Saturday, November 28, 2009

Separating Love from "In Love"

I heard the argument again yesterday. A friend emphasizing a major point of his regular teaching,  "The Bible doesn't say that a woman has to love her husband- she just has to respect him."

"And that should be good enough for him". " But he still has to love and honor her".

I read Doug Wilson saying the same thing a few days before (Reforming Marriage, pg. 26), "Wives are nowhere specifically commanded to love their husbands".
Then somehow Wilson gets away from Titus 2:4 by saying that, 'this verse doesn't count- because it uses love as a "compound word"'.   Hmmm.

Would this argument stand up to Jehovah's Witnesses who claim that the trinitarian-God is,  "not a compound being- because he is not specifically called a 'compound being' in the Bible"?

And wouldn't it follow then- that women do not have to love their children either?  Because this verse uses love as a "compound word" as well?

But we know that doesn't follow, don't we?  Don't we?

Does it not then follow, that since wives needn't love their husbands- that the church needn't love Christ?

That the church merely needs to respect Christ?  That she need not be "ONE FLESH" with Christ?- Ephesians 5:30-32.
That she just needs to give Christ the respect that "He desperately needs"?

Would Wilson also say that the Bible doesn't endorse oral sex either?   Because it never uses the compound word "oral sex"?
We know from his book (pg. 106)- that he would not say that.  And we know from this article by leading translator Bill Mounce- that Mounce would not say that either.

And would Mounce not also say that some form of the Granville Sharp rule of translation also applies to this verse construction as well?  That there is a parallel construction?  That the same qualities that apply to "husband" also apply to "children"? 

Then why would Wilson and Eggerichs present this concept?  Is it to dissemble that popular "in love" concept?
A concept that is nowhere presented in the Bible?  Now, that would be a noble undertaking but...

So, in keeping with that same Mounce article- let's not attribute motives.  But let's assess the implications of this profound new teaching.

A wife not having to love her husband.
A wife not having to sacrifice for her husband.  Hmmm...

A mother not having to love her children.
A mother not having to sacrifice for her children.  Hmmm...


Any men here- still desirous of an unloving bride?
Any Christ here-still desirous of  an unloving church?

For a church that would thereby "blaspheme the Word" [the subsequent verse in Titus]?
The Word that is God? 
Surely the compound-Word will "spit you out"!- Rev. 3:16
For God was not so "in-love" with this world that...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Separating the spirit from the Holy Spirit

You've probably seen and heard enough of Dan Brown, right?
Disputing the deity of Jesus.  Disputing Jesus metaphysical nature.  Rampant metaphysical scepticism. 

Well, in a recent "exclusive" interview- there is some indication that Dan just may be coming around.  That Dan just may be at the brink of saving faith. May be coming to know the real Jesus in his study of history.  May be seeing Jesus as fully God, as well as fully man.  Or is at as Dan writes in his latest book- "The truth, however, was stranger still"?

Dan claims in this interview- that he is now seeing 'more metaphysical stuff'.  A good thing.
That he is now seeing more of a "spiritual aspect to science".  An oxymoron by naturalist standards.
Seems Dan is becoming less of a naturalist, however.

Not unlike father of science- Isaac Newton's view of science, "But these are things that cannot be explained in few words, nor are we furnished with that sufficiency of experiments which is required to an accurate determination and demonstration of the laws by which this electric and elastic Spirit operates. THE END."

Not unlike Jesus view of science, "you do not know where it [the wind] comes from or where it goes- John 3:8
And not unlike Jesus view of causality, "that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit"- John 3:6

But notice, Brown appears to be referring to an impersonal force.  While Newton (an Arian similar to Brown) appears to be referring to a force unlike impersonal gravity.  A force much more like a person.  A force worthy of an upper-case capital.  Unlike Newton's lower-case gravity.

Other Arians like Jehovah Witnesses, also appeal to an impersonal force.  In their magazine Should You Believe in the Trinity? they state,  "THE Bible's use of "holy spirit" indicates that it is a controlled force that Jehovah God uses to accomplish a variety of his purposes. To a certain extent, it can be likened to electricity, a force that can be adapted to perform a great variety of operations."

Should we marvel then, that those that liken the Holy Spirit to a mere force- are not born of the Spirit?  That those that cannot liken the Holy Spirit to God- are not truly born of God?  That they are mere naturalists born of flesh?- John 3:6

Notice also, that such naturalists use a lower-case spirit, while true spiritualists use an UPPER-CASE Spirit.

But which case is used by the scribes of  the oldest  manuscripts?

"No Fair!"you exclaim,"Everything was UPPER-CASE in the oldest manuscripts".

Yes, but let's look at what else they did.

We now (just a few months ago) have this wonderful public access to marvelous images of Codex Sinaiticus.
Indeed, currently "the oldest Bible" and "the oldest substantial book to survive antiquity".

Notice in this image of 1 Corinthians 2:12 the case of spirit as the first word.

Yes, it's all UPPER-CASE.  But notice what else they did.  They placed a line above this word.
A line that is also placed above the word next (separated only by the definite article) to it- GOD!
This over-line/over-bar/superscript highlights the sacredness of this name.  What is called a nomen sacra in Latin.

It seems the scribe of this text understood the Spirit to be something transcendent.  Something transcendent like the sacred name God nearby it.  Not something subservient to God.  But someone equal to God.

