Mark is one of the most daring figures of the early church, but at the same time he is not easily labeled. He is the first to assemble the oral traditions about Jesus, thereby showing his fidelity and devotion to the past. But he is equally forceful in challenging his own church's accumulated traditions, especially those he does not see as authentically representative of the events of Jesus's life and ministry. He respectfully documents the authority of church leaders, and still feels free to challenge them. At times, it is difficult to know what to make of Mark. One point is clear: no Christian of any time can read this gospel without being challenged by it.