Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Did Jesus Break the Torah? Yes, In Fact, He Encouraged Others To Do So Too!


Let's start with the basics... Jesus and Christianized laws made religious don't mix when humanity is lost in the equation. Grace and Mercy triumphs over inhumanitarian laws every time!

This Jesus-principal applies to how we conduct trade and business with one another; write and enact laws; teach and educate our children; worship, pray, and communicate with one another.

There is no substitute for love if love is the very thing being disregarded for profit, for money, for power, for prestige, or for any other idol in our lives.

R.E. Slater
May 7, 2017

Jesus and Torah

Does Jesus break the Torah? Does He encourage others to do so? Here, in this guest post, my friend Chuck McKnight makes some very insightful observations which I believe are on the right track.

Keith Giles


Jesus and Torah
Guest post by Chuck McKnight
May 6, 2017

I made this list a while ago of just a few examples where Jesus deliberately breaks Torah. Take it or leave it.

Oath Taking

According to Torah, the Israelites were commanded by Yahweh to swear in his name.

"You shall fear the Lord your God and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name." - Deuteronomy 6:13

Jesus not only contradicted this command, he said that it came from the evil one, which certainly means that it did not come from Yahweh

But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one." - Matthew 5:37

Showing Mercy over Retribution

According to Torah, "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" was an absolute mandate. The Israelites were commanded to "show no mercy" in carrying it out:

"Show no pity: life shall be for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot." - Deuteronomy 19:21

But Jesus directly contradicted this mandate, commanding his followers not to follow Torah's instructions:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also." - Matthew 5:38–39

Showing Forgiveness to Adulterers

According to Torah, adultery was to be punished with death. No exceptions were given.

‘If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death." - Leviticus 20:10

But Jesus broke Torah in order to show mercy to the woman caught in adultery. [See John 8]

Offering Help Even on the Sabbath

According to Torah, no work was to be done on the Sabbath.

"But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do." - Deuteronomy 5:14

But Jesus flaunted his disregard for this particular command on many occasions. Let's look at one of the most direct violations:

When Jesus healed the man by the pool of Bethesda, he not only did so on the Sabbath, but he specifically instructed the man to break the Sabbath with him by carrying his mat.
"Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath" - John 5:8–9

This was nothing less than a deliberate contradiction of Jeremiah 17:21–22, which states that Yahweh specified not to carry any burden on the Sabbath. This command wasn't one of the traditions that had been built up as a hedge around the law; it came straight from Scripture.

"This is what the Lord says: Be careful not to carry a load on the Sabbath day or bring it through the gates of Jerusalem. Do not bring a load out of your houses or do any work on the Sabbath, but keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your ancestors." - Jeremiah 17:21-22

If Jesus was merely concerned with healing the man, he would have simply done so, but he went out of his way to go against the law in the process, [by asking the man to take up his mat and carry it] and that action was what specifically raised the ire of the Jews:

"...and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.” - John 5:10

How Jesus is Superior to Man's Laws

So, what are we to make of this? I [Keith] have a few thoughts:

First, Jesus himself was the first one to point out the differences between the Old and the New Covenant realities: "You've heard it said....[quoting Moses and the Old Covenant]...but I say to you...[speaking a new way of living under the New Covenant]."

Second, the New Testament writers document these two realities and wrestle sometimes with the ways that the New replaces and modifies the Old in the book of Acts, and in Galatians and Romans, for example.

Third, Jesus is the clearest picture we have of who the Father is, and what the Father is like. The prophets were men like us, but Jesus was, and is, the Word of God made flesh. He is God the Son. So whenever there are apparent contradictions, we take Jesus and apply what He says, not what those ancient prophets said through a veil that [can] only removed by Christ.

Finally, Christians are never instructed to keep the Torah or the Law. So it doesn't really matter if Jesus and the Torah are in conflict. We follow Jesus, not the Torah. Christianity is not Judaism with a cross on top. It's based on Jesus and who He is and what He commanded us to do. 

The Old Covenant is "obsolete". [Heb. 8:13]

It is "fading away and vanishing". [2 Cor. 3:7-11]

We should "get rid of it" [Gal.4:30]

Jesus is "the end of the Law" [Rom.10:4]

I'm very thankful to Chuck McKnight for taking the time to identify the specific ways in which Jesus opposed the Torah and corrected it for us.

We are no longer under the Old Covenant. We are gloriously alive in the New Covenant reality that the prophets longed to see.

God Himself, and Jesus, His Son, has made a home within us. We are now called His children. We are His beloved.

- kg

For Further Reading

Amazon Link

Early Biblical Interpretation (Library of Early Christianity) Paperback – January 1, 1986, by James L. Kugel (Author), Rowan A. Greer (Author)

This highly accessible book discusses how the early Jewish and Christian communities went about interpreting Scripture.

The Library of Early Christianity is a series of eight outstanding books exploring the Jewish and Greco-Roman contexts in which the New Testament developed.

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The initial volumes of this new series bring refreshing critical perspectives to the question of early Christian identity. Grant argues that the religious activity of the New Testament must be placed within the matrix of the Greco-Roman experience. After exploring the functions, deeds, and doctrines of the pagan gods, he clearly points out the extent to which the development of Christologies and the doctrine of the Trinity are indebted to pagan expression and reflection. Distilling recent social/historical analyses, Stambaugh and Balch review the history of the period in which Christianity arose and spreadrelevant rural and urban environments and their common economic patterns and assumptions. Chapters on mission and Christian adaptation of urban social forms are major contributions. Kugel and Greer explore the major factors that shaped scriptural interpretation within early Judaism and Christianity. Kugel shows how, when the Jewish past turned into a present problematic than scriptural interpretation became a religious activity. Refining past tendencies and presaging future doctrinal debates, Greer demonstrates the notion of a Christian Bible on Irenaeus's synthesis. For university and seminary collections. Arthur J. Dewey, Xavier Univ., Cincinnati.

Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

James A. Kugel is Director of the Institute for the History of the Jewish Bible at Bar Ilan University in Israel

Rowan A. Greer is Professor Emeritus of Anglican Studies at Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut. A highly recognized scholar with specializations in both the New Testament and the early church, he is the author of seven books and numerous articles.