Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The most Jewish of the Gospels

Over at Ragged Glory, I have been exploring the question, Are Christians required to obey the law of Moses? I have argued that Paul's answer to the question is, No — Christians are not under the law.

In my current post, I shift our attention to the Gospel According to Matthew.

Matthew is the most Jewish of the Gospels. A close examination suggests that Matthew and his readers continued to obey the law of Moses:  specifically, the laws distinguishing clean from unclean foods and the Sabbath laws. Matthew and his community also continued standard Jewish practices such as almsgiving, fasting, and worship in the Temple.

I believe this issue illustrates the extent to which Christians may legitimately diverge from one another in doctrine and in practice. Logically, there is a limit to how far we can stray from the "norm" and still call ourselves Christians. But I think our tendency is to draw that line too soon. Even within the pages of the New Testament, diverse doctrines and practices are represented.