Here is another image of this same verse in P46 (preserved @ University of Michigan) written about a century earlier. 

Here is a great article on the nomina sacra.

This article repeatedly claims that there are "no" early manuscripts that do not include this nomina sacra.
Other noteworthy claims:  
Comfort claims, “The nomina sacra for Lord, Jesus, Christ, God and Spirit must have been
created in the first century” (Encountering the Manuscripts, 203, emphasis added).
C. H. Roberts argued that the nomina sacra arose early (before AD
70) in the Jerusalem church, representing an “embryonic creed of the
first church.”15 The nomina divina represented the common beliefs
shared by all Christians in their reverence for God the Father, God the
Son and God the Spirit.

May Dan Brown share in that common belief.  That embryonic creed.
And may you rejoice in His sacred names- or remain nameless in His Book of Life.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Separating Saints From Aint's

Found the above image at an atheist blog. One of those "New Atheists". The bigger, bolder intolerant type.
Yet the above is exactly what the Bible exhorts us to do... with scandalous saints- 1 Cor. 5:5. Let's call them Aint's.

Indeed, if you truly love the Aints- you will deprive them of the blessings of the church. Deprive them of the special graces designated for His children. No, not just deprive them of the marrying and burying blessings (which even the perverted pagans demand our blessings upon)- but deprive them of all of the sanctificational blessings of the church. That they might be as unholy as they please.

Was asked by Christopher Blackwell the other day, a wonderfully concerned bible student- to explain the above passage. Explained to him that it was the loving thing to do- to have the scandalous friend removed from the church. That to "deliver one to Satan" was not necessarily delivering them to Hell (as if the church had that power). That it was delivering such a one out from among a holy people- so that he might recognize his problem. Recognize the solution. Turn away from his scandal. And return to the church. Return to a concern for holiness.

This student was memorizing this chapter. Memorizing the NIV. Unfortunately, the NIV translation is pretty weak here. Translator-Blomberg endorses translator-Fee in my Mounce book (Basics of Biblical Greek, pg. 54)- that the intent of this verse is remedial and not punitive. "As is every other New Testament instance of church discipline". I am looking forward to translator- Mounce having a large input into the revised NIV (scheduled to come out in 2011). Just as he had a large input into the ESV. Not terribly sorry that Christopher's memorization will be affected.

Now, as for those those Aints? They can still be your friend. As Judas Iscariot was Jesus "friend"- Matt. 26:50. But it's wise not to hang with them- 1 Cor 5:11. Such friends are actually dehydrated hypocrites. Desiccants of Christ. Those who hang Christ out to dry. Bring ill repute upon His church. And they will dehydrate you by their presence.

And as for the pagans? Those that have no Christ to dry? Those that have no church to decry?
Offer them big, bold Christian tolerance. Welcome them into the church with open arms.
Welcome them as Jesus welcomed the Samaritan woman- John 4.
Offer them water. Living water. Water that may become a well.
That it may be well with their body. And well with their soul.
A body that is inclined to dust. And a soul that is inclined to Sin.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

MacArthur Milks the Prodigal Son

Kinda suggested that I might get to Bailey's stuff on the prodigal son here.
Thought MacArthur might be a little more edifying, though. And he is.
He mentions three books of Bailey as his source in the intro. Directly quotes Bailey twice in the book. And Bailey is sourced in half (2) of the footnotes in this book.
Twice as much as I'd like to see.
Yet when I post a comment on a YouTube video suggesting as much- it gets removed as hostile?
Was recently notified that somebody subscribed to my YouTube channel- didn't think I had one.
Glad I don't subscribe to FaceBook.
Even gladder not to Tweet.

Oh well, on with the show this is it...

MacArthur begins by suggesting that "it's not a good idea to try to milk meaning out of every incidental detail in a parable" (viii). I would suggest that he should have followed his suggestion.
Particularly when he milks Bailey for 'cultural insight'.

One of these lactations occur when MacArthur suggests (20,85) that "the idea that God would freely accept and forgive repentant sinners... was a shocking and revolutionary concept. Almost no one in that society could conceive of God as reaching out to sinners". And that this society thought it was "the repentant sinners duty to work hard to redeem himself and do his best to gain whatever degree of divine favor he could earn".

Carson doesn't see such merit theology in their society here. It is also very hard to believe that they were that ignorant of very basic Torah (Exodus 33:19) and prophets ( Psalm 51:17, Isa. 1:11. and Mic. 6:6-8). Would they think that God freely accepting and forgiving Ninevah was novel stuff? Basic stuff that Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai supposedly had to re-teach them after the sacrifices could no longer be performed (when the temple was destroyed)?
Neusner is similarly quite critical of such Rabbinic studies of that period here.

Another lactation occurs when the prodigal son is suggested to be wishing his father dead (45,51). That "any self-respecting father in that culture would naturally feel he had to disgrace the son as publicly as possible- giving him a slap across the face, a public denunciation, formal dismissal from the family, and possibly a funeral".
Young makes a bold claim that Bailey is being anachronistic- by importing modern examples into the first century here. In other words, this is shear speculation. There is no historical reference.

