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Interpreting the Gospels: MATTHEW

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Interpreting the Gospels: MATTHEW

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  1. Interpreting the Gospels:MATTHEW RLST 210/Div/Rel 3152 October 31, 2011

  2. Today Your Papers! 22 • 3:10-3:20 Opening Remarks: Next Step toward your papers • 3:20–3:42 LYDIA FULLER Matt 16:21-26, 18:1-7; 4:1-11; 5:19; 6:31-34 Formal Respondent: ERIC BURTON-KRIEGER • 3:42-4:04 W. SCOTT JAMIESON Matt 16:24-28, 17:14-21; 5:3-14 Formal Respondent DAVID CHOI • Break • 4:10-4:32 JAMES ARMES Matt 17:14-20; 6:25-34 Formal Respondent MICHAEL BROADNAX • 4:32-4:54 GABE KING Matt 18:1-9; 5:3-16 Formal Respondent MICHAEL GREER • 4:54-5:16 JOEL FITZGERALD Matt 18:15-35; 5:38-48 Formal Respondent CASEY KNORR • 5:16-5:30 Conclusion

  3. How we shall proceed • A)  Leader’s presentation 7 minutes (at most).    • B) Formal Respondent, 4 minutes (at most)  • C) General respondents 7 minutes • D) DP’ concluding comments 4 minutes

  4. 3:10-3:20 Opening Remarks: So far we emphasized that • any interpretation of a biblical/scriptural text –Matthew – involves: • Analytical or Textual choices regarding what is most significant in the text • Perceived because of our literary “common sense” (obviously most significant!) yet shaped by cultural and experiential factors • Contextual choices regarding the aspects of life and the rootproblem the text addresses • Theological-Hermeneutical Choicesregarding a) central theological theme(s) (choosing a specific view of it/them) and b) how the “Word” of this text is related to the believers’ life (a specific role of scripture)

  5. 3:10-3:20 Opening Remarks: So far we emphasized that • Any given teaching formulated on the basis of a text is • SHAPED by the analytical-textual [A], contextual [C], and theological-hermeneutic [H] “common sense” of the interpreters • Shaped by what is obviously most significant [A], obviously most helpful [C], and obviously theologically right [H] for the interpreters • No interpretation without pre-understanding. • Any interpretation of a biblical text=inculturated and this is Good! • Scripture is a Word-to-live-by • To assume responsibility for our own interpretation – for our interpretive choices – we must acknowledge our analytical-textual [A], contextual [C], and theological-hermeneutic [H] CHOICES • thus must acknowledge that there are equally plausible A, C, & H choices

  6. 3:10-3:20 Opening Remarks: Next Step toward your papers • Any interpretation of a biblical text is shaped by the analytical-textual [A], contextual [C], and theological-hermeneutic [H] “COMMON SENSE” OF THE INTERPRETERS = what is OBVIOUS for them • This “common sense” (= what is obviously most important) is itself an interpretation: • We come to the text with ONE among several possible interpretations of: • What is most significant in a text • What are the main problems and the root-problem in the context under consideration • What is the theological/hermeneutical meaning of our religious experience or lack of such experience

  7. 3:10-3:20 Opening Remarks: Next Step toward your papers • By asking you to learn ABOUT YOUR OWN INTERPRETATION from your leader • Something several you fiercely resisted • How: by looking at YOUR CHOSEN CONTEXT from the perspective of YOUR LEADER’S (or her/his diverging scholar) different root-problem:   • I am asking you to acknowledge that YOUR “common sense” view of your context and its problem and root-problem is itself an interpretationamong several possible interpretations of this context. • As you interpret Matthew YOUR CONTEXTUAL CHOICE IS A REAL CHOICE AMONG SEVERAL POSSIBLE CONTEXTUAL CHOICES….

