“Jesus is asked 183 questions directly in the four Gospels. He only answered three of them forthrightly. The others he either ignored, kept silent about, asked a question in return, changed the subject, told a story or gave an audio/visual aid to make his point, told them it was the wrong question, revealed their insincerity or hypocrisy, made the exactly opposite point, or redirected the question elsewhere!
Check it out for yourself. He himself asks 307 questions, which would seem to set a pattern for imitation. Considering this, it is really rather amazing that the church became an official answering machine and a very self assured program for ‘sin management’.
Many, if not most, of Jesus' teaching would never pass contemporary orthodoxy tests in either the Roman Office or the Southern Baptist Convention. Most of his statements are so open to misinterpretation that should he teach today, he would probably be called a ‘relativist’ in almost all areas except one: his insistence upon the goodness and reliability of God. That was his only consistent absolute.”
Franciscan priest Richard Rohr, writing in Third Way magazine (summer 2006, Vol 29 No 6, page 27).
With thanks to Malcolm Chamberlain for bringing it to my attention.
“The fear and rejection of doubt as a legitimate part of faith can be seen at its most stark in the twentieth-century Church’s obsession with the area of apologetics…Legal terminology is often employed within this apologetic discourse so as to give the impression that Christianity can be proven beyond all reasonable doubt by a cold and objective analysis of the empirical evidence for its claims. Broadly speaking, we can identify two types of apologetic procedure employed by the Church: word and wonder. The first of these builds an apologetic case via the use of reason so as to logically convince the other that Christianity is compelling and must be accepted by anyone who wishes to be rational. The second builds an apologetic case via the use of the miraculous in order to demonstrate to the other that they ought to believe. Because of their compelling nature, these apologetic strategies can be termed ‘power discourses’…
…This type of discourse endeavours to compel individuals to bow their knee regardless of their motives or the nature of their desire. Like a lover of nuts who is offered thousands of shells with no centre, so we offer to God thousands of ‘converts’ with no heart…
…Instead of religious discourse being a type of drink designed to satisfy our thirst for answers, Jesus made his teaching salty, evoking thirst. Instead of offering a scientific explanation that would convince, or publicizing the miracles so as to compel his listeners, Jesus engaged in a poetic discourse that spoke to the heart of those who would listen. In a world where people believe they are not hungry, we must not offer food but rather an aroma that helps them desire the food that we cannot provide. We are a people who are born from a response to hints of the divine. Not only this, but we must embrace the idea that we are also called to be hints of the divine.”
Peter Rollins, How (Not) To Speak Of God, pp. 35-37
questions , apologetics , aroma , emerging church , spirituality