Synoptic Gospels 2019 programme

Synoptic Gospels Chairs: Andy Angel and Elizabeth Shively

Session One

Heerak Christian Kim, Asia Evangelical College and Seminary, ‘Fiedler’s Leadership Contingency Model and the Task-Oriented Leadership of Jesus of Nazareth as Illustrated in Matthew 10’

Leadership contingency models were developed to understand the correlation between a leader’s roles in an organization or movement and the leader’s relationship to workers that impact productivity, and Fiedler’s Contingency Theory is the most well-known (da Cruz, Nunes, & Pinheiro, 2011). Fiedler distinguished between task-oriented leadership styles and relationship-oriented leadership styles. In this paper, I examine the leadership styles of Jesus of Nazareth. Although there are elements of Jesus of Nazareth’s ministry with the twelve disciples that seem to point to a relationship-oriented leadership style, such as Jesus engaging in a communal life with his twelve disciples, as evidenced in the Last Supper, it would be more accurate to describe Jesus of Nazareth’s leadership style as task-oriented. This is clear in the work that Jesus of Nazareth entrusted his twelve disciples to do in Matthew 10. Jesus of Nazareth as a leader was interested in expanding his movement, and the Gospel pericope describes specific tasks that Jesus of Nazareth assigns to his disciples. Jesus of Nazareth is interested in achieving his organizational goals through specific tasks that each of his disciples were to carry out. And Jesus of Nazareth provides instructions regarding contingencies that the disciples might face in the course of carrying out their tasks. Jesus of Nazareth provides specific instructions for each contingency. Thus, Mathew 10 pericope will be analyzed with a view to Fiedler’s Contingency Theory as a way to show that Jesus of Nazareth had a task-oriented leadership style rather than a relationship-oriented leadership style.

Will Robinson, Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry, Australian Catholic University, ‘Matthew’s Eschatology and the Ethics of Jesus

Several recent studies have suggested that there is a fundamental contradiction between the ethics of Jesus in Matthew’s gospel, such as love of one’s neighbour, and the gospel’s violent eschatology, particularly relating to the burning of the wicked in hell. This paper argues that early Christians would not necessarily conclude this way. Rather, Matthew has an essentially consistent portrait of eschatological punishment that permeates Jesus’ ethical teachings and his parabolic imagery. Therefore, the violent eschatology cannot be easily excised. Other relevant texts are adduced to demonstrate that concepts such as love were routinely presented alongside those concerning eschatological punishment. Accordingly, we conclude that neither Matthew, nor his audience, would necessarily view Jesus’ ethical admonitions, such a love of one’s neighbour, as opposed to his predictions of the burning of the wicked in hell.

Session Two

Andy Angel, St Andrew’s Church, Burgess Hill, West Sussex, ‘Jesus’ Sodom and Gomorrah Sayings in the Light of Current Research into Second Temple Jewish Texts: A Discussion Paper’

The Church of England has commissioned a project, ‘Living in Love and Faith’, to explore Christian teaching on human sexuality in the contemporary context. Those involved in the process are exploring, amongst other things, Christian teaching on homosexuality. In contemporary debate, Jesus is often said to be silent on the topic although traditionally many understood his Sodom and Gomorrah sayings to suggest that he thought homoerotic behaviors to be sinful. In 1955 Derrick Sherwin Bailey published his Homosexuality and the Western Christian Tradition which read the NT references to Sodom and Gomorrah against the development of intertestamental literature as understood by contemporary scholarship, and concluded that at the time of Jesus their sin was understood to be some form of inhospitality. His conclusions in this book influenced the attitude of the Church of England towards homosexuality, contributing to the recommendations of the Wolfenden Report in 1957 and the decriminalization of homosexuality in the UK. Since Bailey wrote much work has been done on intertestamental literature, not least the magisterial work of William Loader on sexuality in second temple Judaism. The paper and discussion will explore what light, if any, current work on intertestamental literature might shed on Jesus’ Sodom and Gomorrah sayings, and whether this helps us to understand his (or the Synoptic evangelists’) attitude towards homoerotic behaviors. Those leading ‘Living and Love and Faith’ have expressed an interest in the paper and the results of the discussion.

Session Three

Book Review Panel on David Wenham, From Good News to Gospels: What Did the First Christians Say about Jesus? (Eerdmans, 2018)

Eric Eve, University of Oxford; Alan Garrow, University of Sheffield; and David Wenham, Trinity College, Bristol