Thursday, January 2, 2014

GOE 2014 Set 1: The Holy Scriptures

As many of you know I was the Examining Chaplain for the Diocese of Kentucky for a number of years.  Hence, I developed an interest in the General Ordination Exam.  Below is "Set 1" of the General Ordination Exam of 2014.  This will only interest real Ecclesiastical Geeks.  Everyone else can move on to something more interesting.  But, for other fellow Geeks...

Set 1: The Holy Scriptures 

LIMITED RESOURCES: A printed one-volume annotated Bible; a printed one-volume concordance. NO electronic or Internet resources.

The Church teaches that Holy Scripture is an authoritative source of direction for addressing the challenges of contemporary faith and living. The Bible helps us understand what God has called and is calling the people of God to be and do.  Sometimes, however, it would seem the biblical direction in which we are to walk is not clear. This is true when we look at the issue of violence.

Consider, for example, the following pairs of texts from Old and New Testaments:
Isaiah 2:2-4
2In days to come
  the mountain of the Lord's house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
  and shall be raised above the hills;
all the nations shall stream to it.
3 Many peoples shall come and say,
'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
  to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
  and that we may walk in his paths.'
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
  and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4He shall judge between the nations,
  and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
  and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
  neither shall they learn war any more.

Joel 3:9-12 
9Proclaim this among the nations:
Prepare war,
  stir up the warriors.
Let all the soldiers draw near,
  let them come up.
10Beat your ploughshares into swords,
   and your pruning-hooks into spears;
   let the weakling say, 'I am a warrior.'
11Come quickly,
   all you nations all around,
   gather yourselves there.
Bring down your warriors, O Lord.
12Let the nations rouse themselves,
   and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat;
for there I will sit to judge
   all the neighboring nations.
Matthew 5:9
9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Luke 22:35-38
 35 He said to them, 'When I sent you out without a purse, bag, or sandals, did you lack anything?' They said, 'No, not a thing.'36 He said to them, 'But now, the one who has a purse must take it, and likewise a bag. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one. 37 For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me, "And he was counted among the lawless"; and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled.' 38They said, 'Lord, look, here are two swords.' He replied, 'It is enough.'

Taking seriously the need for biblical direction and the differing perspectives taken by the Bible on violence, in an essay of 1,500 words:

1. Exegete either the Old Testament or the New Testament pair of texts, analyzing and presenting their literary, historical, and theological characteristics. Your exegesis should clearly explicate the purposes of each text. (1,000 words)

2. Apply your exegesis to a contemporary issue of violence. Your argument should honor the integrity of the Bible and take seriously the church's call for authoritative direction. (500 words)

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