I have picked up John Howard Yoder’s “The Politics of Jesus” again. When I say “again,” I mean that I was forced to read some of it in college. I was a little snobby to it back then, because the author was not a calvinist.
I think his exegesis is really worth engaging. And he makes some great points about the way we handle Jesus as an ethical teacher.
He says – now remember this is Yoder now, not me-
…that one group of us (the Reformed) have tended to so spiritualize the meaning of anything that Jesus says, that we can ignore the practical day to day implications of the call of Jesus about things like economics, power politics and violence. Jesus, we say, was not here to tell me what to do with my money, he was here to tell me what to do with my heart. We instead have created an ethic of “what’s responsible and what’s necessary for survival,” but the source of our ethics is actually something we determine on our end of the hermeneutical work. We do what is “obviously right” according to our times and the needs of today’s responsible citizen. But that means the source of our ethic not only does not come from Jesus himself, but that it is given room to conflict comfortably with things Jesus outright said.
“…you cannot serve both God and money…”
“…turn the other cheek…”
“…those who live by the sword will die by the sword…”
“…lend without expecting anything in return…”
“…forgive and you will be forgiven…”
“…woe to you who are rich now, for you have already received your comfort…”
and so on…
Blah blah blah…
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