Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Holy Joe Hockey?

Good letters in today's Sydney Morning Herald. responding to Joe Hockey's opinion piece. I particularly liked this one from Con Campbell, explaining very simply how to read the Old Testament:

I am a fan of President Bartlet of The West Wing. However, his tirade against a Christian radio host to which Joe Hockey points is not his finest moment. Bartlet - and Hockey, it seems - misunderstands what mainstream Christians think about the Bible, and what it says about itself. When they point to obsolete laws in the Old Testament and say, ''See, you can't take it literally,'' they don't understand how the Bible fits together.

There is a reason Christians call it the Old Testament: it is overshadowed by the New and its central figure, Jesus Christ. Jesus said the Hebrew Bible pointed to him, and was fulfilled in him. In fact, he gave his followers a new law: love God, love your neighbour. We follow the new law, which is why we don't stone people for working on the Sabbath, or sacrifice goats and sheep.

Here's a suggestion: don't read the Old Testament to try to work out which bits should be taken ''literally'' or not. Read it to see how it points to Jesus.

Reverend Con Campbell, Newtown

Also a nice one from Jon Guyer:

The God of Joe Hockey's faith is pleasantly tolerant, conveniently undemanding and predictably all-embracing (''God is good, but just be sure not to take Him too literally'', November 10). On the pretext of combating "literalism", Hockey reduces faith to a virtuous lifestyle and sweeps all the big existential questions (where Christians, Muslims and Jews tend to disagree) under the political rug.

I dare him to answer the question "Did Jesus literally die on the cross for the sins of the world?" - and then hold on to his ecumenical hat. By trying to please all faiths Hockey will end up pleasing none.

Jon Guyer, Croydon

Jon includes the gospel message, which always scores extra points in the letter-writing stakes.


Anonymous said...

then there's the "letter of the week" in the SAWeekend, which came out with the Advertiser last weekend...
referring to some politicians' revelations of their hard lives, B V Hamilton of Bordertown replied sketching out a few of her own difficulties, then added "Uh-oh, no-one out there wants to know! Never mind, the grace and love of God still abounds. Jesus is my Saviour and I've sought his forgiveness, and so can everyone else with stuffed-up lives."

Gordon Cheng said...

That's great, anonymous!