Mike and Rick,
I wonder if you have any further reflections on Dr. Oates’ first two chapters. I have not encountered any of the extremes that were talked about in Chapter 1 (i.e. cutting off hand, plucking out eye, etc.), but I have encountered people who have thought of and attempted suicide; however,these were rare.
I was actually struck by a sentence toward the end of chapter 2: “The doctor’s job is to help people see straight, and the minister’s job is to see to it that they are looking at the right God when they seek to be religious.” That is a tall order for a job description. You might imagine that with my strong background in NT study that I wrestle with the theological implications of “the right God.” You can also surmise my theological leanings since I graduated from SBTS in 1974. In this era of the politicization of religion, I am troubled that more and more people shape their theology around their political leaning. Political stance comes first and theology is wrapped around it. Jesus’ pronouncements in the Sermon on the Mount and Matthew 25 are now being followed by a “Yes, but….” statement. “Yes, we are to feed the hungry, but not if they are on welfare.” “Yes, we are to love our neighbor, but we don’t want those people in our neighborhood.” “Yes, Jesus loves other religions, but we don’t want them in our country.”
Any thoughts on this?