The Prophet Who Had to Die: Jesus and The Misuse of Scripture (Deuteronomy 18:15-20)(Epiphany B4)

January 29, 2018

Welcome to “Bible Study for Progressives,” a show where moderates, liberals and leftists of all faiths and ideologies come together to discuss scripture, spirituality and politics.

In a world of fake news and political extremism, discerning truth from falsehood is important. Uncovering lies about the Bible is vital not only for Christians who seek truth from their scripture, it's vital to anyone who seeks to prevent religion from harming us. False biblical interpretations have led to terrible injustices throughout history all the way to the present day.

Honesty is the first rule of discernment. How are we to deal with some of the more difficult biblical texts? We have to deal honestly with scripture if we are to discern its true meaning.

On this month's show, we will read Deuteronomy 18 verses 15 to 20. The religious-political leaders of Israel likely relied upon this and other verses to justify executing Jesus.  How we interpret the Bible can have life and death consequences.

We will lay out basic principles for discerning scripture. Then we will talk about what it means to be a prophet and how we can better discern false from true prophets. For the citations to scripture, please see my article “The Prophet Who Had to Die: Jesus and the Misuse of Scripture.”

Our panel of commentators include:

Author, Matthew Distefano

Professor Joseph Dowd

Author Lisa Snow,

Professor David Westfall,

And my father, the Reverend Carl Procida.

 

My name is Rich Procida, and I write at Modern Lectionaries.blogspot.com.

Let’s begin.

 

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Who is Jesus: The Infancy Narratives, the Historial Jesus, and the Savior of the World (Luke 2:22-40)(Christmas 1B)

December 31, 2017

Welcome to “Bible Study for Progressives,” a show where moderates, liberals, and leftists of all faiths and ideologies come together to discuss scripture, spirituality, and politics.

On this show, we will read Luke chapter 2 verses 22 to 40 and talk about Jesus. Who was he and who is he now? What was he like as a child? What should we believe about him today? To answer these questions we will briefly overview the infancy narratives, examine the findings of scholars, and consider the work of Christ.

Nearly all our information about Jesus comes from the Gospels. Throughout the New Testament, Jesus is described as "the savior of the world." Most Christians, whether liberal or conservative, share some version of this view.

The stories of his resurrection combined with the persistence of his followers sparked a mass movement that spread throughout the Empire and across the world. By his teaching, death, and resurrection he brought us "the way" to salvation. The question is: How did he do this?

Many of us are familiar with the modern view of Jesus as a human sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin, but there are other ways by which Jesus brings salvation to the world. Knowledge of Hebrew and Greek, the original languages of the Bible, helps us to understand the full meaning of the word "salvation." Once we recognize the full meaning of "salvation" we can begin to see the many ways by which Jesus came to save the world.

Come as we discuss this broad topic.

Our panel of commentators include:

Reverend Keith Giles, author of "Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics to Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb,

Reverend Bert Newton, author of Subversive Wisdom: Social Political Dimensions of John's Gospel,

Media Psychology Specialist Lisa Snow,

Professor David Westfall,

Journalist Winston Chua

And my father, the Reverend Carl Procida.

My name is Rich Procida, and I write at Modern Lectionaries.blogspot.com.

Let’s begin.

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Judging the Nations: Separating the Sheep from the Goats at the End of Time (Matt 25:31-46)

November 26, 2017

Welcome to “Bible Study for Progressives,” a show where moderates, liberals and leftists of all faiths and ideologies come together to discuss scripture, spirituality and politics.

On this show, we will read Matthew 25:31-46 and talk about Matthew’s prophecy of the final judgment. The metaphorical account of the Son of Man returning in glory to judge the nations speaks to us about the importance of caring for others. The prophecy warns us that God judges us based upon what we do, what we fail to do, and what other do in our name.

Will we welcome the stranger, or will we cast refugees aside and deport millions of immigrants? Will we care for the needy, or will we cut the budget for social services and give tax breaks to corporations and the rich? Will we protect the civil rights of our citizens, or will use the police and the military to abuse, torture and kill?

