Martin Accad is the director of the Institute of Middle East Studies (IMES) at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Beirut, Lebanon and an associate professor at Fuller Theological Seminary and a false Christian working to leave the Church vulnerable to Muslim persecution.
Accad’s main philosophy is kerygmatics. I haven’t heard that term myself despite being a lifelong devout Christian. This is from Wiley Online Library:
The descriptive term “kerygmatic” comes from the Greek word kerygma, meaning to preach or proclaim. The term is frequently used by kerygmatic theologians (e.g. Rudolf Bultmann, Karl Barth) to describe the act of preaching that calls for an existential faith in the meaning of Jesus. The term kerygma was used by theologians to denote the content of apostolic preaching which consisted of historical facts about Jesus’ life and ministry (e.g. death, burial, resurrection, and ascension) for understanding the meaning Jesus (e.g. C. H. Dodd). According to kerymatic theologians, when the content of the primitive kerygma is preached today (i.e. Jesus’ death and resurrection) it is understood that God calls upon hearers to believe in God’s act in Christ, so that hearers recognize their judgment of sin and receive grace in the present.
Salvation by exposure to preaching? No wonder they need a new word. From encyclopedia.com:
KERYGMATIC THEOLOGY: The systematic study of theological truths within a structure that can directly and immediately serve to prepare for and promote the preaching of the truths of revelation to the Christian people (A. de Villalmonte). The modern movement for a kerygmatic theology seeks to orientate scientific theology to Christian life and apostolate, and thereby to bring about an interaction of theology and apostolic action. …
Symbolism is used to convey value, and the value-symbol relation explains the central position of the man Jesus Christ and His history in a kerygmatic synthesis. The relation highlights as well the demand for a theology and a catechesis adaptable to the psychological and cultural needs of the individual.
An early attempt to establish a theology independent of scholastic theology met with a strong disapproval, principally because of its inherent ambiguity, imprecision, and limited intellectual scope.
As we’ve seen many times in Current Year, ambiguity and imprecision are the vanguard of false teachers and pathological liars. Christianity has never been difficult to understand, only to accept. I cannot grok how Christian theology could possibly be adapted to individual purposes. God’s existence, plans and morality are objective, not subjective. Adapting God to service our needs is the religion of humanism.
If the above is too philosophical then I found this powerpoint presentation from a Catholic source; seems kerygmatics has transcended the Prot-Cat division:
Kerygmatic Approach to Religious Education:
During the early twentieth century, the kerygmatic movement developed in the Catholic Church as a result of a growing dissatisfaction with the dogmatic approach in religious education.
Changes to religious education came at a time when United Kingdom and United States of America teachers of religious education started to question whether rote learning and memorisation of facts was the most effective approach to teaching (Whenman, 2012).
Hobson and Welbourne (2002) state that since Vatican II a quantum leap has been made from an approach that concentrated on memorised doctrine to a process that applies critical reason to Christian texts, rituals and symbols.
As early as the mid nineteenth century there were developments in theological thinking (Gallagher, 2001). Thinking included viewing the Church as a community rather than the church being an impenetrable fortress.
Memorizing facts is so Nineteenth century.
Lance (as cited in Gallagher, 2001) states the purpose of the kerygmatic approach was to enable students to reflect on themselves and their lives and to examine these in depth so that they came to see God present in their own lives. The aim being to renew the significance of the Church liturgies and scriptures.
Advantages: The kerygmatic movement signified an important change. The Bible became a much more important tool in religious education.
A series of text books were integrated into classrooms such as ‘My Way to God’ which led to new styles of teaching that resulted in improved engagement of student learning (Whenman, 2012).
“Change” as an end in itself means “novelty”, which is not part of Christian theology.
Rummery (1977) states another advantage was that the gap between teachers and students lessened as both were seen as participants. This less formal relationship between student and teacher allowed for informed discussion.
The catechism was no longer used as a starting point for discussion rather, it was used to link to students’ life experiences.
Limitations: Gallagher (2001) identifies the disadvantages in the approach were that many of those involved in teaching religion were ill equipped to cope with the change from dogmatic to the kerygmatic approach.
Many religious educators failed to make the historical approach relevant to children in the twentieth century.
Bible stories became repetitious and were not modified to suit the needs of the students.
Educators assumed all students were believers which made it difficult for students to make connections with the Bible.
This last comment is a massive problem in the Protestant world, generally. Pastors make almost no effort to convince people that God is real. They assume that any newcomer has already been sold on Christianity and preach on how useful their particular church will be to his problems. (Assuming his problems are self-destructive habits or rebellion against wifey.) You can stump the average pastor by asking him why somebody should continue believing in God if God isn’t useful.
To summarize, kerygmatics is what you get when you use Scripture as fairy tales instead of the Word of God. The purpose of kerygmatics is to confuse and disassociate the principles of Christian theology in preparation for subversion.
