November 5, 2008

The Missional Conversion of Christ

NakedPastor has a helpful reflection on Matt. 15:21-28, one of the harder texts of the New Testament for myself. Since reading Christopher Wright's The Mission of God (which you should read), my hermeneutic for reading the Bible has become very missionally driven, but there are some texts including this one that don't "fit." The fact that there are texts that don't fit is a good thing for me, keeps me from making my perspective THE perspective.

If you cling to a very high Christology then you might not like his approach. I tend to move toward a high view through a low Christology perspective.

Here's some exerpts:
This passage has been of interest among many New Testament scholars because it shows Jesus possibly being outwitted by a foreign woman. Does this passage advance the Gentile mission or embarrass it? What does this mean for women in the early church?
I love this story because it exhibits his humanity… a man forced to come to terms with truth foreign to what he is already certain of. He has to adjust, or amend, his theology because of the arguments of this woman. Here, many scholars agree, is the seed of the early church’s mission to the Gentiles.
Much like the Peter and Corneluius story, what we find here is that participation in God's mission means that both parties will be changed. Mission is not about us going to save them, but mutual deepening and mutual conversion of faith toward the work of God in the world.


nakedpastor said...

Nice. I like how you say this. Thanks for the mention.

Anonymous said...

That is not the God that I worship...The God that I worship can not be "outwitted" by His own creation...

How heart breaking to think that people are being taught that they could actually outwit the God who created them.

JoeBumbulis said...

Unfortunately, anonymous, I believe you might worship the God you've created over the God revealed through Jesus Christ and Scripture.

There was a time when Jesus didn't know he was the Messiah...
Luke 2 reveals that Christ was HUMAN and in that being a human he was not born with all the intellectual capacity of a mature person. Yes, Jesus learned.

This doesn't have to be a denial of the full God-ness or man-ness of Christ, since as the great kenosis passage reads in Phil. 2, God emptied himself to become Christ.

Or what about in Matt. 24 when Jesus himself admits that he doesn't know when he will return?

I would say you have an overemphasis on the Godness of Christ over the humanity of Jesus. It's called Docetism, and that's historically been labeled a heresy.

Anonymous said...

There are two orthodox Christological traditions, both appearing from the earliest meditations on the gospel stories.

The first,and oldest, is the kenotic model (kenosis, being found in the Greek of Phil 2), which speaks of the emptying of the divine perogatives (kenosis means emptying) in order for the incarnation to occur. This view mandates that in order to be fully human Jesus had to undergo a growing in wisdom and maturity (found in Luke). Thomas Aquians, while not holding a full kenotic view said that in the incarnation all of humanity, including its maturing processes had to remade, thus it could be inferred that Jesus willingly laid aside full omniscents (see Mark's discussio of Jesus not know the date of the parousia). The imperfection is stablizing "perfect omniscients" with human finitness (Calvinism asserts non capax - the finite cannot hold the infinite - this logically includes knowledge).

The second tradition seeks to maintain a "pure" dual-connected Christology (refusing to depart from the language of Chalcedonian definition). This tradition asserts the unavoidable tension of the connection of fully human and fully God, but cannot deal with Mark, Philipians, Luke, etc. It must, due to its own thought divide the actions of Christ (saying Jesus' human nature is speaking when he does not know or Jesus' divine nature is working when he casts out demons). This is mistaken as well, because in its desire to affirm the hypostatic union of the "two natures" seperates the actions of the two natures.

Both are orthodox. Both have problems.

The church must learn to be silent in the presence of Christ. It must learn to learn before it speaks. The church, if it is the church of Jesus Christ must due, due diligence before it throws people beyond the veil of the faith.

May Christ have mercy on our speach.

Anonymous said...

Alright I give up. Where does it say that Jesus didnt know he was the Messiah?

Also your argument is not in line with my point.

JoeBumbulis said...

Okay, I ask that you "anonymous" folks please identify yourself even if it is pseudonym.

thanks for the comments.

JoeBumbulis said...

"Also your argument is not in line with my point."

Sorry, I just realized, but are you a nonChristian? Do you not believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the fullest revelation of God?

What God do you worship and where do you find revelation, knowledge, and experience of him/her?

If you are a Christian what tradition do you draw from? Where do you get what you do believe about "The God I worship."?