A final lactation occurs when MacArthur claims, the elder son "never really understood or appreciated his fathers goodness to him; but he was happy to receive it and milk it for whatever he could get out of it". Seems a little hyperbolic to me. Almost as mockingly hyperbolic as Luke 15:31.

Apart from these lactations MacArthur does some excellent stuff here. Perhaps unknowingly- even shooting Bailey's gospel directly in the udder:

"And so we're told, Christians should be less concerned about their personal redemption and more concerned about redeeming our culture or resolving the large scale dilemma of our times, such as racial prejudice, global warming, poverty, the marginalization of disenfranchised people or whatever worldwide crisis is slated to be featured cause for the next Live Aid concert(142)".

See Bailey's gospel here and here. Udderly incompatible.

A shame that MacArthur borrows Bailey's cream. Incompatible bedfellows indeed.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Fireproofing Your Body and Soul

Spoiler Alert

Does he look worried to you?

Nah. He's a fireman in this movie. Supposedly see's it all the time.

Knows what fire can do. Thinks he knows what the fire will do.

Till he has a revelation of real fire. A fire that can destroy the body. A fire that can destroy the soul. A revelation of Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in Hell (Matthew 10:28). A revelation from Him WHO WAS, AND WHO IS, AND WHO IS TO COME (Rev. 4:8).

Does she look worried to you? Nah. Just angry. Seems like that a lot in this movie.

Husband (fireman) is a jerk. And likes jerking off. Isn't flattering this nurses ego enough. So she finds a doctor to flatter her.

Such doctor turns out to be a philanderer. While her husband becomes convicted of sin- and ceases from being a porn junkie. Her husband then attempts to woo this angry woman back (contrary to 1 Cor. 7:15).

Kinda freaks her out. Kinda concedes that 'people can change'. Kinda concedes that she ought to change.

So they do the 'happily ever after' thing again.

Does she ever get angry again? Does he ever jerk off again (which are not necessarily sinful- see here)?

Do they ever commit adultery again?

Wait a minute you say, "He was never committing adultery. He was just looking at a computer monitor!"

Wait a minute you say, "She was never committing adultery. She was just looking to a flattering doctor!"

Well... Cameron (fireman) and Comfort (evangelist) appear to suggest (The Way Of The Master) - 'It's the same thing!'.

But it's not.

Perhaps you differ, "Jesus said it was the same thing!". But did he? Let's look at this passage.

In Matthew 5:28 you will see that Jesus makes a distinction. He adds the qualification, "in his heart".

To their credit, Cameron and Comfort grant this qualification as well.

But this qualification relegates this commandment to the same definition as the tenth commandment- Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors wife...

A commandment that impacted the apostle Paul greatly (Romans 7:8). The commandment that was actually foremost in impacting Cameron as well.

But such is not physical adultery. We must not get loose with our definitions.

Such looseness would grant virtually everyone virtuous grounds for divorce. Such was not Jesus intent.

The intent of Jesus's charge of coveting in that Matthew passage (and charge of hating your brother in the prior passage)- was to bring our sinfulness to the forefront. To recognize that we would do well to covet the sinless one (2 Corinthians 5:21). To truly love God and our brother made in His image. To know truly monogamous rapturous intercourse with Christ. Lest our whole body and non-virtuous soul be thrown into Hell.

A good reason not to be non-virtuous. And an infinitely better reason to actually be virtuous.

Please allow me to close with some inept wisdom from the Talmud:

A king once engaged two watchmen to take care of his orchard. One was blind and the other lame. still they answered the purpose very well; for their presence was quite sufficient to keep depredators at a distance.
One evening the lame watchman was sitting in the orchard, when his eyes fell upon a bunch of luscious grapes, the first and only ripe ones in the whole place.
"Are you feeling very thirsty?" said he to his blind companion, who was walking up and down, feeling his way with a stick.
"Would you like a bunch of fine juicy grapes?"
"Yes", was the blind man's reply. "But you know we cannot pick them. I am blind and cannot see. You are lame and cannot walk".
"True", said the lame man. "Still we can get at them...take me on your back. I can guide you, and you can carry me to the grapes".
And so they stole the precious fruit and ate it.

Now the next day the king went into the orchard to gather this very cluster of grapes; for he had already observed it as being just fit for the table. It had vanished, and he at once taxed the watchmen with the theft.

"How can my lord, the king accuse me of such a thing?", exclaimed the lame man. "Here I must sit all the days of my life, without moving a single inch; for am I not lame?"
"And how can my lord accuse me of such a thing, when I am blind?" asked the other. "How can the heart long after, or the hands reach that which the eyes cannot behold?"

The king answered not a word. But he ordered his servants to place the lame man on the back of the blind man, and he condemned them to punishment just as if they had been one man.

So it is with the soul and body of a man. The soul cannot sin without the body, nor the body without the soul; the sin of both is the sin of each, and it will not avail in the great day of judgment to shirk the responsibility; but even as the lame and blind watchmen, body and soul will be judged as one.

One would think that the Talmud would understand coveting better than that. One should hope that they understand coveting better than that.
Failing that, they should have little confidence in being fireproof. And far less confidence of being in communion with Christ.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

A Canterbury Hell

Would you dare to be alone with this guy?

A guy who wouldn't dare to be alone with himself?

"My concept of hell. I suppose, is being stuck with myself for ever and with no way out", says the Archbishop last week.

