Jesus, in the world's terms, had no power, says Bishop Eugene Sutton. Video courtesy of Trinity Television and New Media.
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If Jesus, in the world's terms, had no power as Bishop Sutton claims, why did people leave their work and families to follow him? Why did the members of his hometown synagogue find his claims so threatening that they sought to kill him? Why did the Pharisees follow and criticize both him and his followers? Why did large crowds follow him into the wilderness, oblivious of their own needs for food? Why did the Temple authorities and the Sanhedrin seek his death? Why was Pilate so unnerved that he ordered Jesus' execution rather than risk an uprising in Jerusalem?
So, what is the substance of the bishop's claim? Is this just a straw man to be toppled by homiletical rhetoric?
It sounds good as a starter, but will not bear much scrutiny.
Phillip Cato |
September 13, 2008 9:19 PM
Philip, did you and I listen to the same recording? Bishop Sutton simply said that there is a difference between "power" and "authority." Every example you listed came from Jesus' divine authority, not his (non-existent) worldly power. I get his point, how come you don't?
TJ Hudson |
September 17, 2008 3:56 PM
It is precisely because I do get the point that I responded as I did. This power/authority juxtaposition is a distinction without a difference. At best, a rhetorical device.
You may recall the avalanche of literature on sexual misconduct several years ago (Karen Lebacqz, et. al.) which repeatedly made the point that the authority given to clergy by the church or by their parishioners constitutes real power which, unfortunately, can be exploited.
If you have any military experience you know that authority constitutes power, real no fooling worldly power.
I will grant that one does not have authority, unless it is granted or conferred by one with more authority, but that in no way diminishes the power this authority carries. Have you ever met a Marine drill Sargeant?
Of course Jesus' authority was divinely conferred, but once possessed, was power in every sense of the word, hence capable of producing and provoking the responses I enumerated.
What apparently both you and Bishop Sutton are doing is imposing your own somewhat circumscribed definition upon worldly power. You define it by its source, and I understand it by its phenomenological acts and results.
Power, including conferred authority, is not an abstract idea; it is something which is transferred into action and is experienced. Until that happens, it is ethically and practically irrelevant.
Phillip Cato |
September 18, 2008 1:16 PM
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