Pastor Jakeren of Sweden and Pastor Mutata of Zimbabwe Discuss Biblical Relevance in Final Bible Year Webinar
(LWI) – How can the Bible inspire us to live a better and more active Christian life? What does it tell us? And how can we more effectively convey the liberating message of the Bible to today’s increasingly worldly and skeptical audiences?
These are the fourth in a series of Bible Years organized by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s landmark New Testament translation of the gospel good news. It was the question at the center of the last webinar, available to the general public in his native Germany.
Two leading Lutheran theologians, Reverends Antje Jaqueren of Sweden and Kenneth Mutata of Zimbabwe, view the Bible as a weapon to incite, suppress, discriminate, and deeply incite meaningful and prophetic action. I also considered how to use division between people. A former Church of Sweden archbishop warned that the Bible could be misused as “a quarry for picking up stones and throwing them at others.”
A Fresh Perspective on the Bible Story
From a Nordic context, Reverend Jaqueren notes that while biblical texts are found in much of our everyday language, art, and culture, these reference points are increasingly unknown to those without faith or religious education. The widespread decline in knowledge about the Church in many European countries poses both challenges and opportunities, she said.
While traditional sermons and Bible study groups play a central role in sharing the gospel message, there are many innovative ways to introduce Bible stories to people who are increasingly searching for meaning in their lives. “Books, podcasts, social media, or activities during the Christmas and Easter seasons can provide fresh perspectives on biblical stories and inspire people to learn more about the Christian faith,” she said. “We can provide opportunities,” she added.
Jesus’ words in Matthew 25 are “essential in framing the church’s message of feeding the hungry and welcoming the stranger.”
– Dr. Antje Jackelén, LWF Vice-President for the Nordic Region
Reverend Jackelén, LWF Vice-President for the Nordic Region, also spoke of the Church’s prophetic tradition of combating injustice and criticizing abuses of power. People may criticize the church for getting involved in politics, but both the prophets of the Old Testament and Jesus’ words in Matthew 25 about feeding the hungry and welcoming the stranger are the “church.” “It’s essential to frame our message,” she said, and integral to our commitment to social justice. problem. “As Lutherans, we have learned that justice and justification must go together,” she stressed.
Reflecting on the need to heal the polarized divides in both church and society, Pastor Jaquelen said, “The closer things are to our hearts, the more unforgiving and the more anxious we become.” It’s possible,” he said. She claimed the church “has a mandate to investigate the controversy.” [….] And promote a healthy response to conflict in which we can trust and listen to each other. Jesus “loved to ask questions,” she said, but “often we are tempted to answer without acknowledging our need to hear and learn from others.” ”.
promote peace through justice
Pastor Kenneth Mtata, Program Director of Public Witness and Diaconia at the World Council of Churches, shares the view that “our encounters with Scripture are always mediated through a hermeneutic or cultural lens.” bottom. Talking about the misuse of the Bible, he recalled how the Bible verse was used to justify apartheid, referring to “South Africa as the Promised Land for Whites”. No matter how committed we are to a particular point of view, we must recognize the need for a “hermeneutics of love,” he continued, so that we do not offend others or turn our passions into idolatry.
Mr. Mutata, former secretary general of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, reflected on the relevance of the Bible to the contemporary challenges of peacebuilding and reconciliation, stating that both the Old and New Testaments contain the concept of peace and the Hebrew word “shalom.” said that it contains many references to He said, “It’s often harder to mobilize people around justice than peacebuilding,” but he emphasized that the two must go together.
Speaking of the genocide in his country from 1983 to 1987, when at least 20,000 people were killed by government forces, Pastor Mtata said, “The church can contribute to the conversation about amnesty and reconciliation,” adding: The pain of the victim and the terror of the perpetrator.” He said the biblical story of the feuding brothers Jacob and Esau is relevant because it “shows that reconciliation is possible.” rice field.
Finally, Zimbabwean theologians stressed the importance of ecumenism in the work of Bible translation, promoting the gospel to counter “fear of difference and diversity.” The Bible itself, he said, “confirms diversity in the economy of God’s creation,” as revealed by the many different groups who attended for the birth of the Church at Pentecost. “In the ecumenical family dynamism,” concludes Mutata. [….] And we can hear God’s Word in a new and fresh way. ”
Pastor Sabolci Nagy of the Evangelical Lutheran Theological College in Budapest coordinated and hosted the four-part Bible Years series of webinars.