Thursday, August 03, 2006

scot mcknight reviews spencer burke's new book


"What I most like about this book is that Spencer is committed to Jesus. Here are his words:

“Do I remain personally committed to Jesus and his teachings as found in the Bible? I do” (11)."


"Spencer’s operative definition of love, though never stated, is tolerance, niceness, relational network, non-condemning, and respect of others. Fine — but that is not how Jesus defined it or practiced it. No matter how hard it is for us, Matthew 23 and chps. 5-7 have to be wedged into our definition of love if we want to “follow Jesus” in his teachings. To use Jesus’ term love to defend the inclusiveness found in Heretic’s Guide is to surrender what Jesus meant by it. I don’t know how Spencer can say Jesus “didn’t condemn” (139)."


"John 14:6 comes up twice in these chapters. Here’s what Spencer says:

1. Christianity didn’t exist as a religion when Jesus wrote these words. (If he means “institutional church,” he’s right. I don’t see any connection to John 14:6 in this point: it has to do with following Jesus rather than joining a religion.)
2. No one recorded the words of Jesus. (Probable, but Bob Gundry’s dissertation argued otherwise; others have contended the oral tradition was strong enough that what Jesus said was remembered.)
3. So we have no proof these are his words. (Spencer, don’t play that game unless you know what you are talking about.)
4. He spoke in Aramaic, therefore we can’t take anything literally. (Spencer, you’ve got to be kidding me; this flies in the face of all translation theory.)"

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