Ronald Farmer

The Nature of Scriptural Authority: A Protestant Process Perspective

Publication Date: 
April 29, 2002
Author - First Name: 
Ronald L.
Author - Last Name: 
Farmer

Among Protestants, scripture plays a foundational role in both personal piety and congregational life. The centrality of scripture and its proclamation manifests itself even in the architectural arrangement of the chancel and its furnishings in most Protestant churches. Not surprisingly, then, the rise of modern biblical criticism has provoked intense discussion and debate regarding the nature of scriptural authority.

Transfiguration Sunday (Last Sunday after Epiphany)

February 22, 2004
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Exodus 34:29-35
Reading 2: 
Psalm 99
Reading 3: 
2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2
Reading 4: 
Luke 9:28-43
By Ronald Farmer

Exodus 34:29-35

5th Sunday after Epiphany

February 8, 2004
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 6:1-8
Reading 2: 
Psalm 138
Reading 3: 
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Reading 4: 
Luke 5:1-11
By Ronald Farmer

Isaiah 6:1-8

4th Sunday after Epiphany

February 1, 2004
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Jeremiah 1:4-10
Reading 2: 
Psalm 71:1-6
Reading 3: 
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Reading 4: 
Luke 4:21-30
By Ronald Farmer

Jeremiah 1:4-10
For two consecutive Sundays, the Hebrew Bible readings concern “call narratives,” those of Jeremiah and Isaiah respectively. Call narratives, although personalized to each recipient, typically follow a threefold pattern: the call/commission, the prophet’s objection, and a word/action of assurance from God. This pattern is easily discernable in today’s lection.

3rd Sunday after Epiphany

January 25, 2004
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10
Reading 2: 
Psalm 19
Reading 3: 
1 Corinthians 12:12-31a
Reading 4: 
Luke 4:14-21
By Ronald Farmer

Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10

2nd Sunday after Epiphany

January 18, 2004
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 62:1-5
Reading 2: 
Psalm 36:5-10
Reading 3: 
1 Corinthians 12:1-11
Reading 4: 
John 2:1-11
By Ronald Farmer

Isaiah 62: 1-5

1st Sunday after Epiphany

January 11, 2004
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Isaiah 43:1-8
Reading 2: 
Psalm 29
Reading 3: 
Acts 8:14-17
Reading 4: 
Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
By Ronald Farmer

Composed following the rise of Cyrus the Great but before his conquest of Babylon (i.e., between 547 and 540 BCE), this passage is an excellent example of the literary genre known as an Oracle of Salvation. Second Isaiah’s charge to “Comfort, O Comfort my people” and “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem” (40:1-2) find special manifestation in this oracle. For people who had suffered much—indeed, for those who suffer today—these lovingly compassionate and personal words were sorely needed.

5th Sunday of Easter

April 28, 2002
Reading 2: 
Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16
Reading 3: 
1 Peter 2:2-10
Reading 4: 
John 14:1-14
By Ronald Farmer

Today’s lesson from Acts is the final scene in the life of Stephen, a Hellenistic Jewish Christian introduced to the reader as one of the Seven appointed to take care of the distribution to the Hellenistic widows (6:1-6). "A man full of faith and the Holy Spirit" (6:5), Stephen proved himself to be a brilliant—if not always tactful—apologist and preacher (6:8-10). As is frequently the case, one can win an argument yet lose his opponents in the process.

4th Sunday of Easter

April 21, 2002
Reading 2: 
Psalm 23
Reading 3: 
1 Peter 2:19-25 or Acts 2:42-47
Reading 4: 
John 10:1-10
By Ronald Farmer

I always enjoy it when a theme winds its way through the lectionary texts. Today is one of those happy occasions, for the image of shepherding appears in the Psalm, the Gospel, and the Epistolary lesson. The much-loved Twenty-third Psalm portrays Yahweh as the psalmist’s personal Shepherd. The Gospel of John describes Jesus as the Good Shepherd who supplies abundant life for his flock. First Peter approaches the image from the other side; sheep that had gone astray now have returned to the Shepherd of their souls.

3rd Sunday of Easter

April 14, 2002
Reading 2: 
Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19
Reading 3: 
1 Peter 1:17-23 or Acts 2:14a, 36-41
Reading 4: 
Luke 24:13-35
By Ronald Farmer

Today’s first lesson records the crowd’s response to Peter’s message on Pentecost. (The sermon itself is divided into lessons for the Second Sunday of Easter and Pentecost Sunday.) In a manner reminiscent of today’s Gospel lesson (Luke 24:25-27, 32), Peter had used the Scriptures to interpret both the Pentecostal gift of the Holy Spirit (2:27 -21) and the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus (2:25 -28, 34-35).  He then concluded his sermon with a proclamation of divine vindication: “God has ma

2nd Sunday of Easter

April 7, 2002
See Also: 
Reading 2: 
Psalm 16
Reading 3: 
1 Peter 1:3-9 or Acts 2:14a, 22-32
Reading 4: 
John 20:19-31
By Ronald Farmer

Preaching about the resurrection has never been an easy task. We see this in today’s readings from Acts and John, and we experience it personally each Easter season. In order to be taken seriously, preachers must address all sorts of legitimate doubts on the part of their audiences.

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