion that the Jubilee is observed as long as there is a partial representation of each tribe, even if most of the tribe is not in Israel.

    In the 6th century BCE, the Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel and sent the majority of its population into exile. Those who were deported are historically known as the Ten Lost Tribes.

    We are certain that before that point in time the Jubilee was regularly observed. We also know that, with the destruction of the Second Temple and the disbandment of the Sanhedrin (supreme rabbinical court), we ceased to mark the Jubilee year in any form. The periods about which there is a question are the remaining years between the exile of the Ten Tribes and the destruction of the First Temple, and the Second Temple Era.

    http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/513212/jewish/When-is-the-next-Jubilee-year.htm

  • Grace

    Steve Bauer @ 11

    YOU STATED: ” Regardless of the type or extent of debt the Jubilee year was meant to erase, the basic idea was to release people from bondage (which happened, more often than not, in that economy, when people had to sell themselves into slavary in order to pay off debt).”

    You need to stop right there Steve. The reason being, this law for for Israel, it does not apply to us today.

    When is the next Jubilee year?
    By Baruch S. Davidson
    “In short, the answer to your question is that the Jubilee year is currently not observed or commemorated. The reasons for this are complex and involve many different opinions on the matter. In the following lines I will attempt to briefly relay the relevant issues.

    According to biblical law, the Jubilee is only observed when all twelve tribes of the Jewish nation are living in Israel, as is derived from the verse,1 “And you shall sanctify the fiftieth year, and proclaim freedom throughout the land for all who live on it,” which implies that the Jubilee is only sanctified when “all who live on it”—meaning, all who are meant to be living there—are in the Land of Israel. Furthermore, the Jubilee is only observed when every tribe is living in the specific part of the land which was it was allotted when the Land of Israel was divided. However, some are of the opinion that the Jubilee is observed as long as there is a partial representation of each tribe, even if most of the tribe is not in Israel.

    In the 6th century BCE, the Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel and sent the majority of its population into exile. Those who were deported are historically known as the Ten Lost Tribes.

    We are certain that before that point in time the Jubilee was regularly observed. We also know that, with the destruction of the Second Temple and the disbandment of the Sanhedrin (supreme rabbinical court), we ceased to mark the Jubilee year in any form. The periods about which there is a question are the remaining years between the exile of the Ten Tribes and the destruction of the First Temple, and the Second Temple Era.

    http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/513212/jewish/When-is-the-next-Jubilee-year.htm


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X