Not the traditional concept of Hell is it (we have refuted this alone concept in the July 18 post) ?

Nor does this Anglican head believe in the traditional "lake of fire". Why? Because he doesn't believe that he has to believe that Hell is a place. That he doesn't have to present a fundamental profession of 'the faith once delivered to the saints' (Jude 3). So there.

To heck with the Apostles' Creed. To professing that "He descended into Hell". Let's just say, "He had a helluva time on the cross". Let's call it the Canterbury Creed.

I wonder if he got that concept from Pope John Paul II, "Rather than a place, hell indicates the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy".

Maybe he got it from America's favorite cracker, "When it comes to a literal fire, I don't preach it because I'm not sure about it".

They would reinterpret the rich man as saying, "warn my brothers so that they will not come to this state of torment".

Sure, the Greek word topos- may in fact, be interpreted figuratively. But then you are obligated to interpret kolpos figuratively as well. Does this work here?

What does a state of Abraham's womb look like? How can angels carry a man to Abraham's state? How can Lazarus be in Abraham's state?

I have no problem professing that Abraham and Lazarus apparently share the same statement of faith. That they obviously share the same estate. But to profess that they will share the same state (let alone status)--is well... increedulous.

I profess that Abraham and Lazarus will share the same place. A place of many mansions.
A place prepared for resurrected bodies. And a place prepared for glorified minds.

What were those other guys professing? Paul rebuked their heresy, 'if there is no resurrection of the body to a place... then the state of your faith is worthless' (1 Cor. 15).

May we hope those guys were just being conceptually inarticulate.
Just this side of creedal apostasy.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Most Disturbing Sermon

Jonathan EdwardsImage via Wikipedia

Jonathan Edwards.mp3

The mp3 above- is an audio file that I recorded a few years ago.
My reading from a transcript found at Michael Marlowe's site (excellent research there).
A sermon that I (and others) find even more disturbing than Edwards famous- Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God.

A disturbing and indisputable thesis. Though some disturbed moderns would try to dispute this.

Terribly sorry about the disturbing advertising that accompanies this audio (minimize it). Am considering adding video to this audio and posting it on You Tube-- but that may be even more disturbing.

Let me know if you are disturbed ...

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bailey's Noble Vineyard

Part 6 (x)- The Parable of the Noble
Vineyard Owner and His Son

OK, OK. The stones didn't cry out literally in this text- like the pic suggests. But they did indeed cry out- figuratively speaking.

Bailey is a little more contextual here. Good for him. He was trying way too hard to isolate the texts- to illustrate the chiastic structure of these parables. A literary device used for mnemonic purposes.
A device recognized and brought to prominence quite recently by Gordon Wenham. A recognition that further dissembles the long-standing and compromising 'documentary hypothesis' of Julius Wellhausen.

But the recognition of this device or structure adds little to my understanding of these parables. Even less enlightening is Bailey's literal interpretation of this parable.

Rather, this parable (Luke 20:9-16) ought to be treated allegorically. The vine-growers/Jews saw Jesus. And to attain gain, they threw him out of the vineyard/Jerusalem and killed/crucified Him.

Bailey rejects the speculation that Luke may have added the "threw him out of the vineyard" part to accommodate prophecy- because 'it fails to take the parable literal enough'. "Such speculation is unnecessary when you consider the potential defilement of the grapes", claims Bailey (420).
What a wuss.
He won't defend Luke.
He won't defend Luke's inspiration.
He won't defend the translations (there are no variant textual readings).
He merely defends his own literal interpretation- of grapes!

Yet, the allegorical interpretation is confirmed- with Jesus subsequent elaboration (v. 17&18) of a stone falling on those that reject THE CHIEF CORNER stone/Himself. Try taking those stones literally.

But these are just sour grapes, dear readers.
I thank you for putting up with my gripes.
I hope that my gripes have been helpful for you. And please do not hesitate to rock me with your comments.

In closing:

Bailey concludes this final chapter by saying, "To summarize this great parable is nearly impossible". But that doesn't stop him from trying.

Please allow me to make one more summary for you here.

Either you fall on that stone- or it will fall on you.

And you won't like the latter.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bailey Takes a Pounding

Part 6 (ix)- The Parable of the Pounds

Here Bailey starts by suggesting that "OUR UNDERSTANDING OF SCRIPTURE [caps in original] must always be open to refinement. All interpretations of Scripture need to be tentatively final. Our interpretation of Scripture, therefore, must never be closed to correction or revision."

Sounds real modest doesn't it? A real generous orthodoxy, right?

But does it not charge God with speaking obscurely and ambiguously? As early church father Cyrrhus wrote, 'Let no one therefore, and especially among the pupils of piety, be so bold against the divine Spirit as to charge his words with obscurity...'. Is Bailey a pupil of piety?
And what exactly does the psalmist mean when he says (Psalm 119:130) His words "give understanding to the simple"? Is Bailey something other than simple?

It seems to me that Bailey is saying that he doesn't get this parable. Bailey concludes (I refuse to target his summaries cuz that's like shooting fish in a barrel), "In this parable the master's command is an opening statement, no more. The story has no concluding scene and the reader is stimulated to reflect on the unfinished symphony that is the parable."