  8. 3:10-3:20 Opening Remarks: Next Step toward your papers • As you learn from your leader about an other contextual choice, you acknowledge that it is always possible to recognize a different root-problemat work in OUR CHOSEN CONTEXT • This involves bringing to the surface or foregrounding aspects of the context that we left out because ‘OBVIOUSLY” (according to OUR interpretation of this context) they were not important. • A dramatic example: if your context is a series of teenagers’ suicides and the believers’ response to this so as to prevent other suicides. One could analyze it by saying this is • Due to a lack of awareness of the permanence of suicide and that it is a sin against God: a lack of knowledge • Due to the use of drugs – and thus a root-problem of wrong will related to peer-pressure • Due to unhappiness related to a self-centered view of life – and therefore a root-problem of wrong ideology • Due to bullying or abuse resulting in a sense of powerlessness – lack of ability • Due to a sense of lack of purpose in life reflecting a lack of faith/vision

  9. 3:10-3:20 Opening Remarks: Next Step toward your papers • The same is true of our choices of theological/hermeneutical THEME: You HAVE CHOSEN what is “obviously” the meaning of “mission” or “faith” or “healing” or whatever theme (according to your theological views related to your [lack of] religious experience). • So you interpreted your text in terms of this theme. • BUT as you have learned to recognize using the CDC that YOU have made a theological choice • Now I want to ask the LEADERS to make explicit their THEOLOGICAL choice of a particular view of a theme AND HOW IT IS DIFFERENT from an other interpreter’s choice (commentary) • Then, RESPONDENTS as you look at YOUR CHOSEN TEXT from the perspective of one of the two views of a theme: • How would the view of the theme which is different from yours change the interpretation of the teaching of your text? 

  10. Lydia Fuller • 3:20–3:42 LYDIA FULLER Matt 16:21-26, 18:1-7; 4:1-11; 5:19; 6:31-34 Formal Respondent: ERIC BURTON-KRIEGER • Jessie Light • Skyler Hutto • Megan Yohe • Bryanna Jew • Jon Snape

  11. Lydia Fuller: Matt 16:21-26, 18:1-7; 4:1-11; 5:19; 6:31-34 (NRSV) • 16:21-26: “From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?””

  12. Lydia Fuller: Matt 16:21-26, 18:1-7; 4:1-11; 5:19; 6:31-34 (NRSV) • 18:1-7: “At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. If anyone causes one of these little ones to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!””

  13. Lydia Fuller: Matt 16:21-26, 18:1-7; 4:1-11; 5:19; 6:31-34 (NRSV) • Matthew 4:1-10: “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

  14. Lydia Fuller: Context, Root problem, Role of Scripture • My context: A young, Catholic, upper-middle class mother is driving in the car with her 3-year-old who keeps asking question after question about the world around her, and is not satisfied by any answer the mother gives for how things work, why things are, etc. The mom is frustrated that she cannot provide her daughter with a better understanding of the workings of our complicated world, and is failing to see that what her daughter needs are answers focused on God and the “big picture” of his kingdom, rather than an obsession over small, earthly details. She feels the need to answer all her daughter’s questions literally/in a way that is “correct” by earthly laws of nature, but doesn’t realize that the little girl’s innocence and naïve curiosity are staples of a good disciple of Jesus that need to be preserved with a God-focused worldview. • My root problem=WRONG VISION; my role of scripture=CORRECTIVE GLASSES

  15. Lydia Fuller: Teaching • My teaching: The Mom • Must see daughter in God’s eyes—not someone needing to be taught all about worldly things, but rather as someone who is, right now, the “greatest in the kingdom of heaven,” and whose innocence and humility therefore need to be preserved by helping her focus on a Godly frame of mind and thinking about heavenly things over earthly questions • Must not cause daughter to “stumble” by making her (seeing her) like Peter, who is too focused on the way things work in the earthly world and is therefore blinded to God’s ways. Instead, teach daughter to see things as God sees them; to focus on the “big picture” “concerns of God,” like love, forgiveness, and mercy, and not on “merely human concerns.” • Must recognize God’s kingdom as underlying the world in principles of love, mercy, etc., yet contrasting with a purely earthly frame of mind; do not allow daughter to become like Peter, or to be preoccupied with earthly things like the devil tempts Jesus with; instead, pass down a worldview that is focused on God and His kingdom; help her to see the world as Jesus does, not as flawed human beings do.

