In a blog piece about the National Day of Prayer controversy, Mark Roberts opens the question, “what would Jesus think?” about the National Day of Prayer. Would he approve of the government bringing prayer into the public square? Or would he say “my kingdom is not of this world?”
My purpose in this post is not so much to talk about the National Day of Prayer, but to talk about how we interpret the life and teachings of Jesus for contemporary public issues. Below is a portion of Robert’s comments about WWJT (What would Jesus think?)
You can access the original blog article at
MARK D. ROBERTS
[Roberts] “You name the issue and Jesus is brought forth to endorse it . . . or to denounce it . . . or both at the same time. So Jesus is pro-life and pro-choice, a Democrat and a Republican, a free market capitalist and a big government socialist, a supporter of traditional marriage and an advocate for same-sex marriage (or even a gay man). Though I haven't bothered to look for it, I'm quite sure a few minutes of Internet browsing would lead to a website that uses Jesus to say about church and state the opposite of what Jon Meacham believes Jesus would say…
…If you've studied biblical interpretation, you know that I have vastly over-simplified the process of trying to understand ancient texts and the characters within them. But just about all credible scholars, no matter their personal theological convictions, would agree that a faithful appraisal of a person from the past requires seeing that person in the context of his or her history, culture, and language.”
So ... WWJT about immigration? Health care reform? National security and war in Iraq and Afganistan? More importantly, how do we go about translating his teachings (such as the Sermon on the Mount for example) into contemporary policy?