Thursday, July 05, 2007

Naughty Sermon

That got your attention, didn't it. No, I didn't swear, endorse smoking Marlboro in a Job Centre or even raise the question of the legitimacy of Gene Robinson's consecration. I have received some correspondence about my Sunday sermon from one of the more conservative members of the congregation where I preached on Sunday night.

I have been asked to introduce the New Testament over two weeks as part of a series we are doing as a lightning tour of the Bible. To get people to think, I opened up some of the issues of the "Synoptic problem" - the fact that we have three similar, but not identical, accounts of the life of Jesus. My thrust was that we can't deny the variations, so we need to look at the texts as sermons - proclamation - which is sensitive to, and tailored for a particular audience. This can actually open up insights about who Jesus is, and what his life means.

It was a bit tricky, but with a handout and a bit of multi-media, I'm told I kept it reasonably interesting, and there was a lot of positive feedback from people who actually want to think. Inevitably, some people were probably a little more rattled, including my correspondent. However, I stick by the case I put (drawing heavily on Prof Jimmy Dunn's Evidence for Jesus, an easy and accessible introduction, now out of print).

Update: US edition is available new at the link above, and here

We need to rescue Scripture from fundamentalists and destructive sceptics, and the only way that can happen is by engaging with the text properly, rather than denying the issues. Otherwise we end up arguing the equivalent of 1 + 1 = 3.
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Matthew McMurray said...

Good move Mike! So what was the gist of what your correspondence said?

imagine a new world said...

Can I be a destructive sceptic and ask how you would solve the issue of the massive differences in the accounts of the resurection across all three synoptic gospels and the fourth non-synoptic gospel?

Matthew McMurray said...

I wouldn't call that question destructive! ;)

Mike Peatman said...

Are you guys just hitting refresh all evening?

Gist: No direct attack - just a reminder of 2 Tim 3:16 and an expression of confidence that Paul wrote Hebrews.

Sceptic: Matt, I'll write you an essay sometime, but not tonight.

Mike Peatman said...

Agree with Matthew. Not destructive, just inquiring. I want answers to the same question, although we come with different presuppositions about the answer.