- To make the story of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection more accessible to post-modern people, given their world view.
- To highlight the human Jesus of the earthly ministry against the God-Man presented in the canonical gospels (especially in John).
- To highlight that Jesus was a Jew. This will entail using Hebrew/Aramaic proper names and terms for God.
- To redefine the traditional Kingdom of God/Heaven in inclusive concepts and terminology.
- To assert the role of women in Jesus' ministry and the early Church. This role was certainly not represented well in the gospels because of the patriarchal prejudice held by those in Jesus' day and in the second or third generation Christians who wrote the gospels.
- To set the record straight, that the Pharisees were not “the bad guys" and why they were portrayed that way.
- To set the record straight, that the Sadducees were “the bad guys," who had Jesus killed and why they were not picked on as much as the Pharisees.
- To set the record straight, that Pontius Pilate was a brutal governor, portrayed as reluctant to kill Jesus because early Christians did not want to anger Rome.
This made sense for their time, trying to prove Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, in a pagan world with many God-Men myths. Today however, for many post-modern people it presents problems. We can without argument assume Jesus was human, but to assume that he was self-aware of his Father’s entire plan or, more difficult yet, that he had the awareness of God, interferes with us hearing Jesus’ real message—the good news of the kingdom of heaven. My guiding principles for discerning scriptures are found in the preeminent New Testament scholar, Günther Bornkamm’s book Jesus of Nazareth (1960) written for layperson and scripture scholar alike. I highly recommend it; you can buy it for less than $10 at Abebooks.com.
More introduction to come in the next several posts. And I want to thank my wife, Annette, for her feedback and editing.