Bailey would do well to interact with the whole parable (Luke 19:11-27). The beginning and ending verses. But that wouldn't be politically correct, now would it?

Luke makes it clear in the verse opening the narrative, that this parable is about- what was about to happen to Jerusalem!
Luke makes it reasonably clear in the concluding verse- that it is Jerusalem that is to be slain!
Is Jesus not talking about cities? Is he not going to Jerusalem to be slain?
Jesus then elaborates (v. 44) on why Jerusalem will be slain... "because you did not recognize the time of your visitation".

But of course Bailey is wiser than that. Thinking that it couldn't possibly be about Jerusalem. 'Jerusalem never charged interest!' "Interest was forbidden in Jewish law!" And, 'the master wasn't really endorsing interest- he was just being facetious!' (406)

Is Bailey really that dull? Does he not know that the Torah does not condemn interest but rather condemns exorbitant interest (more than double the investment in 6 years- Deut 15:18)?
And even that interest was permitted to be charged to foreigners (Deut 15:3). Was the Holocaust not largely a reaction to Jewish bankers? Was this not the cause of much vitriol from Luther centuries before?
Muslims continue to play that stupid game too. They will add a premium to the loan. Yes, hidden interest. So...they will take out a Muslim mortgage of $200,000 for a $150,000 house. "Oh, but it's not interest", they say. What a double-minded bunch.

Bailey even throws his buddy Matta to the flames here (398). Thinking he can deflect some heat. Knowing Matta's allegory doesn't stand up.

Bailey even brings "Luke's integrity" into question. Far be it- that Bailey should bring his own understanding of "the Father's mercy" into question (407).

Bailey might try reading Psalm 2 again- for a better understanding of this parable:

"Ask of me and I will surely give the nations [cities] as your inheritance"


"Do homage to the Son [O Jerusalem], that He [the master] not become angry, and you perish in the way".

Or is the master too "merciful" to pound Jerusalem?

Is the master too merciful to pound YOU?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bailey's Pearly Gate

Part 6 (viii)- The Parable of Lazarus and The Rich Man

I mentioned in the intro- about some passages not being viewed as parables by some commentators. This is one of them.

Some are adamant- about viewing this passage as a historical damnation. I don't have a problem with that view. Seems this was a polemic contested by the reviser of the weak 5th century D manuscript.

I don't have a problem if you were to call this passage prophecy either. Given that prophecy may be defined as being forth telling as well as foretelling.

I don't have a problem with calling this a parable either. It certainly has the obscurity common to parables. How Rome can derive purgatory from this passage is surely indicative of that.

OK... who is being addressed in this passage? Bailey thinks it is the Sadducees. I see the Pharisees 5 verses earlier (Luke 16:14) but no Sadducees. I see the Sadducees mentioned at least 40 miles and 4 chapters later.

Bailey thinks that this is an extension of the two prior parables. I see Jesus continuing to condemn the Pharisees in the 4 verses prior to this passage. And Jesus using this parable to elaborate on their "eternal dwelling" mentioned in the previous parable.

OK... who are the characters in this passage?

Well, Jesus provides the name Lazarus.

Bailey suggests that the name Lazarus ("the one whom God helps") mighta been understood by these Sadducees from it's Hebrew meaning. But, as Bailey says, this woulda been peculiar thinking for folks unable to see "God helping" the pathetic Lazarus in the only life that they believed in (the here and now). Peculiar thinking for folk that were unable to understand the Torah. Peculiar folk that probably couldn't even read. And the few peculiar folk that could read- were more likely to read the Torah in Greek rather than Hebrew anyway. Nah... they probably didn't import that meaning. Particularly at the rate of speed of this parable. And the Sadducees don't appear that quick on the uptake.

I could grant the Puritans their historical view here. That there actually was a Lazarus already in Heaven. And that's why that name was used. Seems to me that God would get a kick out of being that accurate historically.

I could also grant the view that Bailey briefly alluded to- that Jesus used that name to taunt the Pharisees. Were not the Pharisees were already a little ticked about a certain Lazarus? That Lazurus from Bethany that Jesus raised from the dead (John 11)? Jesus taunting? Yup. Probably the strongest view.

The Rich Man character?
Is translated Dives in the Latin text. Given the name Nineue in the Coptic. Called Finaeus and Amonofis in others. But no name in the better texts. Let's call him Dives- cuz he took a deep dive in a shallow pool :)

Bailey claims there were no other "individual[s] with a name in all Jesus's parables" (382). I see the name Abraham mentioned a few times in this one. Seems Bailey missed the name Moses as well. Bailey's "accurately translated" Arabic version (385) musta got licked clean by his "therapeutic dogs" :)

Next, Bailey indulges in a bunch of speculation about Lazarus hearing and seeing Dives. And being compassionately eager to dive in- to assist the "poor man frying in hell"(392).

In this passage, I don't see any indication of Lazarus either hearing or seeing Dives.
John Gerstner doesn't think Lazarus would have heard Dives either.

Indeed, I suspect this great chasm was beyond yelling distance. I suspect this narrative is non-historical. A virtuous narrative bridge spanning the now and then.