  16. Lydia Fuller: Carter • Scholar (Carter) root problem: WRONG IDEOLOGY • Carter’s context=marginalized Christians who believe that they as a community are helpless and hopeless, and who are therefore living without a sense of any higher purpose and with an overall feeling of defeat. By presenting the kingdom as an eschatological empire of God—as a promise yet to come, at a time when existing worldly power structures will be banished [and begin to be banished in Jesus’ ministry]—Carter formulates a teaching for these people that changes their ideology into one of hope for the future rather than despair about the present. By showing the audience their place in God’s family—and therefore their places to come in God’s future kingdom—they are endowed with a more optimistic ideology that allows them to accept their present marginalization and empower them to struggle against their current marginalized condition, knowing that it is not permanent. • Root problem=WRONG IDEOLOGY; role of scripture=FAMILY ALBUM

  17. Lydia Fuller: my context through Carter’s root problem: • Now, the mother has a wrong ideology about her socially-sanctioned role as a mother. She believes that she is called by society and the Church to raise her daughter as a smart, worldly, knowledgeable member of the (Christian) community, and that this means answering all her questions about the earth around her and making her as “world-smart” as possible. She is frustrated by her inability to meet these high standards and offer answers that will satisfy her daughter’s curiosity and thirst for knowledge.

  18. Lydia Fuller: New teaching: FAMILY ALBUM • By stating that the “little child” is “the greatest in the kingdom of heaven,” the scripture shows the mother her daughter’s place in God’s family, and also shows her that she, too, has a role within God’s family of preserving the characteristic humility and innocence of its members. The daughter is a citizen of the world, but is first and foremost a member of God’s family, and the mom must make sure that her daughter’s frame of mind remains a heavenly and not earthly one so that she may maintain her treasured position in God’s family and God’s kingdom, and avoid becoming blinded by the earthly thinking displayed by Peter or by the earth-based temptations presented by the devil in Matthew 4. • “We must “have in mind the concerns of God,” not human concerns, and we, as members of God’s family, are charged with the responsibility of preserving the innocence and humility of the “little ones” and preventing them from losing their positions as the “greatest in the kingdom” by making sure they do not think as Peter (humans) do nor develop such an earthly frame of mind that they are susceptible to temptations such as those presented by the devil (which Jesus—and we—are only able to resist when we remember our places in God’s family and therefore seek to gain and understand God’s kingdom and love, and not “to gain the whole [earthly] world.”)

  19. Lydia Fuller • 3:20–3:42 LYDIA FULLER Formal Respondent: ERIC BURTON-KRIEGER • Jessie Light • Skyler Hutto • Megan Yohe • Bryanna Jew • Jon Snape

  20. RESPONSES • 1) Read your leader’s handout and identify in it the TWO distinct root-problems in your leader’s handout … DO YOU AGREE • 2)  Learning something about THE CONTEXT YOU HAVE CHOSEN FOR YOUR PAPER with the help of your leader, by looking at YOUR CHOSEN CONTEXT from the perspective of a different root-problem: • Choosing in your leader’s handout among the two rootproblems discussed the root-problem which is DIFFERENT from the rootproblem you identified in the context you presented in YOUR OWN PROPOSAL show how this different root-problem also applies TO YOUR CONTEXT (indeed, it necessarily applies).  • Show how THE TEACHINGformulated by your leader to address this different rootproblem APPLY TO YOUR CONTEXT (as adjusted).  Does it effectively overcome this DIFFERENT rootproblem in your context?  If not, how could it be made sharper?  Did your leader choose the most effective role of scripture?  If not, what other role of scripture would be more effective to address the given rootproblem. 

  21. ERIC’s Response to Lydia 1) • Two root problems: Lydia’s root-problem Wrong Vision ; Carter’s Wrong Ideology. • I agree with Lydia that Carter’s root-problem is one of wrong ideology and that he employs scripture as a family album in order to correct for this. Carter is transparent in his application of a liberationist lens to the text. At first I wondered if Carter’s root problem was wrong vision but his use of scripture seems to so clearly be family album that this makes wrong ideology a better fit as the root-problem he is addressing. Scripture is not functioning as a corrective for Carter but rather helping those who would follow Christ to understand that they have a new identity that calls them to the work of liberation.

