Let's transcend labels. Labels are useful but we too often confuse labels with the actual complex entities our labels describe. This is what i'm getting after rereading much of the Gospels. The Gospels are very shocking and subversive, and Jesus is asking us to get over our preconceived notions.
Here's an updated parable:
A Bible believing pastor of the largest church in the area meets with a confused teenage male. The pastor starts by saying "Dear Lord, thank you for this chance to witness to this young man. Thank you for helping me make up his mind."
The young man begins his own prayer, "Dear Lord, I don't know if i believe in virgin birth, bodily resurrection, or even if you exist as a personal being, but I thank you for the brain I have so that I can keep on searching for you." God heard the teenager's prayer!
This is a loose metaphor for what the Gospels are saying everytime Jesus talks to a Pharisee. The Pharisees were not the bad guys, as we think of them today, they were the ardent, honest scholars who faithfully believed. The Gospels are SHOCKING! Met to shake us out of our notions, overturn what we think is going to happen. Jesus upset the normal order! Jesus was like the teenager.
People who believe that they're already at their destination haven't even started yet. People who are humble enough to admit that they are searching are closer than they realize to the truth. Gospels original intention is to shock and overturn belief, not to reinforce it. The God of Jesus is the God of EVERYONE.
The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus by Peter Gomes
Rule of Three:
Reading: The Apocraphal Gospels
Listening: Jimmy Eat World: Futures