I don't think Lazarus would have seen Dives either. Are you gonna look afar when you are dwelling in the bosom of Abraham? Now, he may look afar- far later. But not without resurrected eyes. He's gonna need looooong range vision. Vision to cut through the flames. Cut through the abundance of corpses. But for now he's gonna want to bathe in the unaided vision of his huge savior for a good long time- prior to directing his resurrected eyes to puny peripheral sights. He's one of the Rev 7 multitude from the tribulation. He's one serving God in his temple- both day and night. Not bothering with the dogs outside the city (Rev 22:15).

Nor do I see Lazarus being compassionate towards Dives in this passage.
Jonathan Edwards seems to think that Lazarus would have no love nor pity for Dives. But rather, will rejoice in seeing God glorified by His justice towards Dives. Though it be improper to rejoice in Dives damnation- prior to Dives death.

But the passage is focusing on Dives not Lazarus!

Seems likely that Dives will see "Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all the prophets" (Luke 13:28) from "that place". Seems likely that Dives will see Lazarus from "that place" as well. And Dives vision will continue to endorse God's judgment on Dives.

Now, a question often raised is, "Will God have an eternal presence in Hell"?

Norm Geisler seems to think- that in hell, even God would have no presence (2 Thess. 1:9).
Gerstner would disagree with Geisler on that- calling him to make his bed on Psalm 139:8.

Which brings us to the all important question.
The explicitly implicit question of this parable.
A question of eternal import.

'Where will you make your bed?'

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bailey, Lettuce and Tomato

Part 6 (vii)- The Parable of the Serving Master

I know, I know... the title and toon are a little cheeky. I really don't think Bailey is full of baloney. He has a lot of good stuff as well. As Carson might say, "He's often on the side of the angels".

First, I'd like to thank Bailey for presenting a poem from Milton here. Yet, I suspect Milton is minimizing the "standing and waiting" part far too much here. Would he also minimize the standing and waiting of the thief on the cross? Was the thief merely standing? Rome is correct in correcting some of us Protestants here-- the penitent thief was also doing good works while just hanging out. Teaching, rebuking and encouraging. I doubt Milton would disagree here. And I admire Milton's desire to do more.

Now, as regards this passage (Luke 12:35-38) Bailey is non-committal here as well. He's not sure if the sandwiches the master is serving are 'borrowed or bloody'. Seems to be leaning to the former when he claims that the former offers a larger picture (374).

What does he mean by this? Seems to think that the master borrowed (?) something like sandwiches (something that Rabbi Hillel had just invented because he didn't like those bitter herbs/horseradish in the Passover meal) from the wedding banquet that he attended. Thinks the master ducked out (according to the "more culturally authentic" Syriac and Arabic translations) partway through the banquet (they are about a week long) with a "tray full" of his buddy's sandwiches for his servants. As Bailey says, 'dramatically shocking behavior in any culture'(374). I doubt if his buddy would have approved of such behavior.

But then I think that Bailey's other perspective is even more shocking. That the master/Jesus is offering His servants His own literal "body and his cup [blood is just a little too distasteful a word]" as a sandwich. Sure shocked a lot of his followers too. Even many of his disciples withdrew from him after that carnivorous comment (John 6:66).

Now, a common rule of textual criticism (and axiom of F.F. Bruce)- is that if you find a saying of Jesus easy to understand- then you are probably not understanding it properly. That the harder reading, is likely the better reading (possibly because our Lord rewards diligence and perseverance). With that in mind, I find Bailey's latter perspective much more distasteful. Yet, more in line with the proper perspective. But not the proper perspective!

You see, if that literal reading were the case- then when the Lord's Supper was instituted (Matthew 26:26), Jesus was actually feeding his disciples his actual body and blood. Protestants don't see that to be the case. Protestants see this institution as a symbolic celebration. Symbolic of his glorious marriage feast in Heaven. Something that should be seen as a foretaste of this future glorious event rather than something that "can be seen as a foretaste of this future glorious event" (374).

In fact, Protestants are sickened by the thought of Jesus re-presenting His body and His blood for every Eucharist. Protestants believe that His- was an effectual once for all presentation (Hebrews 7:27) of His body. Not a presentation in perpetuity. A presentation in perpetuity is a cuckoo clock presentation. I expect His mother Mary would be sickened by it as well.

So... when Bailey "longs for the day" that a contemporary Coptic monk has his stuff published in English- is he is also longing for Miskin's Orthodox (? see link) views on this "Eucharist" to be promoted? Seems to me that Bailey is testing the backwaters of the Tiber here. May he reconsider tickling that dragon's tail.

For back of that dragon's tail- remains a trail of do, do, do. Something that both Bailey and Milton recognize- as little more than a dung sandwich.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Bailey's Vineyard

Part 6 (vii)- The Parable of the Compassionate Employer

Kind of a dark picture here. A lot of Rembrandt's stuff is kinda dark. I recall seeing his huge NightWatch in Amsterdam back in '86. They had about half of it cleaned up. Still kinda dark. Guess that kinda goes with the night :)

Bailey doesn't shed a lot of light in this one either.

He's pretty adamant that this parable should be renamed as well. Quite the reconstructionist. But what do you expect when you tend to see everything as covenantal nominism rather than creaturely responsibility?

Who is the audience in this parable (Matthew 20 1-16)? Seems to be just the disciples.

And who are the subjects of this parable? The workers who complain? If you downloaded those commentaries suggested in the previous post- you may be surprised. Calvin concurs with those commentaries if that means anything to you.

