The Challenge of Diversity: The Witness of Paul and the Gospels

The Challenge of Diversity: The Witness of Paul and the Gospels

The Challenge of Diversity: The Witness of Paul and the Gospels

The Challenge of Diversity: The Witness of Paul and the Gospels

Synopsis

This book is addressed primarily to Christians of various denominations in the United States- to parishes, both laity and clergy, and to students. The book is useful in teaching, preaching, spiritual formation, and mission. Its aim is simply to be a source of Christian renewal at both the personal and the parish levels as together we seek to minister to one another and to the world. It is an invitation to reach beyond our own perspective and to embrace a wider circle of diverse viewpoints as legitimate expressions of the Christian life- both in the New Testament and in the contemporary church- and to be open to learn and grow from them.

Excerpt

We can gain renewal for the church by the study and proclamation of the different writings of the New Testament because different biblical traditions introduce us to fresh ways of considering the Christian walk, new ways to imagine being Christian. Until we experience the diversity in the New Testament, we will not fully appreciate either the challenge or the renewal possible from the biblical writings. What we say here applies equally well to the whole Bible, even though our focus will be on the New Testament.

Diversity in the New Testament

The New Testament is not one book. It is a collection of writings. the authors differ in their views of the human condition, in their understandings of the Christian life, and in their articulations of the work of Jesus as the Christ. Although the Gospels, especially the first three, have many similarities, they also have striking differences in their portraits of Jesus and their depictions of the Christian life. Paul's letters contain differing theologies because they were addressed to different churches. the catholic epistles— Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, Jude, and the letters of John—each have distinctive Christian perspectives. Needless to say, the book of Revelation is in a class by itself. For the most part, these writings were not general tracts addressed to a broad audience; rather, each writing emerged from a particular community and addressed a particular situation. We have no evidence to suggest that these writers were aware that their work would one day be treated as scripture and read broadly. Rather, the writers of the New Testament wrote at particular times, in particular places . . .

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