  22. ERIC’s Response to Lydia 1) • In 16:21-26 Carter understands Jesus first to be telling the disciples about God’s purposes for him (vv. 21-24a) and then describing the challenge this poses for them (vv. 24b-26). This challenge involves identification with those on the margins (v. 24 “take up the cross and follow”) and to stand against elites who would oppress (v. 25 “lose one’s life for my sake.”) A new identity is being offered if the disciples will follow. Carter pp 361-362 • Chapter 18:1-7 is rendered closely in line with the interpretation that Lydia utilizes in her teaching. Vv. 1-5 point out “that the alternative community lives as marginal children” and that vv. 6-9, “members do not cause one another to stumble.” Digging deeper, we find that choosing a child as a “visual aid” emphasizes how vulnerable and humble (a social-location of powerlessness) that the disciples are and how this flies in the face of the cultural values of the day. As vv. 6-7 continue, Jesus offers words of disapproval towards the wider culture that oppresses and specifically those who lead others away from the new identity of resistance they find in Christ. Again, a new identity for all those who call themselves disciples of Christ is emphasized. Carter pp 362-363

  23. ERIC’s Response to Lydia 2) My context & different rootproblem • Briefly, my context is that of a mission trip that has just returned from Haiti made up of members of my congregation. They have returned and are trying to make meaning out of their experience as it calls them to live back in the US. • If my root-problem were to shift to become wrong ideology, I might adjust my context so that our mission team returns believing that their call in the name of Christ is to focus exclusively on Haiti as the source of their missional work. Perhaps this is motivated out of a sense that folks there have it so much worse than we do and so that is the place we should be focusing our efforts. In this case their wrong ideology is one that limits them to only see the needs/God’s Spirit at work in one location. Using scripture as a family album with the texts I choose would allow for my congregation to wrestle Jesus’ definition of love of neighbor for those who would follow him. This pushes up against an almost exclusive focus on one specific community.

  24. ERIC’s Response to Lydia 3) Lydia’s teaching to my context: • Lydia and I share root-problems and uses of scripture, and the broader points of her teaching could fit fairly well within my context. My focus is on a group who has had a profound experience of God’s reign and need this new vision to be confirmed and their old vision corrected through scripture. Here, teaching them to see the world through God’s eyes (perhaps as a child) could be helpful in looking for where God is at work in new places and faces. Lydia’s focus on not contributing to the stumbling of others seems less pertinent, other than perhaps to invite this group to think about the kind of impact this change of focus could have on other groups in our church. The broad arc however, to see the world through new eyes as Jesus does rather than getting caught up on our earthly reality—is one that would probably translate in almost any context!

  25. ERIC’s Response to Lydia 3) Lydia’s teaching to my context: • I feel that the root-problem in my context could be addressed through Lydia’s teaching and that she has identified the most effective role of scripture in her context. If there was a way to strengthen her teaching it might be to revisit her scripture passages and see if that are others that might strengthen her teaching. I think that scripture could continue to be used as corrective glasses but to help her build a stronger case.

  26. DP’s short response to Lydia Fuller • Carter’s context=marginalized Christians who believe that they as a community are helpless and hopeless, and who are therefore living without a sense of any higher purpose and with an overall feeling of defeat. • Yes. Teaching: changes their ideology into one of hope for the future rather than despair about the present. Yes. • But also: positive: Being marginalized is the way of life called for/demanded from the Christian community…A COUNTER-CULTURAL LIFE • Applies to MANY MANY CONTEXTS besides a Mom’s attitude toward her daughter

  27. W. Scott Jamieson • 3:42-4:04 W. SCOTT JAMIESON Matt16:24-28, 17:16-21, 5:3-14 Formal Respondent DAVID CHOI • Monica Weber • Whitney Mitchell • Brenda Durham • John Suk • Jill Brown • Kyle Frohock

  28. W. Scott Jamieson • Matthew 16:24 - 17:1 24 Then Jesus told his disciples, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? 27 "For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. 28 Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."

