Jesus Crosses the Line

Jesus Crosses the Line May 28, 2016

A while back, Morgan Guyton wrote:

If I am following the lead of Paul the apostle of grace who championed the Gentiles, then I’m going to read the Bible with a slant to justify whichever outsider the insiders are defining themselves against in order to legitimate their privilege and power.

Paul would have miserably failed his Hebrew exegesis class in seminary if he turned in any of his epistles as a term paper. He interpreted the Bible with a heavily biased and wildly opportunistic methodology defined by the agenda of widening the kingdom of God and creating a radically different means of ordering humanity: the body of Christ. To say “for all are one in Christ” does not solely mean that everyone is “equally” forgiven or “equally” important. It doesn’t just mean that Christians vaguely have a sense of belonging to the same club. It means that the Spirit’s ordering of the body of Christ supplants every us/them binary that we try to use to order our communities. The degree to which we cling to those binaries is the degree to which we have prevented the body of Christ from being fully manifested.

Do you agree with his statement that, if exegesis had been taught in Paul’s time the way that it is today, Paul would have failed his class? Why or why not?

More importantly, is it worth failing the class if necessary, to stand on the side of inclusion?

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  • John MacDonald

    Paul’s was clearly willing to do anything to be a Fisher Of Men. Paul wrote that.

    “19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some (1 Corinthians 9:19-22).”

    It is morally incumbent on any religious person to make ethics “first theology,” supplanting even genuine hermeneutics, if they are going to live their lives according to scripture. Otherwise things like homophobia, and even terrorism, are in danger of rearing their ugly heads. Scripture can be prooftexted to justify practically anything.

    • John MacDonald

      For instance, a radicalized Christian could try to justify violence against Muslims by prooftexting passages in the Hebrew scriptures where God ordered genocide against His enemies.

    • charlesburchfield

      if you have walk in someone’s shoes is a kind of proof text to having empathy for anyone. IMHO one must process one’s own pain and this is only possible with the help of the Holy Spirit! my main goal & joy in life now is to be open to the complex gray areas of suffering exclusion and rejection so that I might have a connection to those who are rejected & excluded.

      Hebrews 2 9 through 11
      because He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. 10In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting for God, for whom and through whom all things exist, to make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11For both the One who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are of the same family. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his family.

      • John MacDonald

        I was talking about Paul. Paul didn’t write Hebrews. Paul wore many hats while trying to convert everyone he could.

  • Phil Ledgerwood

    I’m not sure, because I don’t think St. Paul’s epistles were exegesis for the most part. I think he was trying to make sense of the historical fact that Jews, who had the Law and the Promise, were not flocking in droves to follow Jesus, but Gentiles who had no stake in Israel’s God prior were doing just that.