At stake is our very salvation. In the prophecy, the "Son of Man" cast those who failed to care for the needy into the eternal fire. Whether you agree with Luther or James, faith without works leads to death.

 

Come as we discuss these issues and the implications of Matthew's prophecy.

Our panel of commentators include:

 

Professor of New Testament, Retired, Rev. Dr. Dwayne Day,

Doctor of Philosophy Joseph Dowd,

Media Psychology Specialist, Lisa Snow

And my father, the Reverend Carl Procida.

My name is Rich Procida, and I write at Modern Lectionaries.blogspot.com.

Let’s begin.

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Paul’s Solution to Division and Prejudice (Romans 14:1-12)

September 17, 2017

Welcome to “Bible Study for Progressives,” a show where moderates, liberals, and leftists of all faiths and ideologies come together to discuss scripture, spirituality, and politics.

Today we will talk about the conflict Paul had with Peter and James over circumcision and the Law. Using the research of Reza Aslan, from his book "Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth," we trace the conflict and consider the tolerant and universal nature of Paul's response.

We will also consider Paul’s answer to division and prejudice. Early Christianity was no model of unity or coherence in matters of doctrine. Christianity was more diverse than today. Can we simply tell people, as Paul does, not to despise or condemn one another and then expect them to do it?

Our nation is divided. Americans are attacking one another. Attacks on minorities, transgendered persons, migrants, and Muslims are attacks on fellow Americans, and the right is not the only one dividing us. Identity politics is dividing us, too.

The focus on our differences and organizing around things like race and ideology foster separatism and extremism. Come as we discuss early Christian divisions and Paul's solution to prejudice and division. Then we will apply those lessons to current events. For the citations to scripture for this show, please see my article “This Flap over Food is About More Than We Think” at ModernLectionaries.blogspot.com.

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The People of God and the Kingdom Seekers: Universal Salvation and the “Remnant” in Paul’s Letter to the Romans (Romans 11:1-32)

August 20, 2017

Welcome to “Bible Study for Progressives,” a show where moderates, liberals and leftists of all faiths and ideologies come together to discuss scripture, spirituality and politics.

Today we are going to talk about “The People of God and the Kingdom Seekers: Universal Salvation and the “Remnant” in Paul’s Letter to the Romans,” and we  address the recent tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia where a Nazi sympathizer rammed his car into a counter-protesters injuring many and killing a young woman named Heather Heyer. We will read Romans, Chapter 11, verses 1 to 32 .  Then we will discuss the issues raised by the the text and apply what we learned to the current political situation.

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Let Them Grow Together: God’s Solution to the Problem of Evil (Matthew 13:24-30 and 36-42)

July 16, 2017

Welcome to “Bible Study for Progressives,” a show where moderates, liberals and leftists of all faiths and ideologies come together to discuss scripture, spirituality and politics.

Today’s show is “Let them Grow Together: God’s Solution to the Problem of Evil.”  We will read the parable of the Wheat and Tares from the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 13, verses 24-30 and 36-42.  Then we will discuss the problem of evil, God’s solution to it, and our role in God’s plan.

 

Our panel of commentators include:

 

The Reverend Tom Eggebean,

Professor David Westfall,

Doctor of Philosophy Joseph Dowd,

Thantra Missionary Satya, and

My father, the Reverend Carl Procida

 

My name is Rich Procida, and I write biblical commentary at ModernLectionaries.blogspot.com. Let’s begin.

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What Happens in Rome Stays in Rome: The Great Trinity Controversy (2 Corinthians 13:5-14)

June 11, 2017

Welcome to “Bible Study for Progressives,” a show where moderates, liberals and leftists of all faiths and ideologies come together to discuss scripture, spirituality and politics.

Did you know that the word “Trinity” is not used in the Bible?  There are passages from which scholars have derived the doctrine, but the New Testament never explicitly describes a Triune God.  Instead, the Bible describes God as infinite. [Jeremiah 23:2 and Revelation 22:13] So how do we get the Trinity?

