Guide Direction for Our Times, Vol. 4: Jesus the King

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So, hearing these things articulated from outside our borders just might illumine in fresh ways what we in South Africa have otherwise always known. Hence, my goal is not to align Ukpong's assertions with certain South African thinkers or thought streams per se; the recent passing away of Professor Ukpong made a look again at his contribution in its own right quite desirable. I need not bother with the question of who influenced whom among the various organic African intellectuals who regard the Bible as a "site of struggle for control and legitimization between the ordinary people, the church, and the academy" Ukpong a: My present goal is simply to tease out from a single African thinker's hand those articulations of Jesus which might prove useful for our current quandary.

From some chronological distance, the canonical evangelists narrate Jesus' life as it had been remembered by eyewitnesses in dialogue with the realities of their own day. The Gospels thus entail kerygma. They emerged out of, and in dialogue with, particular concrete situations. They sought, amid those realities, to proclaim the effective significance of Jesus' life. And biblical criticism recognizes today that these audiences surely played their part in these re-memberings of Jesus' life.

Direction for Our Times - Catholic Books

In a word, the Gospels are a written "record of the way the earthly Jesus impressed himself upon the early Christians" Ukpong It then follows, quite critically for Ukpong, that "for an appropriate interpretation of the gospels it is necessary to enter into and share the faith of the early Christians" Ukpong There simply exists no room for idle spectators where the life and significance of Jesus of Nazareth is concerned. The Nigerian professor's more than competent grasp of the Gospels' ancient socio-historical contexts comes across quite palpably throughout his work e.

But given the inculturation hermeneutics framework he pioneered, how did he marry this profound mastery of biblical criticism to his West African context in order to meaningfully appropriate Jesus for today? This question is reasonable because despite their mastery of the intricate tools of the trade known as biblical scholarship, African biblical scholars have tended to allow systematizing and theologizing to dominate their scholarly output see e. One has to scrounge through many layers to find biblical studies specific nuggets because, on the whole, "The separation of biblical studies from other theological disciplines, so common elsewhere, does not happen in African biblical studies.

It was logical for Ukpong to seek to harness contributions from the myriad African contexts in the interest of the general advance of biblical scholarship. For whereas "the Western and the specifically African methods of reading exist side by side" among "academic readings of the Bible in Africa", the overtly "African readings", unlike their "intellectualist" counterparts, "are existential and pragmatic in nature, and contextual in approach" Ukpong a: But he must have also been concerned to assuage the concerns raised over the decades by a growing number of African scholars see e.

Dickson whether African scholarship has much to show beyond euphoric prognostications and cerebral pontifications as such. This article is thus an attempt to distil in a single stroke his unique reading of the Gospels in general and of Jesus in particular. This implies that what is proclaimed today must be taken from the life of Jesus and his proclamation otherwise it is not Good News. So much critical self-application and experience go into statements such as the above.

That it sounds somewhat dogmatic is the unfortunate result of pressing needs on the ground requiring succinctness.

In essence, the above quote makes three vital affirmations: There simply cannot exist any discord between Jesus' life taken as a whole and the Christian message as proclaimed in any generation. This need for coherence between the life of the author of our faith and the witness borne to him partly explains the obsession of some scholars with quests such as for the historical Jesus. If only there had existed voice recorders or our modern conceptions of biography and journalism in the first century of our Common Era!

Jesus of Nazareth is the prime proclaimer of the euangelion.

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Of course Jesus was neither the first and only proclaimer of good news nor the only character to be associated with the appellation. The concept was taken from the culture of the day, and was then invested with meaning that made Jesus its sole referent as far as Christians are concerned. Since it is part of every culture's normal parlance, the phrase 'good news' must always signify within specific contexts or in association with significant persons. For instance, that Rev. Mmusi Maimane has become the leader of government's official opposition is good news only when qualified by party-political interests or by national interest, by race, by age, by prospects for South Africa's democratic future, and so forth.

By the same token it is bad news from the perspective, for instance, of those who relied solely on race to thwart opposition politics. In the above quotation, Ukpong has in mind the gospel of Jesus Christ a la Mark 1: It is against this background that he can be said to have brought not peace but a sword cf. Within his Jewish context, Jesus, or his message, simply is good news for some and bad news for others see e. But there can be no denying the reality that the gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel inculturated or, in more orthodox jargon, incarnate. The gospel cannot afford to be abstract; Jesus is as real as any one of us.

