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Bethany Seminary President's Forum - by Bruce Jacobsen


I don't often write much here, but I was not able to keep silent when I saw the latest flyer for the Bethany Seminary President's Forum. I often toss such things quickly, as..., well, let's just leave it at that.

This Forum claims a title, "The Bible in Our Bones...", but the Plenary sessions seem to talk about the Bible from a completely different perspective than I hold, and quite frankly it makes me angry. Let me quote a couple lines from the session descriptions. For the session by Dr. David Barr, "Reading Revelation to predict the end of the world has a long history, a history of failure and frustration. But John is not writing history in advance--he is telling a story. It is a story of monsters and demons, angels and warriors, conquests and defeats. But most of all it is a story about how John expects the followers of Jesus to live in the present world."

I don't know about you, but that's just troubling to me.

And under the session with Rev. Dr. Thomas E. Booershine, "When Mark's story [the gospel of Mark] is heard as a story that was told to audiences in the aftermath of the Jewish war, it is clear that every story address this central theme. But it is most explicit in the passion and resurrection narrative. This hearing of Mark stands in contrast to the dominant understanding that Jesus' death was salvation from our sins as individuals. The good news is that Jesus' way of nonviolence and reconciliation with our enemies proclaims a way out of the vicious human cycle of violence, warfare and death."

So now the gospel isn't about salvation from sin. Hmmm, and this is the subject matter at a forum of invited speakers at our denominations seminary.

I would truly be interested in the thoughts of others on this. Am I understanding what I read correctly, or have I misinterpreted something here?
Pastor Bruce Jacobsen