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Suffering in the Book of Job and Psalms

Various Brethren Press PDF

Chapter 9:Layout 15/21/101:20 PMPage 193Suffering in the Book of Job and PsalmsA Study of Our Devotional Response to LossR o b e r t W. N e f fWhile we speculate on the question, “Why do people suffer?” the Hebrew Bible does not spend much time answering this question. It deals more directly on how we respond to suffering and loss.Many of the Psalms and the book of Job explore the voices of those who suffer and how they deal with many of the losses we experience in life—sickness, betrayal, death of family and friends, social collapse, lack of progeny, separation forced by famine, foreign occupation, or financial ruin.A majority of the Psalms and the entire book of Job detail in captivating poetry these voices of pain, anxiety, distrust, lament, and dismay. I often marvel at the honest, forthright complaints raised before God found in the Psalms (hymns of praise are far less frequent). And yet these words from the lips of those who are in pain provide the devotional setting for synagogue and church. I believe this is because suffering is accepted as a part of our shared human existence. Job provides the example of the suffering righteous one who demands the attention and interpretation of each new generation of biblical scholars.

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Love and Desire in the Song of Songs

Various Brethren Press PDF

Chapter 10:Layout 15/21/101:23 PMPage 213Love and Desire in the Song of SongsChristina BucherPeople often ask me why I chose to study the Old Testament, rather than the New, when I did my doctoral work. Perhaps viewing “new” as better than “old,” some cannot understand why anyone would want to study the Old Testament. Others will ask why a member of the Church of the Brethren would opt to study the Old Testament.(An oft-repeated claim among Brethren is that “we have no creed but the New Testament.”) I reply that the Christian canon includes two testaments, not one; Jesus’ Scripture was something close to what Christians today call the “Old Testament”; and the New Testament writers presuppose the writings of the Old Testament. In order to really understand Jesus, the New Testament, and Christian history and tradition, one needs a deep understanding of theOld Testament, the collection of books that I prefer to call “FirstTestament,” “Hebrew Scriptures,” or “Tanakh.”I clearly remember what first attracted me to the Hebrew

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Will We Listen? Attending to the Shema in Christian Educations

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Chapter 4:Layout 15/21/101:11 PMPage 79Will We Listen?Attending to the Shema in Christian EducationJohn David BowmanPerhaps I was an atypical seven-year-old, but I have a vague recollection of a conversation with one of my parents. The haunting words of “Johnny, will you listen to me?” reverberate deep within, triggering a sense that the question was not really a question but rather a statement of exasperation tinged with demand. I seem to recall the sentence was followed by another, “Johnny, didn’t you hear me?” I’m quite confident my parent was not concerned with the function of my auditory nerves. It was a direct reference to something I did not do. I can’t recall the provoking issues aside from my assumption that I was reluctant to provide a parent’s wish fulfillment. I also suspect it was a repeated offense.“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”1 These are the opening words of an ancient recitation found in the Hebrew Scriptures. You’ll probably recall much of this familiar recitation taken from Deuteronomy 6. Within Judaism, the recitation repeated thrice daily is known as the Shema. The full Shema is comprised of three scriptures (Hertz 769). It is so named because the Hebrew word shema‘, meaning “hear” or “hearken,” begins the first of its three parts.

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Brethren Ordinances and Old Testament Practices

Various Brethren Press PDF

Chapter 13:Layout 15/21/101:32 PMPage 289Brethren Ordinances andOld Testament PracticesDenise D. KetteringShould Brethren eat roasted lamb or beef at love feast? Should congregations use leavened or unleavened bread at communion?Should only elders practice anointing? These questions have plagued Brethren at various points throughout their history. At first glance such questions may appear trivial, and yet they arose again and again at Annual Meeting1 as Brethren congregations tried to develop a unified approach to their church ordinances.Part of the dilemma for Brethren was how to treat the relationship between their ordinances and the Old Testament and its practices. Historically, the Brethren tradition has ordinances, such as baptism and the love feast, that are firmly rooted in the teachings of Jesus; however, these practices also reflect ancient Israelite customs and rituals found in the Old Testament. In the Church of the Brethren, it has not always been popular to stress these connections to the Old Testament. As Robert W. Neff stated, “To be an Old Testament-toting Church of the Brethren person was not easy, but I felt I had a calling to make the Old Testament live in the

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Prefiguring Fulfillment Brethern Approaches to the Old Testament

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Chapter 12:Layout 15/21/101:31 PMPage 263Prefiguring FulfillmentBrethren Approaches to the Old TestamentJeffrey A. BachThe Schwarzenau Brethren, who began with the baptism of eight adults in late summer 1708, treasured the Scriptures from their origins. The Old Testament was vitally important to the Brethren, although Brethren have typically read the Old Testament as pointing toward and being fulfilled by the New Testament. This in no way meant that Brethren, who often call themselves a “New Testament church,” commit the Marcionite heresy of discarding theOld Testament.1The following essay explores how Brethren have made important use of the Old Testament through their history up to the early twentieth century. This examination of a sample of Brethren writers will show that Brethren generally valued the Old Testament as inspired Scripture and tended to interpret it typologically, absorbing influences from interpretive trends around them (such as dispensationalism in the nineteenth century). Typological interpretation of the Bible goes back to ancient times and sees commandments and teachings and events in the Old Testament as

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