It is encountered in the things Jesus both did and said in response to the historical moment of first-century Palestine. As presented by the Gospels therefore, Jesus is "the fulfilment both of Israel's hopes and of God's plan to bring salvation" to all creation Green In a word, Jesus Christ is the ultimate good news: At a basic level, there is only one 'Gospel,' who is Jesus Christ, and these books are simply different ways of portraying him. Placing these four books side by side in the New Testament, the ancient church bore witness to the fundamental unity of their focus and subject, Jesus, while at the same time allowing that Jesus' significance could be faithfully rendered in more than one way.

Jesus is amenable to being presented in more than one way in keeping with the dictates of each unique context. Put differently, "different cultures contribute different dimensions Conversely, these disparate cultural representations facilitate his emergence as Lord of each of the contexts involved. Rather than lessen, these accruals add to Jesus' significance and efficacy in the many contexts where he is being encountered.

They confirm his lordship not only in modern African times but through all time as the creative presence of God. And yet beyond every concrete historical context, Jesus also seeks to pervade every aspect of each human being. Life in ancient times was not compartmentalized in the manner we have become accustomed to doing today Ukpong Our indefinite modern categories religious, economic, political, cultural, social, and so on would have been odd to people in Jesus' day.

For the early Christians, the economic and the spiritual were not separable from the political, and so forth. The gospel of Jesus Christ was proclaimed from the very earliest days to "the totality of the human, societal, cultural, economic and political conditions, and even the physical environment of the people" Ukpong The quote which opened this section is thus calling for a return to the way things had always been.

Beyond evidence supplied by archaeological research, African sensitivity to the primal worldview also demands that it be so. It is necessary for the return to be made unequivocally in modern times where the gospel has repeatedly been "given a spiritualised interpretation" by those who could not afford to let it confront their privileged socio-political standing.

From within quite volatile socio-political contexts, the powerful conveniently prefer to have the Bible read "for the nourishment of individual souls towards spiritual salvation and not in view of societal transformation" Ukpong Such a luxury was not an option to Jesus of Nazareth or even to the Christians of the first century as the book of the Acts of the Apostles makes abundantly clear. Beyond thus stating the obvious, insisting on the gospel's pervasive reach amounts to urging modern embodiments of the word of life to heed more closely the life of Jesus of Nazareth.

Ukpong is uncompromising on this point. It is quite easy to detach a statement from the Gospels and then apply it to today's situations without giving due regard to the life of Jesus which, in its totality, necessarily informs it. To guard against misappropriations of Scripture for ends that may at times even be contrary to the spirit of the euangelion of Jesus Christ, Ukpong propounded the following interpretive framework Ukpong Then follows the "analysis of the context of interpretation" in the form of i a "phenomenological analysis" which makes the text real in the modern context, ii a " socio-anthropological analysis" which focuses on implicated worldviews, iii a "historical analysis" which investigates conditions that made the issue arise, iv a "social analysis which probes into the interconnectedness of the dynamics of the society in relation to the issue", and v a "religious analysis" which explores the religious dimensions of the issue.

Next is "analysis of the historical context of the text. Then comes "analysis of the text in light of the already analysed contemporary context", which includes review of current interpretations, as questions arising from analysis of interpreter's context are put to the text.

Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4

And, finally, there is "gathering together the fruits of the discussion and a commitment to actualizing the message of the text in a concrete life situation. The above hermeneutic is geared towards ensuring that no stone is left unturned wherever the gospel meets real life. The gospel truly comes alive at the "interplay" Ukpong a: Pragmatism permeates this outlook: Clarke stated she received these messages in prayer as interior locutions.

In she began to publish them in ten books under the general title "Direction for Our Times as Given to 'Anne', a lay apostle", saying she was adopting a pseudonym to protect her family. On October 15, , "Anne" recorded the last message of the ten volumes, and several more volumes of the set were issued in December Volumes 5 and 8 were published in Starting in September , retired New Orleans Archbishop Philip Hannan promoted the "Anne" messages through his television organization FOCUS and supported them with a letter of endorsement which was published in each volume.

In August , Catholic evangelists Sr. Briege McKenna and Fr. Kevin Scallon publicly withdrew their former support for Direction for Our Times. Bishop O'Reilly of Kilmore formed a theological commission to study the "Anne" writings in Clarke is a victim of domestic violence. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Deliveries are made to your local post office by way of DHL Worldwide. DHL tracking information is typically visible on your eBay dashboard within business days and can be tracked at: This tracking information tracks packages from our fulfillment center to your local post office.


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