From Around the Web 04-03-12
Well, having recently expressed the traditional view that Jesus cry “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” on the cross was a cry of abandonment, I ought to mention Matt O’Reilly’s recent essay that questions this view. It is here: Cry of Abandonment or Prayer of Faith? Reconsidering Jesus' Final Words From the Cross. Matt reminds us that these words quote the opening lines of Psalm 22. He writes:
It very well may be the case that Matthew quotes only the first verse of the psalm as an indication to the reader that Jesus was praying the whole psalm. If so, then this cry is not one of dereliction. Instead, it is a prayer of faith on the part of Jesus that at the moment of his greatest suffering the Father is present with him, hears him, and will ultimately vindicate him. The Father does not abandon the Son; the Father loves the Son and is pleased with the Son. The Father does not turn his back, Instead, he is continually present accepting the sacrifice of his Beloved for the sake of the world.
Matt also points out what he sees as the theological advantages of that view. See what you think.
Kevin Watson points out the differences between the Covenant Discipleship Group as presently understood, and the historical Wesleyan Class meeting here: The Class Meeting and Covenant Discipleship. Basically, he feels that the Covenant Discipleship Group is too complicated, and that the Class Meeting can be picked up again where it left off. The important thing is for Christians to begin meeting together for mutual support & spiritual growth.
Ed Cyzewski (a very fine writer) posts about the importance of the early hours of the morning here: Starting. He writes:
The sooner we root ourselves and our days in the presence and peace of God, the better.The longer we allow ourselves to veer off course during the day, the harder it will be find our way back on track. There’s a very good reason why Christian monastic communities begin each day with prayer: what they call the morning office.Cultivating prayer early in the morning provides us a tool for counteracting anything that sets itself up against what God wants to do in us.
I have just recently become very impressed with the writings of Amy-Jill Levine. She is an orthodox Jew who studies and teaches about the New Testament. Her writings provide an interesting outsider’s angle on the material us Christians have often regarded as our own. Her writings are very helpful also on the issues of Jewish-Christian relations and dialogue. If you have not read anything written by her, here is a good place to start: an essay at the Biblical Archaeological Review introducing Jews (especially — and Christians, as well) to the content of the New Testament: What Jews (and Christians too) Should Know About the New Testament. It is, after all, a Jewish book. She writes:
Most Jewish readers approach the New Testament, if they approach it at all, with at best a certain unfamiliarity. This is unfortunate, for much if not all of the New Testament is Jewish literature. Jesus himself was a Jew; he is, in terms of dates of documents, the first person in history to be called “Rabbi” (John 1:38, 49, 3:2, 6:25). Paul is a Jew; he describes himself as “circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee” (Philippians 3:5). Indeed, Paul is the only undisputed first-century Pharisee from whom we have written records (a case can also be made for Josephus). Most Biblical scholars think that the authors of the Gospels of Matthew and John were Jews. (The earliest manuscripts as well as references to them do not attach the names “Matthew” and “John”; the original Gospel texts were anonymous.) The author of the Book of Revelation (the Apocalypse of John) thinks in Jewish terms, as does the author of the Epistle of James.
Old Testament scholar John Hobbins ventures the opinion that The Bible is an anti-libertarian document. He writes:
The Bible clashes with a libertarian point of view. The Bible is a conglomerate of texts assembled at the intersection of ancient polities, movements, institutions, and traditions. It is full of liberty-restricting provisions and considerations in the service of the long-term viability of said polities and traditions. The Bible simply is an illiberal book.
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