Toorak Uniting Church

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Tales of Passion - Politicised Religion

Lenten Studies
Rev. Dr Ron Savage
4 April 2006

It has been well said that God has no grandchildren. Each generation must come to faith for themselves and each generation makes changes to its ways of expressing faith and expressing appreciation for salvation. Change is not always easy and stagnation and generativity are ever in contest. Jesus was and is a challenge to regenerate faith and life style and a rebuke to complacency. But there is always the temptation to think we are good enough if not better than most.

St Luke 6: 1 – 11     St Luke 15: 1 – 7

Letter of Complaint from Scribes and Pharisees

From the elders and leaders in the synagogues of Aramathea, Lydda, Emmaus, Orpha, Horoth and Socoh in the ancient presbytery of Bethel.

To the venerable assembly of the Sanhedrin.

Your humble servants respectfully show that there has appeared in our district an itinerant preacher Jesus of Nazareth, son of Joseph.

Your servants therefore pray your reverend court

Signed by
Haman Melech, Chairman.
Samson of the Gate, Secretary.



Letter of Complaint – The Reply

From the General Board of the Sanhedrin

To the esteemed synagogues of Aramathea, Lydda, Emmaus, Orpha, Horoth and Socoh in the ancient presbytery district of Bethel.

Representatives were commissioned to observe and consult with the Nazarene and those who seem to be under his influence. Although some representatives were intrigued by this man's prophetic style and authority our majority report is as follows:

That his teachings be carefully examined in light of ancient traditions and holy scriptures by the Doctrine Committee of the Sanhedrin, especially in regard to:

Baptism and rebirth
religion and politics
wealth and use of resources
the position of women
reverence for the sacred
and the hereafter.

The findings of the Committee to be published in all our places of worship and teaching.

We strongly recommend that until this report is issued, before he gets a foothold, all congregations dissuade him from operating in any part of their parishes or Presbytery district as did the people of Gaderine where he did great economic harm to the agricultural industry which lost its licence to produce pork for the Gentile market.

We are concerned that so many of your number are in sympathy with this man and critical of your appointed spiritual advisers and teachers. We exhort those among you of that mind to repent and return from the error of their ways to the traditions of their forefathers as interpreted by the rabbis of old and of which we are appointed guardians.

We recommend that wherever the Nazarene appears your office bearers should appoint learned men of the holy law to question him publicly and expose his ignorance and eccentricities before all the people.

We regret the man's confusion of religion and politics and warn against any form of civil disobedience at this sensitive time. Any encouragement to sedition or tax evasion should be reported at once to the state authorities.

We advise, further, that any who persist in claiming to have experienced physical or spiritual healing at this man's hands be banned from our places of worship as deceivers, mischief makers, self seekers or dabblers in sorcery.

We deem it to be an utter abomination that it might be suggested that spiritual or physical nourishment could come from human flesh or blood and we utterly abhor and condemn any suggestion of human sacrifice of any kind.

Other measures have been put in hand, in consultation with the civil authorities and security forces, should it become necessary to protect the interests of our people and the security of the Holy Temple: for as one of the prophets said, it may be better for one man to perish than the whole nation.

Signed by
Pua son of Dodo.
Jephthah the Zealous.


A MINORITY REPORT
From Certain Members of the Investigating Committee of the General Board of the Sanhedrin

While sharing the reservations expressed about the Nazarene by the majority of the General Board and many local presbyteries we report after face to face investigation of the man and intensive deliberation.

We find that his teaching has constant themes with which we can only agree. For example :

Such wisdom we wish were better heeded and lived out.

We find

Brethren beware lest you be found in contest with God himself. AMEN SHALOM.

signed on behalf of a minority,
Joseph of Aramathea.
Nichodemus.

© Rev. Dr Ron Savage, 2006


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