Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Partial Jesus of Anabaptist Spirituality?

I am enjoying reading David Augsburger's excellent Dissident Discipleship. This work is representative of Anabaptist spirituality. Dave writes: "Imitation of Christ is, at heart and center, imitation of Christlike love, the love we call agape." (51) And: "Attachment is actual encounter with the Jesus of the Gospels and engagement in his utterly radical claims on us and on creation." (50)

Dave sums this last statement up with five propositions. (50) And, he describes the love of Jesus as having seven distinctive characteristics. (51-52)

The things Dave is writing about so far are clearly Real Jesus things. But missing are elements that are at the heart of Jesus' kingdom message; viz., his authority over demons and his redemptive power as demonstrated in many healings. The Jesus-story is shot through with the spiritual battle against Satan and the issue of authority over diseases. "Actual encounter with the Jesus of the Gospels" must include these core realities. Of course I want Dave (and The Naked Anabaptist) to write about and celebrate these realities. But more than that, they are there, front and center, in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. While Anabaptist insights are profound and instructive, I now wonder if I will end up encountering a partial Jesus?