Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Ten Ideas that are Changing the World

A recent Time cover article sports 10 ideas that are changing the world. I was pleasantly surprised at the singularity of each item, having expected to see the usual suspects; think green, socialism, the global market, etc. I was most intrigued with idea #1o: "Re-Judaizing Jesus." How did this ides blip across Time's radar?

The article, objectively well written and intelligent, states:
Ben Witherington is a Methodist New Testament scholar, and Rob Bell a rising Michigan megapastor. Yet each regards sources like the Mishnah and Rabbi Akiva as vital to understanding history's best-known Jew: Jesus.
This is seismic. For centuries, the discipline of Christian "Hebraics" consisted primarily of Christians cherry-picking Jewish texts to support the traditionally assumed contradiction between the Jews — whose alleged dry legalism contributed to their fumbling their ancient tribal covenant with God — and Jesus, who personally embodied God's new covenant of love. But today seminaries across the Christian spectrum teach, as Vanderbilt University New Testament scholar Amy-Jill Levine says, that "if you get the [Jewish] context wrong, you will certainly get Jesus wrong."
Personally, I do not view this as opinion, or even idea; rather as unassailable historical fact--a blatantly obvious fact. The story depicted in Luke 2:49 does not place Jesus as having been left behind in a cathedral or seeker sensitive mega church, but in his Father's house (1 Chrn 17:5ff), the temple. The apostle would not have considered themselves Christians (although they did accept the label--Acts 11:26), they considered themselves Jews who had seen and embraced the Messiah.

Americanizing Jesus just doesn't work. Modernizing him is futile. Recently I was asked, in reference to the up and coming election, "how do you think Jesus would have voted?" Sighhhhhh. Besides the fact that Jesus, devoid of citizenship would not have voted, this is like me attempting to decipher whether Abraham Lincoln would have been a better president had he been given the opportunity to sleep on a waterbed rather than a corncob mattress; it is irrelevant and indiscernible.

Anyhow, the entire story is worth reading and can be found here.


Anonymous said...

Excellent post. The last little metaphor is a line (about Lincoln) is priceless. Now I'm off to read the article . . .

jason said...

Interesting! Teaching how Christ is relevant as opposed to "making" him relevant is such a dangerous line and often crossed line.

I'll also give it a read.

Danny said...

Interesting post. I have been working a lot over at my blog to discuss how Christians should think about the upcoming elections too. I agree that Jesus is too often brought into a context that is foreign to him and used incorrectly.

nate said...

Thanks for the comments all! I am glad everyone found the article as interesting as I did.

I like that thought jason...christ is already relevant!

nate said...

what is your blog? Please let me know so I can check it out and subscribe!

Brad Ruggles said...

Very interesting article. Thanks for passing it on.