Monday, February 1, 2010

Configuring Scripture, Criterion #1

1. The Criterion of Jesus Christ
While any faithful interpretation must take into account the whole witness of scripture, Old Testament and New Testament, Jesus Christ is the center and measure of all things including the rest of Scripture (Hebrews 1:1-2). Here it is important to insist that the Jesus who is the measure is the Jesus of the Gospels (all four), not the reconstituted Jesus of any contemporary scholar or group of scholars. And not only the gospels. The criterion of Jesus Christ includes the Christological passages of the rest of the New Testament, e.g., Philippians 2, Colossians 1, and Revelation 5. Any faithful configuration will have at its center, the recognition of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the climactic revelation of God's character and purpose.

An example (a relatively non-controversial one): In the Gospels, Jesus welcomes and blesses the children. In 1 Kings, Elisha calls down two she-bears to maul the children who call him “Ol' Baldy." Which story shines brighter with the Spirit of Jesus the Christ? The latter story must be interpreted in light of the former.

Still, those parts that we think shine less brightly with the Spirit of Jesus remain and there is always the possibility that that Spirit might surprise us in the shadows.

Criterion 2. Love

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