Answering Questions

I was asked some clarification questions regarding what I believe that arose from my last blog (click here). So I have decided to try and answer them here.

Where does Jesus’ resurrection come into it? And does the evidence change anything?

The metaphor of Jesus’ resurrection has considerable value, as a metaphor for new life. The resurrected body of Christ tends to be understood as the Church, who in the face of death rediscovers hope and purpose. I have certainly read the ‘evidence’ or lack thereof for Jesus and the resurrection, and as a result I tend to oscillate between a) all that we can say with any certainty is that he was a wandering sage of sorts, or b) perhaps not even an historical figure at all – “We have no idea what the historical Jesus was like, and at this distance we have no means of finding out either” - Rudolf Bultmann. Also an interesting recent book on the question is Richard Carrier’s ‘On the Historicity of Jesus’. Ultimately, whether Jesus is or is not an historical figure does not change my faith in the Christian narrative.

What does preaching from biblical texts look like for someone of this philosophical position?

It does not look that different to what you might expect from someone rather more orthodox. Taking the New Testament as ‘parabolic’ as opposed to literal does not change how or what one might preach upon that much. Also keep in mind that in the Liberal Anglo-Catholic tradition - were my journey into ministry began, homilies are 5 to 10 mins – not therefore exegetical preaching.

How does 'mission' (or an equivalent term) work for a Christian non-realist?

As a Christian my impulse is towards living out the ‘Kingdom of God’, and having that Kingdom be realised on earth here and now in people’s lives. And that necessarily involves inviting others in to participate. Anglican mission is best expressed by the Five Marks of Mission to which I have no real reservations; I guess the latter marks of mission which focus on more practical engagement I may be more inclined to emphasise over and above the former ones, which could be categorised (I think unfairly) as more like proselytization.

Further Reading: Don Cupitt, Lloyd Geering, Thomas J. J. Altizer, Thomas L. Brodi, John Dominic Crossan, Marcus Borg.