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Theological Issues

Theological Issues

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Theological Issues

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  1. Theological Issues Class 2 Trinity International University © John Stevenson, 2009

  2. Session Objectives • Utilize interpretive skills in exegeting and theologizing from a biblical passage (Matthew 5-7). • Encounter various interpretive approaches to the Sermon on the Mount and apply those approaches to modern-day problems/issues. • Discuss the issue of and potential difficulties with mixing politics and religion in light of the reality of the Kingdom of God

  3. Session Objectives • Think critically about what it means to “be the church” in the modern world • Think ethically and theologically about what it means to live in the Kingdom of God today

  4. MATTHEW The Gospel of the King

  5. Matthew 1-4 • Genealogy • Birth Narrative • Assassination Attempt by false king • Forerunner & Baptism of the King • Temptation • The Mount

  6. How are we to Interpret the Sermon on the Mount? • As a perfectionist code, fully in line with the legalism of Rabbinic Judaism. • As an impossible ideal, meant to drive the believer first to desperation, and then to trust in God’s mercy.

  7. How are we to Interpret the Sermon on the Mount? • As an “interim ethic” meant for what was expected to be a brief period of waiting in the end time. • A rule for how life will be lived in the future millennium, but not something that is to be followed today.

  8. How are we to Interpret the Sermon on the Mount? • An indicative depiction of incipient life in the kingdom of God, which presupposes as its condition of possibility the experience of conversion.

  9. Lisa Sowle Cahill The Sermon on the Mount does not suggest a social ethics in any direct or usual sense. It depicts active, personal outflow of a total conversion by virtue of which ordinary religious and moral expectations are shaken to their roots and one is transfixed by Jesus’ transparence to the reign of God. (p. 34)

  10. A “literal prescription” What is the difference between... An “ideal” which flows out of a total conversion? Versus

  11. Matthew 5:3-6 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

  12. Matthew 5:7-10 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

  13. Matthew 5:11-12 11 Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

  14. Beatitudes Ten Commandments Result Characteristic Kingdom One God Mourn Comforted No idols Gentle Inherit earth Name of God Hunger and thirst Satisfied Sabbath Merciful Receive mercy Honor parents Poor in spirit Pure in heart See God No murder Peacemakers Sons of God No adultery Persecuted Kingdom No stealing Insult & persecute and falsely say… No false witness Your reward is great… No coveting

  15. How would each of the following groups interpret the Sermon on the Mount? • Dispensational? • Historic Premillennial? • Amillennial? • Postmillennial?

  16. Founder of Dallas Theological Seminary Lewis Sperry Chafer …lessons and principles may be drawn from it, but that, as a rule of life, it is addressed to the Jew before the cross and to the Jew in the coming kingdom, and is therefore not now in effect.” (Systematic Theology 5:97).

  17. President Barack Obama “I believe in civil unions that allow a same-sex couple to visit each other in a hospital or transfer property to each other. I don't think it should be called marriage, but I think that it is a legal right that they should have that is recognized by the state. If people find that controversial then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans.” (2006 Speech)

  18. John Wesley Saw them as the fundamental imperatives of the Christian life: something that both could and should be realized by the Christian who is growing in sanctification. Martin Luther Did not view them as specifically literal commands that could be followed concretely

  19. George Eledon Ladd 1911-1982 Which view of the Sermon on the Mount is espoused by Ladd?

  20. George Eledon Ladd 1911-1982 …our Lord sometimes used radical metaphors which were not intended to be taken with rigid literalness. He was concerned with the condition of the heart, with the inner attitude of the mind” (Pg 88).

  21. The Old Testament What is the relationship between... The Sermon on the Mount

  22. How does this impact our interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount? The Progress of Redemption

  23. Group Questions • What characterizes people who live in the Kingdom of God? (See 5:1-15) • What does Jesus mean in 5:17-20? How should this determine our interpretation of the rest of the chapter? Should we seek to obey his commands literally?

  24. Matthew 5:17-18 Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

  25. Matthew 5:19-20 Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

  26. Group Questions • What is the principle that should be obeyed in 5:21-26? • If someone follows the commands of 5:29-30 literally (i.e. he or she cuts off their hand or tears out their eye) should they be commended for their obedience? • What is the meaning and some specific applications of 5:33-37?

  27. But I say unto you… You have heard it said… • Whoever is angry… • Whoever insults… • Make friends quickly… You shall not commit adultery • Adultery in the heart • Remove stumbling blocks You shall not commit murder Give a certificate of divorce Divorce apart from unchastity is adultery You shall not make false vows; fulfill your vow to the Lord Do not make any sort of oath; let your normal “yes” or “no” be of the same quality as if you had made an oath.

  28. Group Questions • How should we understand the commands of 5:38-42? Should this be followed only at an individual level (i.e. person to person) or also on a corporate level (government to government)? Do verses 43-48 shed more light on the interpretation of this passage? Do you have insights from personal experience that elucidate the meaning of the passage?

  29. Matthew 5:38-42 You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. 41 Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.

  30. Group Questions • How should we understand the commands of 5:38-42? Should this be followed only at an individual level (i.e. person to person) or also on a corporate level (government to government)? Do verses 43-48 shed more light on the interpretation of this passage? Do you have insights from personal experience that elucidate the meaning of the passage?

  31. Resident Aliens © 1989 “…disciples turn the other cheek, go the second mile, avoid promiscuity, remain faithful to their marriage vows because God is like this” (Pg. 75)

  32. Matthew 5:43-45 You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

  33. Resident Aliens © 1989 “The basis for the ethics of the Sermon on the Mount is not what works but rather the way God is. Cheek-turning is not advocated as what works (it usually does not), but advocated because this is the way God is—God is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish.” (Pg. 85)