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The Theology of the Good Samaritan

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by packermann, Sep 22, 2019.

  1. packermann

    packermann Junior Member

    On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

    “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

    He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

    “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

    But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
    In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.

    A Catholic bishop happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man. He thought he was one of the teenage boys who was molested by his priests and so he passed by on the other side. Not to worry, he thought, the essence of God is mercy. So he was not afraid when he would be standing in front of Christ on Judgment Day.

    So too, a Lutheran pastor, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. Not to worry, he believed he was saved by faith alone. He did not care about this man.

    Then a Calvinist walked by. When he saw the man lying on the road, he believed that God must have predestined this man to suffer. Far be it for him to interfere with God's will! He passed him by.

    Then a Charismatic walked by. But he did not feel led by the Holy Spirit to help him so he just walked pass him.

    Someone who writes on Christian Forums then walked by. He thought that the man might have been someone who made him look bad lately on the forum. Besides, he just thought of some more good posts so he did not have time to help him. So he left him.

    But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

    “Which of these six do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

    The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

    Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

    Luke 10:25-37
    (Packermann Paraphrase - Red Letter Edition)

    Each one except the Christian Forum contributor was influenced by his/her theology. The bishop thought that God was so merciful that he did not have to care for the man. The Lutheran believed that he was justified by faith alone, so he did not care. The Calvinist saw everything to be God's will, so why bother? The Charismatic just waits to be led by the Spirit. Its not his fault if he does not feel led to help him.

    Our theology molds our character. Our Lord in this passage said that love is necessary in order to have eternal life. Jesus said in another place that by their fruits you will know them. He was talking about our theology. If your theology is not making you more and more loving, as Christ has loved us, then I would encourage you to re-think your theology.

    The Christian Forum contributor is the one not influenced by theology. Or maybe he has good theology but has forgotten it because he is obsessed with his next posts. He spends more time on this forum than praying to God or helping others. I think I have fallen into this. He has more important things to do. He just does not have the time. He has to rush home and create 20 more posts on the forum. And besides, maybe that man suffering is the person who has slammed him on the forum. Why should he help him?

    Last edited: Sep 22, 2019
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  2. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

    That's a trifle hard to accept, considering that their theology was misrepresented in almost every case. ;)
  3. packermann

    packermann Junior Member

    The Christians in the first few centuries turned the Roman Empire upside down by their love. The Roman Empire was besieged by the Black Plague. Only Christians went to help the victims, risking exposure.

    I am not just blaming Protestants. I included a Catholic bishop in my paraphrase. I also included myself in the forum contributors. All I know is if we were showing love like they did in the first few centuries, there would not be having 6,000 children dying every day in the world from starvation or malnutrition, or one out of four pregnancies ending with abortion in this country. Our churches would not be dying off (the fastest growing religion is "None of the Above").

    All this is happening because the world does not see the love of Christ in us. And if any of the "None of the Above" should browse any of our forums, they would think that Christianity is about petty infighting.
  4. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

    Hmm. Well, you are only about a thousand years off with that claim, but let's go on. ;)

    I know. I was only saying that the theology was not accurate in that re-telling of the story of the Good Samaritan, even though the "theology" was supposed to be the point of this version you presented to us.

    My observation was simply a statement of fact. It was not meant to say that you were prejudiced or hostile towards one faith or another.
  5. nonaeroterraqueous

    nonaeroterraqueous Nonexistent Member

    United States
    He must have assumed that God predestined him to be a heartless jerk. Frankly, that would not have been my aim.
  6. ajcarey

    ajcarey Active Member

    United States
    I think you have a great point. Jesus was ultimately telling the Lawyer that to have eternal life he needed to faithfully follow the principles taught in the Law of God and that doing so is the proper expression of faith and love towards God (which has always been the proper way to view the Law of God). The Lawyer rightly understood (unlike many professing Christians now) that everything taught in the Law of God was and is a proper expression of love towards God and towards man. The Lawyer however had been influenced by an unlawful concept that he did not have to love gentiles the way he loved other Jews, and that gentiles were not his neighbor. If he had meditated more carefully and honestly in God's Law he would have seen that the Law did indeed command that all people qualified as his neighbor, not just fellow Jews.

    What we believe does indeed determine how we will live. If you believe that you don't have to fulfill God's Law and that how you live won't affect your salvation because you've received doctrines which imply that God is too merciful to condemn you or that all you need is faith alone or that your salvation or damnation was written in stone before the foundation of the world or you believe that you being led by God's Spirit is primarily evidenced by you babbling in an unintelligible language, then you're not going to lay down your life when doing what is right before God really comes at a cost that you consider significant at the moment. You will rather justify your disobedience and self-preservation, because (like we would say to the Atheists and Agnostics also) receiving and believing in the knowledge of one's accountability to God is the only consistent and certain thing to bind one to doing what is right. And there is no other proper definition of right and wrong apart from the God of the Bible and His commandments. Any theology or concept which takes people away from being absolutely bound to God's Law and actually held accountable by God accordingly is going to breed vain presumptions of heaven that result in unrighteous living somehow. Otherwise the fear of the Lord could not properly be said to be the beginning of wisdom.

    "Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth." (Psalm 119:142)

    "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)
  7. bling

    bling Regular Member Supporter

    If you have to blame someone blame me and not the "world". If I had just done what I knew to do 36 years ago this whole world would be different. All I had to do is average one disciple to be like myself, out of my small group, (assuming I had been like Christ) and in 36 years we would have run out of people on earth to be part of our groups. The problem is this method of evangelizing the world (which was the method Christ established) highest position is unpaid small group leader. It has no prestigious position, big budget, scholarly training and you could get it started and no one would even know it was you who got it started (I guess the praise would all go to God)?
    They seem to be using this method in China now and I hope my Chinese students can return to be a part of it.
  8. Yekcidmij

    Yekcidmij Polymath

    United States

    Seems like you mis-characterizes these groups. I doubt it's in the theology of the Catholic Bishop, Lutheran Pastor, Calvinist, or Charismatic to just walk by someone who's been beat up and lying on the road.