Which brings us to Martin Accad.
Our first article of three is from Fuller Seminary, in which Accad finds “traditional” understandings of Christianity unsuitable for imposing global peace upon humanity. Large historical/philosophical sections skipped:
If the “way of the world” in building peace has been failing us, and if there is increasing recognition that religion renders conflict intractable, then it is perhaps time for the church to reexamine its legacy in the realm of conflict as well as its biblical mandate for peacebuilding. We must ask ourselves, as people of God, whether we have been part of the problem or part of the solution, and how we will tackle the way ahead.
Of course religion is a source of conflict. Humanity is in constant rebellion against God. This isn’t even a Christian concept. Pick your favorite deity, even None, and a large chunk of humanity will act against him. Religion will never bring us lasting peace, not even when Christ personally takes his chair back from Rome.
In a recent blog on biblical peace, I examined the concept of shalom in the Old Testament as the semantic framework for our understanding of the New Testament teaching on peace.4 I discovered that God’s peace is a state of well-being into which God invites his people in fulfillment of his part of his covenant with them. The Israelite people are promised God’s shalom on condition that they remain faithful to him, keep the Sabbath, and obey his commandments (Lev 26:1–3). Under these conditions, they are promised that “the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit,” that he will “grant peace in the land,” that they will have victory over their enemies, and that he will increase their numbers and keep his covenant with them. And crucially from an Old Testament perspective, God promises, “I will put my dwelling place among you . . . I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people” (Lev 26:1–12).
This is an accurate description of the Old Covenant. Accad left out two facts: one, the OC was a total failure as a way to foster morality or peace, and two, this offer has been withdrawn and replaced by the New Covenant.
When Jesus was asked which commandment was the greatest, he affirmed: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” adding that the second is “like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matt 22:37–39). Clearly, Jesus agreed that our faithfulness to God is at the heart of the covenant and the core condition of our experience of God’s shalom. But he established as well the second commandment at the same level of importance. We cannot affirm that we truly love God if we don’t also love our neighbor. The Apostle John warns in his first epistle: “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen” (1 John 4:20).
Boldface mine. Were these two separate commands or one single command stated twice? The first one is correct but Accad disagrees here.
GLEANING INSIGHT ON PEACEBUILDING FROM THE CAIN AND ABEL NARRATIVE
Working toward peace in multifaith contexts has its particular challenges. Aren’t people of faith supposed to affirm the propositional truths of their religion with confidence, to the exclusion of other contenders? [GQ: Yes.] How do we build peaceful relationships with people who—we are convinced—are in the wrong? [GQ: Good fences.] Furthermore, how do we do this when we perceive them as being violent? [GQ: If they actually are violent then peace is not an option.] If you are an Arab Christian, how do you respond when you have been ostracized through the centuries as a religious minority, even actively excluded and persecuted by the Muslim majority? [GQ: By “perceiving them as being violent”]
I have found the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4 to contain invaluable lessons for Christians living in multifaith contexts under duress. … In this primordial encounter between Genesis’s third human person and God lies the embryonic presentation of human history’s most recurring and ever-present problem: religion at the heart of conflict.
There was no religion at this time. God spoke directly to humans. Cain’s parents could remember life with God In Person.
Cain has just failed to please God through his religious ritual, and he is sorely aware of it. His brother Abel, conversely, has also just performed a ritual upon which, we are told, “the Lord looked with favor” (v. 4). To the ill-prepared reader, God’s attitude toward each of the sacrifices seems rather arbitrary, even capricious. Why should Cain’s offering of “some of the fruits of the soil” (v. 3) be received less favorably than Abel’s offering of “fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock” (v. 4)? There are few clues in the text to help us understand God’s stance, and I will not dwell too long on this question here.
Genesis 4:3-4 “So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions.” I emphasized the relevant parts. News flash, fruit grows on trees. Abel brought God his best while Cain brought God fallen, overripe fruit that he didn’t need to harvest. I would’ve preferred Abel, too.
Is Martin Accad really a peer of three international Christian institutions of higher learning? He doesn’t understand the second morality tale of the Bible and didn’t recognize the answer even when he quoted it. The story of Cain & Abel is on, what, page 5?
“Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil,” we read in verse 2, so each naturally brought to God the fruit of their labor. From an immediate reading of the text, they could hardly have done otherwise. Likewise, most of us will die with the religion in which we were born. I did not choose to be born Christian, and neither did my neighbor choose to be born Muslim.
Nobody is born Christian. Until you voluntarily accept Christ, you are His enemy. (Excepting children too young to understand good & evil but that’s innocence, not Christianity.)
Nobody is born Muslim, either, but if you’re born to Muslims and choose a different religion then you’ll “perceive them murdering you for apostasy”.