  29. W. Scott Jamieson • Matthew 17:16-20 16 And I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him." 17 Jesus answered, "You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him here to me." 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not cast it out?" 20 He said to them, "Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you."

  30. W. Scott Jamieson 1 • Context: Group of very successful Christian businessmen, who for years have met regularly, have reached midlife and are becoming aware that they may not be living true Christian lives. They attend church, tithe regularly, and are active in their community. Yet, they have a growing sense of disconnection from their families, a sense of meaninglessness, and worry about their futures despite their obvious outer signs of success and achievement. • Root problem: Lack of Faith • Role of Scripture: Corrective Glasses

  31. W. Scott Jamieson 2 Teaching Summary: • The men need to understand that life in society has seduced them to believe that the pursuit of individual rewards, rather than pursuing the Kingdom of Heaven, is false and explains their feelings. Their worship of the ideology of capitalism (lack of wrong faith) needs to be replaced by a deeper Faith in God to provide for them.Their focus on capitalism must be relinquished in order to see, through the texts, the purpose of their lives differently by seeing God at work in their life context (corrective glasses). The men must deny themselves (16:24) and lose their old lives in order to save it, (16:25) by placing God above material gain for them to achieve their objectives of meaningful lives, less worry, humility, and living a Christian life. They have lost their lives by focusing on material gains (16:26.)

  32. W. Scott Jamieson 2b Teaching Summary: • The Beatitudes (5:3-12) provide a strong pathway for the men to follow: humility, meekness, merciful, thirst for justice, etc. are the antithesis of the modern economic culture in which the men thrived. By seeing in their life-context that the humble, meek, merciful, thirsty for justice, are indeed blessed by God, they can then focus on the theme of discipleship the men become “resocialized” as they Imitate Christ and “acquire a new identity as sharing Christ’s vision of the Kingdom. (CDC)”

  33. W. Scott Jamieson 2c Teaching Summary: continued • The path is difficult and requires strong faith. The exorcism story in Matthew 17:14-21 points out how easy it is to lack enough faith to follow this path. The father, who presented his son for healing to Jesus showed a faith stronger (Lord, have mercy on my son, 17:15) than that of the disciples who could not heal the boy (why: because of your little faith, 17:20). In their current situation the men are more like the disciples whose focus on capitalism makes them “a faithless and perverse generation” (17:17.) When the businessmen see themselves as the manin this text they can see how their own deepened faith will receive this same kind of healing to their “possessed lives.” The men can achieve their desired lives through their Faith (if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, 17:20) as they contribute to the Kingdom of Heaven using the many gifts they have been given (nothing will be impossible for you, 17:20). With this deeper faith the men can see themselves in the story of another local businessmen who found himself in similar circumstances not long ago: he sold his business and became a missionary in Guatemala. He has been adequately cared for by God for more than a decade.

  34. W. Scott Jamieson 3 • Commentators View:Daniel Harrington views the intent of Matthew’s Gospel as proving Jesus’ Jewishness. He does so because it has been often co-opted as an anti-Semitic text. His commentary on the Beatitudes, for example, cites similarities with the wisdom books of the Hebrew Bible. He draws this firm distinction: “the assumption of the wisdom books is that virtue or good actions are rewarded in the present” whereas the Beatitudes “promise fullness of life in God’s Kingdom. . .primarily eschatological.” So, his claim is that Jesus takes Jewish teachings and expands them. This suggests to me the root problem he addresses is wrong ideology.

  35. W. Scott Jamieson 4 • Impact of Harrington’s root problem on Jamieson’s context: To use the root problem of wrong ideology suggests the businessmen need to adjust their focus on what they believe is the source of power in their lives. They need only move from participating in the capitalism system to a more God centered approach to life to gain the lives they state they want. Wrong ideology suggests that the men currently have sufficient faith to make this transition without worry.

  36. W. Scott Jamieson 5 • Teaching that results from Harrington’s root problem on revised context: I think the new teaching can still use corrective glasses as the role of scripture to address the wrong ideology. The result is a teaching that is very similar to the current instruction with one key exception: In my teaching the emphasis on Faith is critical to make it work and achieve the end the men are looking for. That Faith plays a significant role is indicated by the use of the term “worship of capitalism.” This suggests God’s role is secondary. Thus, the original teaching has been modified below to remove this key term and remove the entire section on Faith. Changes are shown with strike-throughs and bold type.

