In the New York Times Magazine there appeared a story on the new forms of Christian community popping up all over the place. This is a quote from Jay Bakker, who is part of Revolution Mnistries. (Jay is the son of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, from the PTL Club. Remember them?)
”We’re just trying to love people with no agenda,” he told the group. ”That’s hard, to be a Christian and have no agenda, and it’s hard for people to think of a Christian with no agenda.”
Link to article.
Here is something interesting to consider in relation to scriptural interpretation adapting scripture over time. It comes from the HB/HD Listserv.
I wonder if a quote from Ephesians 6:2-3, from the readings at Morning
Prayer today, might have considerable significance concerning
biblical interpretation. It appears to me that Paul himself had adapted a
scriptural passage to fit his contemporary world.
“Honor your father and mother”-this is the first commandment with a
promise: “so that it may be well with you and you may live long
on the earth.” (Eph. 6:2-3)
The last word in that quote is the same in NRSV, REB and KJV (translating
the Greek word “ge”), however the Exodus 20:12 quote
“Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the
land that the LORD your God is giving you.”
I have to believe that Paul knew that the original commandment referred to
the “Promised Land” – Canaan. However, Paul was a part
of the Jewish Diaspora, a native of Tarsus, which was far from Canaan.
Paul took a specific quote from scripture and deliberately expanded it to
fit his contemporary world. I believe he did this to
affirm a wider view of God’s love than the original text intended. I
believe that he was right. I believe that his expanded quote
fits perfectly with Jesus’ habit of saying, “You have heard…, but I
say…” I believe that we are expected to, and have biblical
mandates to, expand our understanding of biblical truths to fit our
expanding knowledge of the creation and our expanding experience
of the unlimited love of God for all.
Bill Fleener, Sr.
Priest of the Diocese of Western Michigan, retired