This is an open letter from Dr. Black to all his students in his Mark Exegesis class. It is from his excellent blog and I thought I would share it here with you.
I hope you’re enjoying as much as I am our study of the Gospel of Mark and its bold look at what it means to follow Jesus. My own study of the sixteenth century Anabaptists forever changed the way I looked at Christian discipleship. As John Howard Yoder was fond of saying, the Anabaptists did not reinvent Christianity; they simply rediscovered its radical character. For example, they were content to call each other “brother and sister” because Jesus had made it clear that honorific titles had no place in His kingdom. They refused to slavishly follow church traditions. In Zürich, the Anabaptist movement began with the expectation that the Zwinglian movement might indeed “go all the way” with reformation. For them, the New Testament provided no warrant for infant baptism or for the union of church and state. They “saw things differently” you might say — and that is precisely my goal for you, my Greek students.
My prayer is that this course might be a training ground for cultivating an ability to see things differently and, thus, to see things truly. We can no longer aim to live “the good Christian life” as advertised in Christian magazines. I’m convinced that, if we would adopt a truly Christian lifestyle, we would turn our world upside down for Christ. Jesus’ disciples knew this. They lived a lifestyle that matched their responsibility to a lost world. It showed as they went forth, two by two, to preach and heal. It showed by their detachment from the worship of earthy things. It showed.
Jesus made no apology for demanding our ultimate allegiance. If we’re not putting His kingdom first, then why in the world are we studying the Gospels?
Yours in the Lamb,
This letter is just another reminder why I am at Southeastern studying. My professors’ main aim is the Gospel and equipping us to communicate and live it out throughout the world. The goal is not just study the Word but in fact be transformed by the Word. And in response to such a great salvation, we will take that new found light into the world of darkness.