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3320Re: Jesus and the Law

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  • Irvin Lee McClendon, Sr.
    Jan 9, 2005
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      Dear Bro. Alex,

      Wow, it looks like I've got a big backlog of messages to read since I
      became a new member of this Yahoo! group.

      I grew up in a very homophobic, sabbatarian denomination, viz.,
      Church of God (Seventh Day); and though some of its members are very
      legalistic in their sabbath observance, most of them I believe view
      sabbath observance as a blessing and not as a burden. I am now a
      member of the United Methodist Church, and I am working as best I
      know how to help move my local congregation in Orange County,
      California toward a more welcoming acceptance of me and my 4.5-year-
      long relationship with my partner, James.

      I've recently begun a master's degree program in counseling
      psychology at Trinity College of Graduate Studies in Anaheim, and I
      hope eventually to become a licensed marriage and familty therapist
      (LMFT) in California. In the meantime, Jim and I are working on
      a "prenuptial" agreement with an eye toward registering under the new
      California law, AB205, for Registered Domestic Partnerships. We also
      are looking forward to the day when same-sex marriage will be legal
      in California; perhaps even this year or next if AB19 is passed by
      our state legislature and signed into law by the governor.

      Best wishes for a very happy New Year 2005!

      Grace & Peace,
      {:-)>
      Lee McClendon, Sr.

      Assistant Southwestern Regional Director
      Scouting for All

      2nd Tenor
      Men Alive--The Orange County Gay Men's Chourus

      Interfaith Liason
      Orange County PFLAG


      --- In exexgayministry@yahoogroups.com, nyguy_1225 <no_reply@y...>
      wrote:
      >
      > As I go through the NT again for a 30-week class I'm taking, I'm
      > struck time and again by how often and how badly those in both
      > Jesus' and Paul's presence missed what they were trying to teach
      > about the Law.
      >
      > Paul repeatedly taught that no man is ever justified by observing
      > the Law [Gal 2:15-16]. In fact, he reminded us that part of the
      > reason the Law was given was to show us we were utterly incapable
      of
      > keeping it [Rom 3:20].
      >
      > Jesus said that he came to fulfill the law but by fulfilling it he
      > didn't mean leaving it as it was. No sooner had he said this that
      > he said "you have heard it said but I say unto you..."
      >
      > So what was Jesus' relationship to the Law? He did not abrogate or
      > get rid of the Law, for that would have made him a heretic and a
      > false prophet. He did three things:
      >
      > (1) CORRECT: He corrected the popular misunderstanding about the Law
      > (2) CLARIFY: He clarified its true meaning
      > (3) COMPLETE: Then he completed it
      >
      > Significantly, Jesus never applied any law in a wooden or
      > literalistic way, as many are still quick to do today. Rather, he
      > looked at and spoke about the original purpose of it. The radical
      > consequences which resulted from Jesus looking at the Sabbath, for
      > example, in this way are clear in all the gospels. He blatantly
      > disregarded the onerous rabbinical interpretations of what Sabbath
      > observance required on the grounds that the institution was
      intended
      > to be a blessing and not a burden [Mk 2:27]. The the application
      of
      > those same interpretive principles to the few passages many
      > Christians still use for their anti-gay theology, by the way, would
      > similarly lead to more compassionate conclusions regarding
      > homosexuality.
      >
      > Jesus provided a very important hermeneutic tool to help his
      > followers negotiate their way through moral debates about OT law.
      > He identified one Levitical command as the key to understanding the
      > rationale behind all the others. Quoting Leviticus 19:18, He
      > said: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
      >
      > This suggests that, when trying to determine why an OT law was
      given
      > and what its relevance is to a modern Christian, two vital
      questions
      > must be asked:
      >
      > (1) What HARM to neighbor was this command intended to PREVENT?
      > (2) What GOOD to neighbor was this command intended to PROMOTE?
      >
      > And though Lev 19:18 was not all that popular in the days of the
      OT,
      > it is THE verse from the Torah (or first five books of the Bible)
      > that is the most frequently cited in the NT. It's a summary and a
      > fulfilling of the Law that was repeatedly referred to by Jesus,
      Paul
      > and James.
      >
      > -Alex
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