Archie Chi Chung Lee, 'Plurality and Mission in the Bible' in The People of God among all God's Peoples (Hong Kong and London: CCA & CWM, 2000), p. 66.
Archie Chi Chung Lee, 'Refiguring Religious Pluralism in the Bible' in P. L. Wickeri, J. K. Wickeri and D. M. A. Niles (eds.), Plurality, Power and Mission (London: CWM, 2000), p. 225. Archie Chi Chung Lee, 'Polyphonic Voices in the Bible' in P. L. Wickeri, Scripture, Community, and Mission (Hong Kong and London: CCA & CWM, 2002), pp. 182—97. Song, Third-Eye Theology, pp. 243—59. Whitehead, No Longer Strangers, p. 18. Ibid., p. 50.
church. When scripture was made into an authority independent of the church, it became possible to interpret it in other ways. There are various political issues in the contemporary world, not least the conflict in the Holy Land, where the Christian view of any notion of a 'promised land' needs to be affirmed. But the Christian understanding of the Old Testament, as distinct from a Jewish, Muslim or purely academic understanding is a much more complex question today. It reintroduces the question of the relative authority of scripture and church. One of the risks of inter-scriptural comparison, however fascinating it can often be, is that it presumes that the way each religious tradition regards its scriptures is the same. That is far from self-evident.
What also emerges from this reflection is that those who refer primarily to scripture often do so because of a distrust of the church - the her-meneutics of suspicion. Byung Mu Ahn's essay 'Jesus and People', as a classic text of minjung theology, illustrates this perfectly. He treads a relatively familiar path in contrasting Paul's Christology unfavourably with the picture of the historical Jesus in the gospels - familiar, that is, in the sense that the early nineteenth-century German quest for the historical Jesus followed a similar road in seeking to prioritize the gospels over the epistles. Ahn also commented unfavourably on the twentieth-century western reaction to the quest, which emphasized the difficulty of getting behind the original kerygma. 'The Christology in this Kerygma has greatly served as an ideology to preserve the church, but at the cost of silencing Jesus.'35 No church historian could suggest that the church has never pursued its own interests at the expense of the gospel. Nevertheless the Christian task is constantly to recall the church to the gospel, and the possibility of abandoning the church in order to pursue the gospel is a mirage. This emphasizes the importance of pursuing these questions ecumenically, wherever possible. It also means, ultimately, that there are limits to the extent to which the church can pursue one theology in one part of the world and a different theology in another.
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