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The Sermon on the Mount or Cultural Religion: Ministry Practice and Theological Education in Papua New Guinea

Charlesworth, Scott D. (2016) The Sermon on the Mount or Cultural Religion: Ministry Practice and Theological Education in Papua New Guinea. Melanesian Journal of Theology, 32 (1). pp. 37-58. ISSN 0256-856X

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Abstract

The Sermon on the Mount is a profound critique of first-century Judaism’s accommodation of culture. Cultural imperatives are turned on their head on two fronts. (1) Honour and shame: shame becomes the new honour in a series of antitheses that expose the external focus of Jewish religion. (2) Covenant: as far as the Jews were concerned, the Abrahamic covenant appeared to be compatible with culture. It was easy to equate cultural honour – i.e., status deriving from wealth or position – with the blessing of God. That theology is largely reinterpreted, if not denied, by Jesus. The greatest blessing that the righteous can receive is persecution and shaming by cultural religionists. Jesus draws his covenant theology from Isaiah, Lamentations, wisdom literature, and the experience of the prophets. He understands that all who speak against cultural religion will be persecuted. From an honour-shame cultural standpoint, this is an enormously confronting teaching. In view of that, the implications of a counter-cultural Jesus for Christianity in Papua New Guinea are examined. Since I am a New Testament (NT) scholar and not a missiologist, parts of the second half of this essay will be anecdotal and based on what I learned teaching biblical languages and studies during a lengthy sojourn in Papua New Guinea.

Item Type: Published Articles
Additional Information: Freely available at available at http://www.cltc.ac.pg/LinkClick.aspx? fileticket=9AZ52oDhChA%3d&tabid=80.
Repository Version: Published Version
Keywords: Sermon on the Mount, cheek, culture, identity, missiological, counter-cultural, big man, ministry, theological education
Fields of Research: 20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200210 Pacific Cultural Studies
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220401 Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History)
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220405 Religion and Society
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9504 Religion and Ethics > 950404 Religion and Society
C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding > 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
Type of Activity: Pure Basic Research
Subjects: B - Biblical Studies, general
D - Missiology
B - New Testament
College/Association with University of Divinity: Trinity Theological College
Depositing User: Dr Scott Charlesworth
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2016 04:46
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2016 04:46
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/2017

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