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Author Topic:   Living According to Christ: Is it Reasonable?
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 2 (591716)
11-15-2010 3:33 PM


2000 Years; 2000 Differences
I would like to discuss the teachings of the New Testament that instruct us on how to live. The specific question up for debate will be: given the difference between the mindset with which they were issued and the mindset with which we read them today, are such instructions reasonable and/or relevant in our present age?
The New Testament presents a lot of teachings telling people how to live and how to behave. These how to live teachings often ask that individuals disregard their earthly wealth and worries to live a life in devotion of Christ and God. But, of course, Jesus preached, and Paul believed, that the world was soon to end. And it appears that many of Jesus', and Paul's, how to live teachings seem specifically tied to this belief:
quote:
Matt. 5:33—48 (NRSV):
'Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, "You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord." But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.
Concerning Retaliation
'You have heard that it was said, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.
Love for Enemies
'You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy." But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
quote:
Matt. 6:19—21, 25—34 (NRSV):
'Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
The Sound Eye
...
'Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe youyou of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, "What will we eat?" or "What will we drink?" or "What will we wear?" For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
'So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today.
quote:
Mark 10:21—28 (NRSV):
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, 'You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.' When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, 'How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!' And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, 'Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.' They were greatly astounded and said to one another, 'Then who can be saved?' Jesus looked at them and said, 'For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.'
Peter began to say to him, 'Look, we have left everything and followed you.' Jesus said, 'Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this agehouses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutionsand in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.'
quote:
I Cor. 7:25—31 (NRSV):
Now concerning virgins, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. I think that, in view of the impending crisis, it is well for you to remain as you are. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a virgin marries, she does not sin. Yet those who marry will experience distress in this life, and I would spare you that. I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no possessions, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.
It is now 2000 years since these things were conceived, and the mindset with which they were conceived is no longer a part of mainstream Christianity. These teachings were given under the belief that the end times were soon to come; that our earthly lives should not be given so much attention; that all who believed would soon be taken care of.
This is not the mindset of today. Most do not count on a coming kingdom for their immediate needs, and live each day for the benefit of the next. In fact, many of these teachings have taken on a different importance in our present day: it is not that we give to rid ourselves, so we now believe, but rather to provide for others. But such an interpretation only addresses a small aspect of the teaching, and anyone living by such an interpretation is clearly failing to fulfill the teaching to the utmost. We are to rid ourselves of all earthly concerns, so these teachings say, and devote our life to Christ and God. Few live to this standard.
So, for this thread I would like to discuss these teachings of the New Testament that instruct us on how to livethe teachings that all seem based in the belief that the world will soon end. Given the difference between the mindset with which they were issued and the mindset with which we read them today, are such instructions reasonable and/or relevant in our present age?
In the 21st Century, is it reasonable to live like Christ commanded?
If it seemed reasonable then but not so much anymore, how do we reconcile this with what is written?
Jon
(somewhere in Social and Religious Issues, I suppose)
Edited by Jon, : Subtitle; edit to fix signature
Edited by Jon, : readability

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Message 2 of 2 (591736)
11-15-2010 5:07 PM


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