I am a fan of balance. I follow Aristotle's principle of the Golden Mean. Take a finite line of let's say - 10 inches. Divide that in half and you get 5. Measure 5 inches from the left side of the line and you should reach the center. Now measure 5 inches from the right side in and you should reach the same point of center (unless maybe you are doing the "new" math....LOL). That is the Golden Mean. Paul talked about the same concept in Philippians 4:5 when he said "Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand."
I have said before here that we need to achieve a balance between the gospels and the epistles. So-called Red Letter Christians, as many of the emergents are, are simply re-warmed liberal Protestants, because they do the same thing. And what is that? They are in the gospels more than the epistles so they can DO what Jesus said. But the foundational theology which is the foundation of WHAT they should do is missing. On the other hand, we have the Reformationalists who are in the epistles but seemed to be confused about what to do with the gospels.
I would like to offer three clues to help synthesize both gospels and epistles.
1) Understand that Jesus was talking at times to four groups of people. I've noticed during my long years of being a Christian that many pastors and teachers confuse these. Sometimes Jesus was talking to the Jewish people and what He said only applies to them. At other times He was talking to the Jewish leaders only. Remember, that both of these groups were still under Law. So when Jesus said to the Jewish leaders "You tithe and so you should...." he wasn't instituting a law for the church. He was simply observing a truth of the Law that they were still under.
At other times Jesus was talking to the future church, especially when He talked to his disciples alone. And at other times he was talking to or about the whole world - that is, everyone.
2) I've noticed that Red-letter Christians often ignore the miracles and healings Jesus did. Or,they "metaphor" them. For example, they might say that Jesus healed people to show He wants to heal the world of poverty and injustice through us Christians. On the other hand, outside the Pentecostal/Charismatic groups, most "epistle" churches don't acknowledge the miracles today at all. In other words, in their view, Jesus has changed, contrary to Hebrews 13:8 which says, "Jesus, yesterday, today and forever." They say most miracles ceased after the last Apostle died. But if one reads those who knew the Apostles or were discipled by those who did, in the second century, there are several references in their writings about healings and miracles occurring.
3) Those following N.T. Wright's teachings (emergents, etc.) don't seem to believe that the epistles are Jesus' teachings carried out AFTER His death. So, in order for their MIND to synthesize the epistles with the gospels, they have come up with what his called the New Perspective on Paul. Someday soon I will go into what this is, but it would be too long for today's post.
What triggered this post was a rather good post from the Internet Monk. You can read that post here. And, I recommend you do read it as it's not that long.
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