Not everything biblical is Christian part 22 - the Jesus hermeneutic

Even Jesus explicitly refutes a flat reading of the bible, where every verse in one part of the Bible, say Joshua's genocidal passages, have the same weight in understanding God as the passages where Jesus himself, claiming to be equal to God, describes God. This method of interpretation, a hermeneutic in college words, is applied with varying degrees by fundamentalist Christianity across its multiple branches.

For example, in my own life, I've argued for young earth creationism and patriarchal church leadership and even abstinence during menstruation among other literal readings. The fundagelical branch of the church where I've spent the majority of my faith life advocates for some purity laws but not others, almost as varied as the personalities of the white male pastors who are making the proclamations.

But Jesus himself keeps pushing against this hermeneutic, as I've tried to show nearly two dozen times in this series. As I read today's Daily Office reading, I see with fresh eyes this claim by John the Baptist, cousin of Jesus, in chapter 3 of John the Beloved's gospel.

31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.
Who is the one from above? Jesus.
Then who is above all? Jesus.
Who speaks as one from the earth? Everyone, including John the Baptist and Moses.
Who speaks the words of God? Jesus.
Anyone else? Partially, as through a glass darkly.
Should we be surprised that Jesus disagrees with other Biblical writers? Nope, they spoke as they understood, imperfectly.
Should the sayings of Jesus carry more weight than the rest of the writings in the Bible? I used to think so, because of the doctrine of inerrancy I was taught. That doctrine conflates these words about God with the embodied word of God, Jesus.
Now I read the Bible wearing Jesus glasses. If the writing disagree with Jesus, then I take them as context, not doctrine to be reconciled between contradictory statements about God.

It's really simple, not everything Biblical is Christian.

This is part 22 of the series, Not everything Biblical is ChristianPart one points out that the words of Satan recorded in the Bible are not Christian doctrine. Part two shows the Sermon on the Mount overruling the cursing of enemies exhibited in Psalm 137. Parts three and four show Moses getting overruled by Ezekiel and Jesus. Part five merely brushes the concept of source criticism.  Part six looks at the Old Testament application in the early church: a brief summary of the book of Acts. Part seven looks at how the church has worked this out regarding slavery. Part eight, showed one example of how an unchristian part of the Bible helps tell the Christian story. Part nine asks who would Jesus hate? Part 10 discusses women as Biblically approved spoils of war. Part 11 discusses divorce. Part 12 discusses the imposition of Bronze Age social constructs onto our diverse and complex modern world. Part 13 discusses women as property in the Biblical world. Part 14 discusses dehumanization of people with Biblical support. Part 15 discusses the evangelical culture that tends to proclaim the terrible day of the Lord is around the next corner. Part 16 shows how the end of the book of Job overrules 90% of the soliloquies in the book. Part 17 discusses a Psalm of confession. Part 18 discusses more Psalmist theology. Part 19 discusses something in the New Testament writings of Paul. Part 20 discusses condemnation. Part 21 discusses killing for Jesus.


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