  37. W. Scott Jamieson 5b • The men need to understand that life in society has seduced them to believe that the pursuit of individual rewards, rather than pursuing the Kingdom of Heaven, is false and explains their feelings. Their worship ofparticipation in the ideology of capitalism (lack of faith) needs to be replaced by a deeper Faith in God to provide for themby a focus on a new way of living that is illustrated in the Beatitudes.Their focus on capitalism must be relinquished in order to see, through the texts, the purpose of their lives differently (corrective glasses). The men must deny themselves (16:24) and lose their old lives in order to save it, (16:25) by placing God above material gain for them to achieve their objectives of meaningful lives, less worry, humility, and living a Christian life. They have lost their lives by focusing on material gains (16:26.)

  38. W. Scott Jamieson 5c • The Beatitudes (5:3-12) provide a strong pathway for the men to follow: humility, meekness, merciful, thirst for justice, etc. are the antithesis of the modern economic culture in which the men thrived. By seeing in their life-context that the humble, meek, merciful, thirsty for justice, are indeed blessed by God, they can then focus on By focusing on the theme of discipleship the men become “resocialized” as they Imitate Christ and “acquire a new identity as sharing Christ’s vision of the Kingdom. (CDC)”

  39. W. Scott Jamieson • 3:42-4:04 W. SCOTT JAMIESON Matt16:24-28, 17:16-21, 5:3-14 Formal Respondent DAVID CHOI • Monica Weber • Whitney Mitchell • Brenda Durham • John Suk • Jill Brown • Kyle Frohock

  40. DP & W. Scott Jamieson • You hesitated between • Corrective Glasses • Family Album

  41. James Armes • 4:10-4:32 JAMES ARMES Matt 17:14-20; 6:25-34 Formal Respondent MICHAEL BROADNAX • Conrad Quiros • Bryant Holt • James Hendricks • Taylor Schomp • Chad Gurley

  42. James Armes Matt 17:14-20; 6:25-34 • Matthew 17:16-20 16 And I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him." 17 Jesus answered, "You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him here to me." 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not cast it out?" 20 He said to them, "Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you."

  43. James Armes Context & Rootproblem • Context: A first-year M.Div student sat in her wheelchair listening to the professor lecture on the various definitions of the word “faith.” As each description was offered, her anxiety slowly mounted, hoping that the professor’s lecture would offer some level of solace for her “affliction.” … After garnering the courage, she spoke and said, “My pastor told me that if I had enough faith, I would not be in this wheelchair. Does God love me? Can I have an active faith and assist in ushering in God’s kingdom?” • Root Problem:Wrong Ideology. The young lady has encountered a distorted ideology concerning faith, which asserts that with enough faith, God will cure all human ills. Even though she has been an avid reader of the Bible and believes she has been called by God to ministry, she has been plagued by a completely distorted ideology of faith. For this reason, my choice for the Role of Scripture is Corrective Glasses.

  44. James Armes Teaching 1 • Teaching: Although I believe healing is a gift from God, the idea of “belief” as the impetus to healing often creates a heavy-burden of guilt for the suffering person, paints God as a malevolent, uncaring God, and creates apathy and complacency among Christian believers. However, through my interpretation of Matthew 6:25-34 and 17:14-20, faith and healing can be clearly understood as a call to active discipleship as agents of Christ.

  45. James Armes Teaching 2 • Through a set of Corrective Glasses, the young lady will garner a more appropriate understanding of faith, which offers here a vision of God’s unconditional loving presence in her life, regardless of her disability. • By offering ailing or physically challenged people a new way to “heal,” they are offered a more correct understanding of healing, thus creating personal wholeness. In addition, describing healing as both mind and body, the young lady in the wheelchair is afforded an opportunity to see that in her particular situation, healing first comes from the mind, which then allows her to accept and make peace with her physical disability, therefore creating personal wholeness. In addition, she is enabled to be not only an inspiration to others, but also a faithful follower of Jesus by educating others as to what faith enables a person to accomplish.

