Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Follow up 9/23 Class Session: Matt 3-7, Elevated Righteousness


As we plan to get into Matthew 3 and 4 today, I think you will be amazed at how much "historical world" and "literary world" items you recognize as we read through..

  • Here's a Vander :Laan article on Jesus' baptism.
  • Here's a Vander Laan article on Jesus' wilderness temptation.
  • Here is my list of "shocking" Scriptures: "God's Devil"
  • Here is Henri Nouwen on Jesus' "temptation to be relevant" (Remember that Nouwen equates to  the temptations as the temptation  to be relevant ("Turn these stones to bread."), to be spectacular ("Throw yourself from the temple."), and to be powerful ("I will give you the kingdoms of the world.")

Most people reading Matthew 3:10-12 (especially preconditioned to believe "baptism with fire" is a good thing ..the fire of passionate faith, "on fire for God")..but as you can see, catching the context and CHIASM makes the intended "literary world" meaning  pretty obvious and opposite.

Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  "I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His  winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."

Here below is a chart by Tony Shaw, click here to read his explanation.

A - Trees with fruits saved and trees without fruits thrown into fir  
B - He will   baptize you with    water
B' - He willbaptize with the     Holy Spirit                         and with fire.
A' wheat into barns and chaff he will burn with                      fire.
As we continue to talk about culture, biblical culture(s) and ours:

  • Here is a slidwshow I've added to the wesbite tabs at top (Greek vs. Hebrew thinking)
  • Here is a recent article I wrote summariazing Leonard Sweet's EPIC acrostic
  • Here is the Paul Hiebert "Gospel and Culture survey that our volunteers took in class  Tues. 
  • Here is the slideshow summary of the  Vander Lann video we'll show, "Gates of Hell"  (Jesus and disciples confronting, and being counter-cultural to culture)
  • Here is the slideshow summary of the   Vander Lann video we'll show, "Language of Culture"             (Jesus and discioles finding what is redemptive in culture)
Since we have spent so much time discussing the various "parties" of Jesus day, it is helpful to our discussion of culture to hear how one writer views succinctly characterizes each group's approach to culture:
"Pharisees  separated from culture, Sadducees blended into the culture, Zealots ruled over culture, and the Essenes ignored culture....
The Pharisees were sectarian, developing an unending number of laws to seperate themselves from the common people. The Sadducees were syncretists, compromising their beliefs in order to blend into the culture. The Zealots misused culture as they attempted to usher in God’s kingdom through the use of force. The Essenes ignored culture altogether, retreating from society where they could seek mystical encounters with God in monkish privacy...
And so we see that sectarians love God but fail to love their neighbors, while syncretists love their neighbors but fail to love God."
As we begin our conversation on the  "Elevated Righteousness" section of Matthew (chapters 3-7)..

  (BY THE WAY, be prepared to find the terms "elevation" [see below] and "righteousness" [see glossary of Hauer and Young] on the MidTerm) is my example  of   the U2 song "Elevation,"  which is about a Jewish mode of prayer
which accepts sexuality as a gift of God, but at the same time sees the need to "elevate" it into what Hauer and Young call "higher righteousness."
My comments, and those of the rabbi we quoted in class, are here  This same post includes the "Jesus Loves Righteous People" clip (as it was might by a church called "Elevation Church".

(PS: Don't miss the U2 class Tim Neufeld teaches in the fall).

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