Bailey is... noncommittal on who those subjects actually are. But I suspect he would concur with his ancient Arab commentary- in thinking that the subjects that complained, were actually disciples dissatisfied with their rewards. Yes, Christians in Heaven (362). On payday. Jealous of other Christians. As if jealousy can exist in Heaven!

My wife and I just returned from a local ( about 2 km. away) church service this morning. Went there on a whim. The sermon was on this parable. The pastor suggested something similar. On exiting I heard one lady comment to her daughter, "I never understood it that well till now". Hmmm.

Bailey also refuses to commit to identifying those subjects as Pharisees, as he claims others (without naming names) actually do. Check your commentaries folks, others less cowardly identify these dissatisfied subjects as... the Jews! But that is even less politically correct now isn't it? As Dr. Carson would suggest, "At least on this side of the holocaust".

Dr. Carson has also recently suggested that this non-committal perspective (see previous post) is on the wane. Yet, others have suggested that error takes ten times as long to refute as it does to promote. If so, I expect we'll see this perspective for quite some time to come.

Carson is also critical of the new definition of dikaios (see previous post). Seems you just can't get away with a new perspective- without a new definition. Bailey uses this word again in this chapter (358). But this time, inconsistently allows for a semantic range. Whatever floats his boat, Matey :)

Carson is also critical of Dodd endorsed in this chapter (363). Though this citation ain't bad. Dodd denies substitutionary atonement. Takes umbrage with the term propitiation. Has been heard to say, "What Rubbish!" in this regard. Indeed, Dodd is at odds with God.

And that is the heart of the New Perspective as well. A denial of forensic imputation. Sure, its popularizer (Wright) is moving slowly in the right direction. But as his former colleague (Carson) says, "You are running out of time".

Allow me to close with a final comment on this parable. The question may be asked, "Well, doesn't the dissatisfied worker also end up in Heaven? Perhaps with a changed satisfaction?"

I can only respond as Jesus did to those dissatisfied workers and say, "Take what is yours, and go!"

To others Jesus says, 'Take what is mine, and come'.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Bailey's Barnacles

Part 6 (vi)- The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Here Bailey wants to 'rescue this "not so simple story" from the "centuries old barnacles" which have attached themselves to it'. Try downloading the commentaries from E-Sword. See if you can find them thar barnacles there. And while you are at it send them $15. It is well worth it.

Bailey starts by claiming that we should take the first verse (Luke 18:9) "seriously". Again, makes me wonder why he didn't take the last verse seriously (or address it at all) in the previous post. Seems to think this is an "apostolic [Luke?] signpost". Musta overlooked that previous signpost.

Again, this parable is addressed to the Pharisees. Again, Jesus is mocking them. Again, Jesus is telling them that they are unrighteous. Again Jesus is telling them to repent.

Bailey thinks them thar barnacles are the derived instructions on how to be humble in prayer(346). I find them barnacles pretty hard to see, Matey. He would like us to see- that this here parable tells us how we are made righteous with God. How we are made mates with God. Problem is, he doesn't show us how. Just tells us that we are. Tells us to hang in there. Let's see how he derives this understanding.

First, Bailey again has to favour(347) the liberal translation of the NRSV over most other translations- on where the Pharisee is actually standing. Bailey may be right here- but it doesn't tell us much.
Later, Bailey has to dismiss most English translations (349)- to tell us the true standing of the tax collector. Again, Bailey is standing on shaky ground. Or is it his sea legs?

Let's deal with the latter dismissal. Here Bailey demands that we disallow the Greek word hilaskomai a semantic range. Is this fair? Is this fair in its context?

Seems there is no reason "apparent" to Bailey why we should deny the translation, "O Lord, make an atonement for me" as a result. Seems apparent to me that a humble man (v. 14) would not make such a bold demand. That a humble man would plead for mercy! The other end of the semantic range.

Much more in keeping with Exodus 33:19. Much more in keeping with the last words of the Puritan Thomas Hooker- who was told on his deathbed to look forward to his eternal rewards. Hooker kinda replied, "I go not to seek my eternal rewards, Matey. I go to seek mercy!"

But all the above stuff is just flotsam and jetsam compared to Bailey's definition of dikaios (344).
Bailey floats around in Greece and the Hellenistic world without an anchor to tie this definition to. Providing a bare allusion to Kittel [more in next post]. Finally jetting to a different word.

As Bailey cites of Von Rad, "There is absolutely no concept in the Old Testament with so central a significance for all the relationships of human life as that of sadaqa (righteousness)". I would protest, "Except for how we are made righteous, Mateys!" That is our true plight. Bailey gives us no solution because he doesn't see a plight.

Bailey seems to think that an all-encompassing righteousness was given to Israel from the earliest times onward (345). Where is Christ in this gift? Did He not make us righteous? And how did he make us righteous? Can we overlook the cross?

And how much of Israel is overlooking Christ and the cross today? All but 15,000 Christians in Israel according to current estimates. All but 15,000 overlook the cross in their own backyard. Indeed, in their own bailiwick.

Bailey does little to illuminate that cross. To show Israel that she is not righteous.

Instead he encourages Israel to "maintain" her righteousness. To remain loyal to her unearned status. And as a reflective response to her unearned status- continue in righteousness.

