On Hermeneutics and Ethics, Part II

In my first post, which you can find here, I began to contemplate the longing Rachel Held Evans expressed in An Evangelical’s Response to Homosexuality for Jesus to have spoken directly on the subject.

Even if only because Jesus said we ought to, it is integral to our faith that orthodox Christians consider all of scripture as the Word of God. Though Christ claims all of scripture points to himself, and validates the continued relevance and authority of the Old Testament by quoting the text authoritatively and being obedient to the law taught therein, he does critique and expand the contemporary interpretations and applications of scripture.

Two notable examples of this would be when he heals a man on the Sabbath (Luke 14:1-6) and his sermon on the mount (Matthew 5). In the sermon on the mount, each of Jesus’ critiques are a call to greater faithfulness to God’s Word. Each is a call to repentance, a condemning of misinterpretation and misuse of the Word of God. There is no sense of a release from the constraints of the Law, in fact Jesus anticipates this reading and preemptively proclaims, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them…” (v. 17).

Evans states, “I don’t assume to know what Jesus would actually say, but I have a feeling he would turn the tables in some way or another. He did that a lot, especially when people asked him about political issues, or about the sins of others.”  Jesus did often ‘turn the tables,’ but it is important to note that he never takes what the Old Testament explicitly calls sinful and calls it now not sin. Turning the tables on the religious leaders might be a call to repent from their own sins and be better priests to those struggling around them, but he never repeals the Word of God given in scripture. As I stated in my first article on this subject, this is most simply true because Jesus is, and as the Son of God has eternally been, the Word of God.

More to come.

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