Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Baptimergent: Progressive Jesus?

At the Baptimergent and companion Alliance of Baptist sites, a post called, "In a word, "Progressive" appears with a curious attempt at making Jesus a "Progressive."

"Again, Jesus is helpful here. Progressive action in the gospel is determined and measured by relationships made, healed, and sustained. (Matt. 22:34-40) Such relationships are the very nature of the kin_dom of God; the defragmentation of the created world. Being a progressive Christian will describe someone who embodies this kind of defragmentation ethic."

The Progress Jesus in the Progressive's Gospel is a Jesus of Progressive Action determined and measured by relationships made, healed and sustained which is the Very Kingdom of God supported by Matthew 22:34-40?

What does this verse say about relationships? How about determining, measuring, making, healing, and sustaining them? How about relationships as the very Kingdom of God?

The context of most of the Matthew 22 account is "Jesus perceiving their malice" (Matt 22:18) of none other than Pharisees, Herodians, Experts of the Law, and Sadducees who were plotting to "Trap Him by what He said" (Matt 22:15)! So assuredly Jesus must be determining, measuring, making, healing, and sustaining relationships in this passage--Right?

Jesus’ opening Progressive, healing, and sustaining relational words here in context are, "Why are you testing Me, hypocrites? (Matt 22:18)! Wait! Do we start relationships with such openers? I know Emergents do this when talking to us but that's not what the Gospel's point is here. :)

Going with the contextual order here, first the Pharisees and Herodians are plotting how to trap Jesus by what He says (Matt 22:15-16) within the God and Caesar arena (Matt 22:15-22) and Jesus’ classic answer is, "Therefore, give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's" (Matt 22:21).

Next, on the same day, Sadducees (who like Emergents do not believe in resurrections) come to Jesus to question him (Matt 22:23-33) about a wife who had beat Tamar's record for serial-brother marrying (Genesis 38:6-14). Great relational material here! Jesus’ Progressive, healing, and sustaining relational words here in context are, "You are deceived, because you don't know the Scriptures or the power of God" (Matt 22:29)!

Next, on the same day, Pharisees having heard how Jesus’ Progressive, healing, and sustaining relational words had really silenced the Sadducees, come again this time with an Expert in The Law to test Jesus by what He says (Matt 22:35) about the Primary Commandments of Love God and Neighbors (Matt 22:34-40).

Is this the context of Jesus' statement about the Kingdom of God, "All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments" (Matt 22:40)? There's nothing here about the Kingdom of God or relationships or how to determine, measure, make, heal, and sustain them--just a straight answer about The Law!

Finally, Jesus turns the questioning back on the Pharisees, "What do you think about the Messiah? Whose Son is He?" (Matt 22:41-42). "Sit until I put Your enemies under Your feet" (Matt 22:44)! Great relational material here also! "No one was able to answer Him at all, and from that day no one dared to question Him any more" (Matt 22:46). In other words, Jesus relationship with the Pharisees, Herodians, Experts of the Law, and Sadducees was never restored?

So this account, in context, describes someone who embodies this kind of defragmentation ethic of Progressive Action: First, "Why are you testing Me, hypocrites? (Matt 22:18); Second, "Therefore, give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's" (Matt 22:21); Third, "You are deceived, because you don't know the Scriptures or the power of God" (Matt 22:29); Fourth, "Sit until I put Your enemies under Your feet" (Matt 22:44); and Fifthly, (Calvinist and Remonstrants hold off) "No one was able to answer Him at all, and from that day no one dared to question Him any more" (Matt 22:46). Is this the Jesus of Progessive Action who is determined and measured by relationships made, healed and sustained which is the Very Kingdom of God?

I'm not sure this is what the Baptimergent and companion Alliance of Baptist sites meant by this "in a word!" Come to think of it though, I have seen Emergents act this way when being challenged on their doctrine! :)


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