  46. James Armes Davies & Allison • Scholar’s Different Root-Problem: W.D. Davies and Dale C. Allison’s root-problem for Matthew 6:19-34 is Wrong Faith/Vision. Davies and Allison focuses on an eschatological understanding that the Christian believer “…shall find its reward in heaven” (632). However, the believer with the correct faith/vision understands that if he is focused on heaven, he will produce fruit worthy of heaven. In addition, with their interpretative emphasis focused on symbolic treasure, along with their assertion that one should have his heart or mind set on things above, not below, Davies and Allison stress the need for a clear faith/vision. Furthermore, in Davies and Allison’s interpretation of 17:14-20, they assert that, “[i]n Matthew the lesson is not what Jesus can do but what his followers can do,” which leads to the followers of Jesus being included in the “family” and stresses the need for a clear faith/vision leading to kingdom work (D and A pg. 720). Moreover, their interpretation presupposes the Role of Scripture as a Family Album.

  47. James Armes Diverging Rootproblem • Diverging Root-Problem: In adjusting my context to Davies and Allison’s root problem of Wrong Faith/Vision, the young lady, as well as the pastor, must be made aware that their idea of faith is distorted. To have faith is not to seek physical healing or worrying about how our bodies appear; instead, faith is actively striving for God’s Kingdom. • Because of the wrong faith/vision, the young lady has understood that faith leads to physical healing. Furthermore, she has understood that because of her inability to rise from the wheelchair she has been shunned by God. However, in presenting her with the correct faith/vision, she is made aware of God’s unconditional love, and she receives an accurate understanding of faith. This new understanding “to strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness…” as part of the family in Christ; hence, the family album.

  48. RESPONSES • 1) Read your leader’s handout and identify in it the TWO distinct root-problems in your leader’s handout … DO YOU AGREE • 2)  Learning something about THE CONTEXT YOU HAVE CHOSEN FOR YOUR PAPER with the help of your leader, by looking at YOUR CHOSEN CONTEXT from the perspective of a different root-problem: • Choosing in your leader’s handout among the two rootproblems discussed the root-problem which is DIFFERENT from the rootproblem you identified in the context you presented in YOUR OWN PROPOSAL show how this different root-problem also applies TO YOUR CONTEXT (indeed, it necessarily applies).  • Show how THE TEACHINGformulated by your leader to address this different rootproblem APPLY TO YOUR CONTEXT (as adjusted).  Does it effectively overcome this DIFFERENT rootproblem in your context?  If not, how could it be made sharper?  Did your leader choose the most effective role of scripture?  If not, what other role of scripture would be more effective to address the given rootproblem. 

  49. Michael D. Broadnax, Sr. Response to James Armes 1 • James sees Wrong Ideology as the root problem in his contextual problem. This is an accurate interpretation of the problem because of the student’s misinterpretation and incorrect application of the faith ideology. He surmises that Davies and Allison offer Wrong Faith/Vision as the root problem for Matthew 6:19-34. I agree completely that Wrong Faith/Vision is Davies and Allison’s root problem. James uses accurate and strong evidence for his position. • Carter posits a Wrong Ideology, probably initiated by wrong knowledge, as the root problem in Matthew. Carter’s commentary on Matthew 6:21 divulges this perspective. “The heart is the center of human commitment and decisions; see 5:8, 28. The unjust accumulation of goods reflects a heart committed to them.” Carter states in his introduction that he posits the gospel of Matthew as a “counter-narrative.”

  50. Michael D. Broadnax, Sr. Response to James Armes 2 • I could probably posit a Wrong Faith/Vision as the root problem of my contextual situation without significantly altering the context. My Inner City congregation with their incorrect purpose of Evangelism and misplaced goals could stem from an incorrect “faith or symbolic world shared by all the members in the community.” Wrong Faith and belief naturally lead to a Wrong Ideology. The scriptures themselves teach that what I believe comes directly from what I hear; therefore, what I believe determines what I do and why I do it.