Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Christianity: Two Views


(Conversations with Bob! Don't hate us because we are beautiful. My turn!)



I am reposting an entry I made a while ago. This is a list of two different ways of seeing the Christian tradition. Borg calls these the earlier and the emerging paradigms in his book Heart of Christianity.

This was originally printed in the Fourth R by Roy Hoover, a Fellow of the Jesus Seminar and a Methodist minister. It might be fun to vote on where you find yourself in this scheme.

Let's try it. Everyone can play. Give a 1 if you are totally with the Brown (biblical, earlier) and a 10 if you are totally with the Blue (modern, emerging). Give a number between 1 and 10 if you find yourself in between these views. Of course, feel free to critique the categories and their descriptions.

Here are the two views. My votes at the end of this post!



The Biblical View of the History of the World
and Human Life

Vs.

The Modern View of the History of the World
and Human Life


1. The origin of the universe

God created the heavens and the earth and all of the forms of life in the in six days by commanding them into being (Genesis 1). God rested from his creating work on the seventh day, thus establishing it as a day of rest for as long as the world lasts.

1. The origin of the universe

The universe came into being fifteen billion years ago, or so, following a “big bang.” Life on earth in its many forms has evolved and developed across hundreds of millions of years.


2. Space

The earth occupies the center of the whole cosmos. The sun, moon, and stars circle around it.

2. Space

Space is many light years in extent and seems to be still expanding. The earth is one of several planets orbiting the sun in a solar system that is part of the Milky Way galaxy.


3. Human origins

God created human beings in his image, made them male and female, commanded them to propagate and fill the earth, and delegated to them authority over and responsibility for the care of the plants and animals God had created (Genesis 1:26-31; 2:15).

3. Human origins

Human beings emerged comparatively late in the history of the earth from earlier forms of life and continue to be sustained by the whole ecosystem of the planet.


4. God

God is the world’s lord and king; he rules over it from his throne high in the heavens.

4. God

God is the symbolic term we use to refer to the ultimate reality and mystery with which we have to do. Theology is and always has been the constructive work of human beings and is useful only insofar as it succeeds in depicting the way things really are and in pointing out how we may live humanely amid the realities of the world.


5. History

God is directing the course of history to its final consummation which he determined for it from the beginning.

5. History

Human beings are characterized by self-conscious, self-transcending intelligence and imagination. This capacity gives us the ability to create culture and to shape history. It also gives us the inclination and ability to search for and recognize the meaning of our experience in the world, which we often express in the form of a religion.


6. Bible

God revealed, through Moses, the basic law by which human life is to be ordered, and sent prophets, apostles and other messengers to communicate his will to humankind. These revealed truths, recorded in scripture, make the Bible the Word of God.

6. Bible

God [esp. the rule of God] is the principal subject of the Bible, not its author. The writings—of priests, prophets, wisdom teachers, psalmists, anonymous gospel narrators, and apostles—that have been collected to form the Christian Bible are an irreplaceable source of information about the origins of the characteristically Jewish and Christian ways of viewing the human condition and a primary resource for theological reflection and public worship.


7. Jesus

God sent his only son, Jesus Christ, to preach the gospel and to die on the cross to save us from our sins. God raised Jesus from the dead and will likewise raise all who believe in him. This incarnation of the eternal son of God marks the beginning of the consummation of all things, which is even now playing out under God’s providential direction.

7. Jesus

Jesus of Nazareth was the pioneer and exemplar of a new form of ancient Israel’s faith that emphasized its universal rather than its ethnic meaning. The message Jesus preached was about “the Kingdom of God,” a vision of life ruled by the union of power and goodness. The political and religious establishments of that time regarded the threat to their legitimacy posed by this vision sufficient reason to execute him.


8. The future

The resurrected Jesus will return on the clouds of heaven at the end of history when God will defeat the powers of sin and death and bring into being his kingdom which will have no end.

8. The future

The literal statements about the resurrection lost their literal meaning when the modern view of the world displaced the ancient. The real core of ancient resurrection faith is the recognition that justice and moral virtue are indispensable for a truly human life, and that human life can be transformed in the direction of greater fulfillment.


Prepared by Roy W. Hoover
February, 2003
Some of the phrasing is drawn from Gordon D. Kaufman, In Face of Mystery. A Constructive Theology.
Printed from the January-February 2004 issue of the Fourth R, p. 3


Here are my votes:

Origin 10
Space 10
Humans 10
God 10
History 9
Bible 10
Jesus 9
Future 10
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