Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Gospel 22

posted by xscot mcknight

The issue of whether or not to circumcise Gentile believers led to the first church council, establishing as I think it did a precedent for leaders to gather to discern the mind of God, and a ruling that Gentile converts needed to show some respect for Torah observance. (Incidentally, time wore this ruling down for Gentile Christians and I take this issue up in The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible.) After this event, Paul and Barnabas deliver the letter to the church at Antioch.

Acts 15:35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, and there, with many others, they taught and proclaimed the word of the Lord.

A brief note today: Paul’s message was “the word of the Lord”. It was verbal; it was about Jesus Christ as Lord. Paul’s gospel is no different, then, than the message of Peter and the early Christians for whom the gospel was “Jesus is Lord.”
It can be inferred, but it is no more than an inference, that “Jesus is Lord” means “Caesar is not Lord.” But the big point I’d make is this: Caesar is only one of the many, many “lords” who cease to be “Lord” when “Jesus is Lord.” So, I take this to be as anti-empire as it is anti-everything-else-that-could-be-Lord.
More importantly, I think, is to see in “Jesus is Lord” a comment that the Lord who was anticipated in the OT and the Lord is who is seen in the OT, namely YHWH, is Jesus.

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posted October 28, 2008 at 6:00 am

“The issue of whether or not to circumcise Gentile believers led to the first church council.” Does this issue imply that the council believed that Jewish believers should continue to be circumcised?

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Scot McKnight

posted October 28, 2008 at 6:02 am

Probably so … it was assumed they would continue circumcision.

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Travis Greene

posted October 28, 2008 at 11:20 am

Does this gathering together to discern the mind of God relate to what Jesus said about binding and loosing and the keys to the kingdom and all that? How much authority do we (the church) have to modify or re-interpret Scripture or Christian practice? Obviously the more inerrantist conservatives are going to say “None”. Others may say we have total authority to disregard teachings we dislike (no one would say it like that, of course).

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Scot McKnight

posted October 28, 2008 at 11:23 am

Well, that’s a tough one because of the history of interpretation of Matt 16. Yes, is the big answer … but I would not think it would have to lead to the magisterium. We don’t “modify” Scripture so much as “discern how to live it out” — the latter is faithful to the text and the former would justify disregarding Scripture.

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John Meadows

posted October 28, 2008 at 8:24 pm

Your last paragraph sounds almost “non-trinitarian”. Could you unpack it just a bit? And how is the Incarnation different than the “pre-incarnate” appearance of Jesus? Or is it? Do we need to go with “the Angel of the Lord” actually being an angel in order not to compromise the uniqueness of the Incarcation? I know this is not really on the subject of your post, but I’ve been chewing on these ideas, and your statement triggered my questions.

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Scot McKnight

posted October 28, 2008 at 8:31 pm

It is a commonplace to see certain NT texts using, from the OT, “Lord” for Jesus when in the OT that same text referred to YHWH. How that is non-Trinitarian is beyond me brother.

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John Meadows

posted October 29, 2008 at 8:28 pm

I’m sorry on two counts: I mis-spelled your name, and I should have read more carefully before I posted. I apologize for the term “non-trinitarian”. That was unfair to say, and as I re-read your original post I understand why you would be incredulou at my comment. Please forgive me. My question still stands, though about the “Angel of the Lord”, “The captain of the Lord’s Hosts” ect., in relationship to the incarnation.

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