Let me start with Energion author Bruce Epperly, who blogs at The Adventurous Lectionary. I always find his perspective on these texts interesting and challenging. Overall, he describes this lectionary as dealing with the authority of prophets and world spiritual leaders.
We can experience inner authority by aligning ourselves with God?s vision of the future, and while we can?t know the exact nature of everlasting life, our vision of eternity is intended to be lived out fully in this lifetime. Jesus shares his authority by reinterpreting a puzzling question in a new and creative way.
I think his perspective on the passage in Luke, regarding the woman who was the wife of seven brothers successively, to be particularly interesting:
Eternity is about experience and a sense of divine presence, not chronology, whether this involves Jesus? Second Coming or our own post-mortem journeys.
Be sure to read the whole thing.
In a bit of a contrast, my wife Jody titles her discussion of the passages When We All Get to Heaven. But when you get to her conclusion, perhaps the difference in perspective is not as great as it first appeared:
As my granddaughter reminded me, I have much to do here yet. God has given me a race to run, a mission in His Kingdom. But it?s a good thing to take time to consider and imagine what heaven will be like and joyfully look forward to seeing my LORD and the cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1) who have gone before me.
Bob Cornwall, another Energion author, focuses on the question most congregants are likely to ask: Will there be marriage in heaven? He titles his post No Marriage in Heaven? Oh My!, thus also catching the probable attitude of most of the questioners. But the Sadducees, he contends, despite the form of their question, were not primarily interested in marriage as such, but rather with security. How will we be secure in the coming kingdom?
I’ve commented before that ignoring what the Bible actually is does not respect the text, whether God is the author in a direct sense, or the one who inspired it, we still need to see it as it is if we are to respect that revelation. And I suspect that respecting it is essentially to actually receiving the revelation intended.
I have not, however, said it as bluntly as Mike Beidler, quoted by James McGrath.
I would note that Mike Beidler is a contributor to the recent Energion title From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls.
I add some comments to those of another blogger over on my Participatory Bible Study blog. This passages speaks to our understanding of what inspiration and god-breathed actually mean in practice.
Of course, I must bring forth my graduate school paper on Psalm 104 whenever it’s in the lectionary. I’ll also make my standard complaint. I’ll never be happy with parts of a Psalm. Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35c? That’s tearing apart a highly structured and beautiful piece of poetry. Take the time to read the whole thing!
I’m currently checking over the proofs for Bruce Epperly’s new book Healing Marks before they go to the author for his approval. Bruce provides a truly challenging approach to scripture and theology. His comments on Proper 24B, especially dealing with the relationship between love and omnipotence, will enhance your understanding of these passages, I believe.
Process and Faith on Proper 24B
Scot McKnight has a post asking this question, starting from a book he’s read. This is a few days old, but that just adds more discussion in the comments!
Just in case anyone wonders, my position–the position I argue for in my book–is that God still speaks today. In fact, my aim in the book was to provide a coherent and simple theology for understanding how God speaks at any time and place.
One of the problems I have with the word “inerrancy” is that it is understood in very different ways. If I were to ask most people in my home church what biblical inerrancy means, they would probably conflate it with certain literalistic renderings.
I disagree with the doctrine of biblical inerrancy, even as laid out in the Chicago statement, for example, but it is important in debating for, about, or against this doctrine to define how one is using the term.
Jacob Allee writes a post in the context of the controversy over Mike Licona. Norman Geisler, amongst others, has accused Licona of denying biblical inerrancy for suggesting that the raising of the saints in Matthew might be apocalyptic language and not literally true. (I write about this and provide some links here.)
I appreciate his simplified definition, which I do think is good, and much closer to what you would expect a biblical scholar to mean when referring to the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. He also distinguishes interpretation from the actual text, which is a valuable point.
None of this changes my mind, but I think it all clarifies the debate.
Bob Cornwall has some great meditations on the lectionary texts for Epiphany 4B, which relate to the topic of When People Speak for God.
The emphasis is on hearing. I maintain that hearing is most often neglected. We often debate about whether the word is inerrant while ignoring whether our understanding of it can ever be inerrant. If we do not understand without error, of what value is an inerrant text?