Perhaps more to the point is that anyone who preaches or teaches has to be selective in the texts they use (as there are only so many hours in a life) and so they will naturally use the texts which seem to them the most useful, enlightening, and life giving in their situations. But I think Ker has a few things backwards, he writes,
Two weeks ago in The Bible is not the Gospel I made the controversial claim that the Gospel is more important than the Bible. We are called to preach the Gospel not preach the Bible.Which is true, but not not helpful. It is a bit like saying a person is not their body, we are called to love peole not their bodies, so I am free to ignore certain bodily needs of others because they are only needs of the body not the person. The Bible is not the Gospel, but the Bible contains the Gospel in such a way as to make it impossible to distill the Gospel from the Bible and do without the Bible. Cut holes in the Bible and you are cutting holes in the Gospel, even though the Bible is not the Gospel. Ker continues,
And the overwhelming witness of the New Testament is that Jesus and all preachers after him used the Old Testament very selectively as a launching point for a message about the Kingdom and its King.This is one of those ideas that seems to have wide circulation and is used to justify all sorts of "violence" against the OT. But it just isn't true. No Jesus and Paul and the other NT writers did not systematically make sure they quoted from every genre of scripture but everything they taught presupposed the OT, in its entirety. The gospel of the NT can only make sense and be understood as its stands on the foundation of the OT. Not only so but when Jesus and Paul and the others use the OT they do not just proof-text widly but have a profound intertextual hermeneutic. That this is so is slowly being demonstrated by the new(ish) wave of scholarly interest in the NT use of the OT.
Ker uses as his own proof text the Nazareth manifesto of Luke 4:16-19. The thing is in Luke it doesn't actually say what Jesus did or didn't read out, it only points us to the place in the scroll that he read from. This is not evidence of Jesus selectively quoting scripture. Notwithstanding, Ker suggests two reasons why Jesus missed out the vengeance bit of Isaiah 61:1-2.
First, pragmatically, Jesus was using this passage to kick off his ministry which was to be about God’s favor. Second, and related, is the fact that under the new covenant that God was making with all the peoples of the world, vengeance was set aside, or you could say transferred to Christ who bore all the vengeance of God’s wrath on the cross in our place.We need to ask what God's favour means to a people living under the oppresive goverment of a foreign power. It means that their enemies get dealt to. God's favour is not a "nice" thing and his vengeance "nasty." In Isaiah 61 the direct result of God's vengeance is the comforting of those who are mourning and grieving. Why are they comforted because God's vengeance is good news to those who have been oppressed, ruined and devastated. Vengeance does not mean revenge, it means justice. More specifically it means God's justice. Revenge is what happens when we take it upon ourselves to deal with those who have oppressed us, to punish them. It always goes wrong because we are not capable of true justice. God is.
I would suggest, and humbly because I do not share David's context, that perhaps it is those very vengeance texts that need to be taught and preached so that those Christians who are wronged can rest from their own desire for revenge and trust in God's ultimate justice. For those who are oppressed and victimised God's vengeance is good news, if you skip that bit they may feel an even greater need to take matters into their own hands.
Let me know what you think. :-)