This brings us to the reality of our multireligious world. The pursuit of truth is certainly important. Theologians and philosophers of religions should and will continue to explore truth. People of faith will continue to invite others into the good news of the message of which they are convinced, presenting as best they can the coherence of their faith system. But besides this noble task of affirming “orthodoxy,” which is passionately argued in the affirmation of Abel’s offering and the rejection of Cain’s, the more important challenge that Genesis 4 seems to pose is the question of correct “orthopathy” and correct “orthopraxy.” How will we react when we are confronted with those of a different “doxy,” or system of belief? Will we give in to our anger and frustration and seek their destruction, or will we seek proper “praxy”?
We disciples of Christ will follow Christ’s example of pointing out their mistakes… loudly… and if they persist in doing wrong then we isolate ourselves from them. Throughout this article, Accad assumes that multicult immigration is going to be the new normal, that monocultural societies are never going to happen again and the best thing for us to do is weaken our grasp on “orthodoxy” enough to purchase peace at whatever price our new Muslim neighbors charge.
No doubt the synthesis of this “truth for peace” process will be a new, pseudo-Abrahamic religion with a mortal godhead.
If we condemn Cain too swiftly, without taking the time to ponder our own negative and exclusivist attitudes toward our brothers and sisters of other faiths, as abominable as his act was, we will quickly give in to self-righteousness. By identifying too strongly with Abel, we risk inadvertently turning into Cain. But when we take the time to ponder the mark that God put on Cain as a protection from harm (4:15), we begin recognizing ourselves in Cain, and we begin to give heed to God’s invitation that we should “rule over” our anger and shame, and respond to his plea that we be our “brother’s keeper” (4:9).
That… is… an entirely original interpretation of the story. I accuse Martin Accad of heresy for comparing humanity’s first murder to Christianity’s “exclusivist attitude”.
Our exploration of the concept of peace in the Bible brings us before Christ’s invitation to his followers to be peacemakers. Bogged down as we often are by conflict within our churches, we can understand Christ’s call as if it applied primarily to in-house conflict, easily overlooking his call that we are to bring about biblical shalom in society at large. As we have struggled with this realization at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Beirut, we have been reflecting on what it means to be peacemakers while at the same time holding onto our distinctive calling of being witnesses for the mission of God in the MENA region. This has led us to coin the expression “kerygmatic peacebuilding.” As followers of Jesus, we are called to be catalysts for peace at both the grassroots and national political levels. The challenge, however, is not to so take on the peacebuilding methods of the world that we forget the uniqueness of how Jesus has redefined peace and peacemaking.
The uniqueness of Jesus is in His Divinity and Crucifixion, not his understanding of peace. Accad is twisting Jesus to be a means toward “interfaith peace”. While I understand the appeal of safety to a guy living in Beirut, suffering is the price of following Christ. Suffering is Christ’s promise to us. If you can’t take the heat, if you’re this desperate for peace, Accad, then renounce Christ and start humping towards Mecca. Your mortal years will be much safer and happier. Bonus, I’ll stop hating you, you God-damned hypocrite.
REPOSITIONING THE CHURCH AS A KERYGMATIC PEACEMAKER
The challenge that presents itself to us as Christ-following peacemakers is this: Are we so vexed at the reality of pluralism that, like Cain, we are prepared to get rid of our “brother” in a violent expression of exclusivism? Or will we heed God’s call to “do what is right,” to follow his model of peace as the greatest peacemaker—and to see God’s face in the face of our “brother” as we seek to establish truth, justice, and peace in the world?
The church in the MENA region is so wounded that it will fail to practice its role as peacemaker and reconciler unless it learns how to find healing first in the one who was “pierced for our transgressions” and “crushed for our iniquities” (Isa 53:5). Our wounds too often drive us away from our Muslim neighbors; our hurt contributes to fear, and as a result we develop bitter representations of the “other” and listen only to our own narratives.
THEY GOT THOSE WOUNDS FROM MUSLIMS! Entire generations of institutional persecution are not “narratives”!
I am convinced from my work in the formation of leaders for the church in the MENA region that the greatest threat to the future of Arab Christianity is not Islam, but rather the perception that Christians have of themselves and of their Muslim neighbors. I worry that the kind of slanderous representations of Islam and Muslims that are so common these days, not just in [Mideast/North Africa] but in the church globally, are becoming so toxic and hazardous that they are having a long-term negative impact on the ongoing health of the church. And I worry that our self-perception as victims will neutralize our ability to break the cycle of violence and prevent our wounds from becoming a source of healing rather than of a festering stench.
Kerygmatic peacemaking is rooted in our self-giving God who, in Christ, not only revealed his willingness to become vulnerable before his enemies, but also chose to reconcile the world to himself through a selfless life that led him to his death.
Unbelievable. Martin Assad has completely broken from Christ. Fuller Seminary ought to be ashamed of its association with him. I have more; Part 2 is coming!