Today, the Christian Broadcasting Network reported about a perceived issue related to a comment that Republican Party Chairman, Reince Priebus, said about President-elect Donald Trump. Priebus (2016) asserted, “Over two millennia ago, a new hope was born into the world, a Savior who would offer the promise of salvation to all mankind. Just as the three wise men did on that night, this Christmas heralds a time to celebrate the good news of a new King” (CBN News). Some became enraged and claimed the press release stated by Priebus as about Trump (2016). As we will see, there are competing views related to this situation that may be the right framework for understanding the Biblical Scriptures followed then by other messages in turn. In relation to the exegetical process of accepting data, hermeneutics for informative purposes, and applying it to contemporary issues, there are two opposing approaches to this. One approach that many claim is identifying a single piece of the Bible as representative of the entire Bible, or microscopic view. For example, people with the microscopic view and perhaps the most recent wave of feminist theology in contemporary times might say that the Apostle Paul’s first Epistle to Timothy contains a sexist theme. The Apostle Paul (KJV) said, “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence” (1 Tim 2:12). In and of itself, this Scriptural verse shows the fallen state of man, male and female; there is inequality in education thus in every level of society. However, the Biblical Scriptures are a collection of books with collective truth that is relevant to this verse. One such verse is the Psalm (KJV), “The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes” (19:8). This may be cross-referenced with the Psalm, “The words of the LORD are pure words; As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times” (12:6).
For the first mentioned Psalm, the reader might relate to the sun coming up day after day, increasing the health of the person who is exposed to it and waking him up. Similarly, the second mentioned Psalm describes that the reality of the Word of the Most High is shown through understanding the history of these messages that is the precedent for each message. When looking at the second chapter, verse 12 of Paul’s Epistle to Timothy, we may thus look to previous Biblical Scriptures. For example, Esther the queen informed the king Ahasuerus about the plot that advisor to the king, Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, had for destroying the Jews because Mordecai, another Jew, did not treat Haman with reverence because the faith of Israel, despite being dispersed, was not fully assimilated into other societies (Est 3:1-6, 7:1-6). The Matthew Henry Commentary states, “The religion of a Jew forbade him to give honours to any mortal man which savoured of idolatry, especially to so wicked a man as Haman” (Henry). The precept that Esther, a woman, taught a man, and in doing so preserved the Most High’s children by implicitly doing His work contradicts the microscopic view, but not Paul’s Epistle.
In contemporary Christian theology on marriage, Richard J. Foster shared insights. Foster said, “Marriage that is Christian is covenantal. A covenant is a promise – a pledge of love, loyalty, and faithfulness. A covenant involves continuity – the sense of a common future to look forward to and a history to look back on together” (Charry, 2000, p. 148). Therefore, man and woman work together with neither lording himself or herself over the other. The concept of covenant may be derived from this and applied to contemporary issues. This is the teleological view for approaching the Biblical Scriptures integrated into the exegetical process. Thus, the reader may look to other aspects of history related to Trump’s situation so that a true understanding may be perceived. In recent times, a common disagreement that is not so new is about honoring the birth of Christ on a single day of the Gregorian calendar year. Therefore, when John Weaver, a leading aide to Ohio Governor John Kasich expressed hatred towards this comment (CBN News), I think that this was interpreted as a man lording himself over the people who he is elected for so that he may serve. However, Gregg Birnbaum and Kevin Liptak reported on CNN that Trump recently spoke about reasserting the relevance of December the twenty-fifth as a special day for the world and Christianity should be celebrated rather than judged (CNN, 2016). Therefore, in accepting historical details as a union of intervals, interpreting them for personal understanding, and applying them to contemporary issues, the teleological view of reality is probably more tenable than the microscopic view might first appear.
Birnbaum, G., Liptak, K., & CNN. (2016, June 25). Trump, fist raised, wishes all a Merry Christmas – CNNPolitics.com. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/25/politics/trump-christmas-tweet/index.html
Charry, E. T. (2000). Inquiring after God: Classic and Contemporary Readings. Oxford, MA: Blackwell.
CBN News. (2016, December 26). RNC Press Release On Christ’s Birth Offends Top Political Aide | CBN.com. Retrieved from http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2016/december/rnc-press-release-on-christs-birth-offends-top-political-aide
Henry, M. (n.d.). Esther 3:6 Commentaries. Retrieved from http://biblehub.com/esther/3-6.htm