On this Trinity Sunday, we will read 2 Corinthians Chapter 13, verses 5-14.  Then we will take a look at some of the early Christian theories of the nature of Christ and of the Trinity .  We will consider the implications of our study for our understanding of our faith, and we will use our scripture to guide us in dealing with disagreements and change.  Ultimately, we will ask whether the Trinity is a useful doctrine for today, or whether we should focus on lessons from scripture and on Jesus’ teaching rather than on Jesus himself?

Our panel of commentators include [Put camera on each individual as they are announced]:

The Reverend Tom Eggebean

Professor David Westfall

Doctor of Philosophy Joseph Dowd

Thantra Missionary Satya, and

My father, the Reverend Carl Procida

My name is Rich Procida, and I write biblical commentary at ModernLectionaries.blogspot.com. Let’s begin. . . .

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Religion is Politics: Following Jesus is Civil Disobedience (1 Peter 2:11-25)(Easter 4A)

May 7, 2017

Welcome to “Bible Study for Progressives,” a show where moderates, liberals and leftists of all faiths and ideologies come together to discuss scripture, spirituality and politics.

Today’s show is titled “Religion is Politics: Following Jesus is Civil Disobedience.” We will read First Peter, chapter 2, verses 11 to 25 followed by my exegesis of the text.  Then our panel will talk about the passage and what Peter meant when he told these early Christians to accept the authority of human institutions and to honor the emperor.  The key to understanding Peter’s letter is to remember the Christians Peter is writing to were disobeying Roman law and custom by refusing to worship the emperor. Nowhere does Peter imply that they should do otherwise.

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Was Luther Wrong? James Tells Us How Not to Read Paul (Romans 8:1-11)

April 2, 2017

Welcome to “Bible Study for Progressives,” a show where moderates, liberals and leftists of all faiths and ideologies come together to discuss scripture, spirituality and politics.

Today we will read Romans chapter 8 verses 1 to 11, and we will discuss whether "Luther was Wrong: James Tells Us How Not to Read Paul" (Romans 8:1-11).  Luther misunderstood Paul's doctrine of salvation by faith. The author of James directly addresses this misinterpretation of Paul.

In Romans, Paul tells Roman Christians not to condemn those who do not follow the Law or despise those who believe differently.  In fact, he says we should allow one another to be "convinced in our own minds, because we will all be held individually accountable to God and must, therefore, follow our own conscience. Paul is not excluding those who do not share his opinion.

Many Christians think Paul teaches "salvation by faith alone and not by works."  The first problem with this phrase is that Paul is mostly talking about ritual practices such as circumcision and dietary laws, not good works.  The other problem with the phrase is that Paul never really says that, and James specifically refutes it.

 

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The Temptation of Christ and Discerning God’s Call: Choosing a Life of Service in a World that Values Wealth, Status and Power

March 5, 2017

Welcome to “Bible Study for Progressives,” a show where moderates, liberals and leftists of all faiths and ideologies come together to discuss scripture, spirituality and politics.

Today we will be reading from the Gospel of Matthew.  Then we will discuss "The Temptation of Christ and Discerning God's Call: Choosing a Life of Service in a World That Values Wealth, Status and Power (Matthew 4:1-11).

In all three gospels, immediately after Jesus is baptised, he goes into the wilderness to be tempted for forty days. The number forty is significant and has symbolic meaning.

There are a number of uses of the number forty in the Bible. Moses, for example, spent forty days and nights with the Lord on Mount Sinai. He returned with the ten commandments. (Exodus 34:28).  It rained for forty days and nights when God destroyed the world in a flood (Genesis 7). The resurrected Jesus appeared to his followers for forty days before ascending into heaven (Acts 1:3).  As David Ewart points out, the number forty indicates that God is about to do something holy and extraordinary.

God called Jesus to ministry at his baptism, and the temptation was a part of the process of discerning that message. What does the story of the temptation of Christ mean? Why is it important? What does it mean to be tested? Does this story contain lessons for overcoming temptation in our lives today. Is testing a part of discerning our calling and vocations? How and for what reasons are we tested? Have you had an experience that lead you to your vocation?

Our reading and panel of commentators will address these and other questions.

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