Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Seductive Scaffolding (Gal. 2)

The power of culture is a beautiful thing, when it helps one subordinate his personal agenda to broader purposes, such as the glory of God and the well-faring of one's neighbor. We are all the products and the shapers of our cultures. As we make holidays special for our children, we create oases of joy in their lives, wonderful and wonder-filled times of the year. The Christian year includes advent and Christmas. Lent and Easter. The Muslim year includes the Sugar Feast (Şeker Bayram) at the end of Ramazan, and the Feast of the Sacrifice a month later.

Suppose, though, that one's culture turns malignant? Tha Nazis had a passionate love for their own people, kultur, and traditions. A land famed for poets, musicians, precision instruments, and chemistry, became the wellspring of terrifying darkness.

The Christian gospel began in the context of the Jewish land, people, faith, and culture. Jesus, however, preached that the Jewish culture had become ingrown, toxic, and reprobate to its original purpose -- to carry God's glory to the whole world. This message did not sit too well with the cultural elites of his day, the people responsible for shaping and defining the culture he denigrated.

Yet, even though the Jewish Christians knew that God had invited non-Jews to experience His grace, the cultural barriers to full inclusion remained stubborn. For example -- Peter (Kefas) was the apostle who first took the Gospel to the Gentiles, in the person of pious Cornelius, a Roman occupation officer. Yet, when put to the test, he failed to be gracious. Hewas intimidated by those whose self-worth depended on snubbing others:
Gal 2:11 Ne var ki, Kefas Antakya'ya geldiği zaman, suçlu olduğu için ona açıkça karşı geldim.
Gal 2:12 Çünkü Yakup'un yanından bazı adamlar gelmeden önce Kefas öteki uluslardan* olanlarla birlikte yemek yerdi. Ama o adamlar gelince sünnet yanlılarından korkarak sünnetsizlerden* uzaklaştı, onlarla yemek yemez oldu.
Gal 2:13 Öbür Yahudiler de onun gibi ikiyüzlülük ettiler. Sonunda Barnaba bile onların ikiyüzlülüğüne kapıldı.
Gal 2:14 Müjde gerçeğine uygun davranmadıklarını görünce hepsinin önünde Kefas'a şöyle dedim: "Yahudi olduğun halde Yahudi gibi değil, öteki uluslardan biri gibi yaşıyorsun, nasıl olur da ulusları Yahudi gibi yaşamaya zorlarsın?
Let's look at one word tonight:
  • ikiyüzlülük -- Hypocrisy. One of those marvelous Turkish words assembled from components you snap together like Lego blocks: iki- -- two. -yüz- -- face. -lü- -- with. -lük -- condition of.
The Jewish culture had served as a scaffold, holding things together while Israel awaiting her Messiah. Now, however, it had become a barrier, an unsightly encrustation on the fresh new Kingdom revealed by the arrival of the King. Sadly, when push came to shove, many of the Jewish Christians were more Jewish than Christian. In Israel's hour of need, many rallied around the standard of Jewish culture, and left Jesus behind. They condemned 2,000 years worth of their children to eternal perdition, rather than betray their native culture.

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