    What in those theologies you mention tells people to leave a person beat up by the road? I would like to see the reference.

    Nobody actually thinks that though.

    Maybe you've just misunderstood these groups?

    Assuming you've properly understood and applied it...

    I thought it was a misunderstanding of what those Christian groups teach and oversimplified how people think and behave.
  9. yeshuaslavejeff

    yeshuaslavejeff simple truth, martyr, disciple of Yahshua

    The remnant who is living in union with Jesus and with the Father ,
    are seen by the world as the world saw the first century Ekklesia.
    "Few", as always, as written.....
  10. packermann

    packermann Junior Member

    I have been a Protestant evangelical for 15 years being an avid subscriber to Reformation theology, a Calvinist for five years, in the Assemblies of God for five, and I have been a practising Catholic these past 15 years. I feel I am in a unique position to know how each type of theology has affected me personally.

    First of all, I was deep into Reformation theology. Martin Luther was my mentor. I committed my worst sins when in this phase of my life. At that time, I just shrugged my sins off, assuring myself that I was justified by faith and, as Martin Luther put it, my will was in bondage, so I cannot be held accountable for what I do. Actually, Luther’s gospel lingered with me until I became Catholic.

    Within that time I was Calvinistic. I thought I was part of the elect and looked down on others who were suffering, suffering that proved that they were part of the reprobate.
    I was Charismatic. I joined the Assemblies of God. At first, it helped me to live better for God. But I then was overcome by an emphasis in feelings over obedience. It was all about how I felt led.

    I then became Catholic (actually I became a revert). And this has been when I loved God and served God the most. I realized I would be judged not just by faith but by works – by being a Good Samaritan to others. It did not matter how I felt. The devil could masquerade as an angel of light/ At first, it was in just all work. But the more I did loving works the more I had love from the heart. But there was a problem. The sex scandals in the Church. I found that the bishops who were covering up the scandals all had one thing in common – they all believed in an easy salvation. It is a myth that Catholics, even the clergy, believe in a works salvation. They did believe that before Vatican II, but ever since most believe in a sugar-coated gospel that is even easier than Luther’s gospel. At least Luther believed that one need faith. Many Catholics, including the clergy, do not even see that faith is not even needed. No longer does a Catholic hear homilies on sin, judgment, and hell. That is why most Catholics don’t go to Church (as do most Protestants), that is why we have sex scandals (as does Protestantism), and that is why most bishops cover them up.

    The last commandment in the Bible is “Fear God”. But there is no fear of God in our modern age – both in Protestantism and Catholicism. I am still Catholic and will be until I die, by the grace of God. At least on paper the Catholic Church still teaches if we sow to the flesh we will from the flesh reap corruption. But I now read Catholic books only before Vatican II. It is not that I am against Vatican II. It is because many modernist Catholics have spun Vatican II to sound modernist. And many are influenced by this.
    No theology would ever explicitly tell you this. Satan is too smart for that! For instance, modernism never says “Rebel against God! Disobey God!”. Instead, it says things that sound appealing: If it feels good do it. There is no right and wrong. It cannot be wrong if it is done out of love.
    But the consequences of these attitudes is that it is OK to rebel against God.
    I agree. My batchelor’s degree is in family counseling. What messes us up is our subconscious thoughts. Insight therapy, the most popular type of therapy, is the counselor bringing to light these subconscious thoughts to the patient.
    I not also had my own personal experiences with all these groups, I have read much of Church history and theology. Even though I am now Catholic, I graduated from a Protestant seminary. Martin Luther at the end of his life lamented that people were better before they heard his gospel. As you know, this country was founded by Protestant Christians. Very few Catholics were here then. On the other hand, South America was colonized predominantly by Catholic. The Protestant Christians took advantage of the Native Americans in North America far more than the Catholic Christians did. It was because the Protestant Christians saw that the condition that Native Americans lived under was evidence that they were God’s reprobates. Subconciously, their view of God and man influenced how they treated them.

    Slavery was mostly in the South of the U.S., which is where the Bible-believing Christians lived. They saw the way the Africans lived as proof that God rejected them. Also, they used the Bible to justify slavery. For instance, Noah’s curse of Ham in Genesis 9 was used to prove that Africans were inferior and can be used as slaves, as shown in this:

    By the 19th century, many historians agree, the belief that African-Americans were descendants of Ham was a primary justification for slavery among Southern Christians.

    From Noah's Curse to Slavery's Rationale

    I used to be a Baptist minister, and I remember arguing with an elderly couple about this. They insisted that African-Americans were descendants of Ham and were accursed by God. Of course, this is bunk. But I could not convince them. This is what sola scriptura leads to. Anyone can pick up the Bible and use it to justify his racism.

    Now, no one said “Let’s hold to sola scriptura so that we can have slaves”. But that was the law of unintended consequences. But God's truth never has unintended consequences, because God it fully aware of all the consequences of His truth. That is why Jesus said that a good tree cannot produce bad fruit (Matt 7:17, 18). Good theology will only produce good fruit.

    In contrast, the Catholic Church condemned the mistreatment of native Americans and forced slavery based on race. Because of this, race relations is much better in South America than in North America.
  11. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

    Yeh, I had pretty much ruled out theology, history, or English.

    I enjoyed the post, though.