Again, welcome to the New Perspective. Welcome to the new bailiwick. Welcome to the Brink.

Bailey claims that behind this parable is the rich heritage of God's gracious gifts of saving acts (righteousness). Why is it that I can only think of one truly saving act?

Allow me to close with a D.A. Carson analogy:

A little old Jewish lady dying of cancer calls up the rabbi of her balliwick for counsel. Pastor Bailey arrives and is asked in final breaths, "Pastor, what must I do to be saved?"
Pastor Bailey, relying on his NRSV parable, Von Rad and cultural studies replies," Just continue to be mindful that you have been granted a special relationship in the presence of God. That in response- you should continue in a righteous standard toward God, men, animals and His natural environment."

If Pastor Bailey can't do better than this... he should be walking the plank!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Baileys Stew

Part 6 (v)- The Parable of the Unjust Steward

Hmmm. This ones a tough one.

Gonna have to think about this one.

As Bailey says, this parable disturbs many. ' Many avoid it like the plague. Because it appears as if Jesus commends the steward for being a thief and a liar' (333). Bailey's "superficial" reading does little to resolve this concern either.

Bailey begins by bemoaning the fact (?) that there is a chapter division between this and his pet parable (prodigal son). Seems to think the parallel is much closer than that. Seem a little neurotic to you?

Seems to think that this chapter division was inserted in a fourth century text. Any of you see a new chapter in this fourth century text?

Maybe Bailey is thinking of some later, lesser lectionary. Regardless, I think Stephanus did the right thing here in 1555.

Anyway, this text is not nearly as confusing if you can understand one thing. That Jesus was mocking the Pharisee's with this one!

What? Mocking? Gentle Jesus?

Yes, Jesus mocked many. Even with parables. Even in Bailey's pet parable.

Do you not think Jesus was mocking the Pharisees when he told them that, "they had always been with the Father"? Mocking them when he told them that, "all that he had was theirs"?

Do you think that the Father was beyond mocking man in scripture? Try Job 38 for starters.

Do you think that the Holy Spirit was beyond mocking man in scripture? Try 2 Chronicles 18 for starters.

And as far as Jesus being gentle- did he not wield a whip? Did he not waste a fig tree? Any idea what gentle Jesus (angel of the Lord) did in the Old Testament?

So with that in mind- can you grant that perhaps Jesus was mocking the Pharisees in this parable? Bailey fails to even mention that they were there (Luke 16:14). Were they not listening to this parable and "scoffing at Him"?

Do you not think that Jesus was assigning the Pharisees an unrighteous master (v.8)? Assigning them unrighteous friends ("their own kind") in an unrighteous eternal dwelling?

Surely you don't believe that a just master would "just dismiss the wonderfully clever rascal" (341), do you?

Was this unrighteous steward really, "trusting in the mercy of his master" or hoping to be welcomed by unrighteous men (v.4) in his scheme?

I think Bailey is selling you a mess of pottage here. A mess far beyond the "best before" date.

If Bailey has a real sense of the sinfulness of sin here- I'll be a monkeys uncle.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Bailey on the Rocks

Part 6 (iv)- The Parable of the Two Builders

Bailey decides to use the Luke passage (6:46-49) preached from the Plain for this one. The Matthew parallel that Jesus preached from the Mount (7:24-27) doesn't fit his paradigm (the wind thing doesn't wash too well). For that matter the Luke passage doesn't fit well either.

Bailey insists, that when Jesus mentioned "rock" in the Greek (Luke the Greek wrote exquisite Greek)- that his audience would have understood that to mean "foundation" in the Hebrew. Yup, petros sounds a lot like sheteyah. Try telling that to Rome and to St. Shete. Seems we got his name wrong. Will have to address that small typo for the next cathedral :)

Bailey sees a parallel of this foundation with a raised rock located in the Holy of Holies of the Second Temple. And somehow a parallel with a cornerstone in Isaiah 28. You know, a rock is a foundation is a cornerstone is a ...

Bailey claims that some Jews seemed to think that the world was created from this rock in the Second Holy of Holies. And Bailey's point is that Jesus was the spiritual evolution of that rock. Talk about squeezing blood out of a stone.

That this spiritual evolution occurred when Jesus was baptized (329 and Part 4 of this blog). And believers become part of that temple when they are baptized (328). If you are not hugely offended here you should be.

Yes, John the Baptist became part of that temple in the womb- but Jesus had to wait 30 years.

Bailey would do well to heed his Joachim Jeremias quote here(328)- 'about the purpose of parables being to shock especially leaders, theologians and priests to repentance'. And I'm not Joachim here! But I too need to repent... every moment of every day.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Bailey's Banquet

Part 6 (iii)- The Parable of the Great Banquet

Bailey is strangely inconsistent here.

He condemns the Essenes, Enockers and the Targummers for failing to be inclusive of the Gentiles.

Yet he fails to be inclusive of those with outstanding obligations (land, oxen, a newlywed). Were they not just being the "good stewards" that he has been promoting thus far? After all this is just a dinner with- "A man".

Bailey fails to mention the contrast Jesus brings with the following passage (Luke 14;25-33). Seems to me this is the point of the parable. But this passage doesn't get mentioned. Bailey only provides half of the parable. Bailey is stuck at the wrong dinner.

Bailey fails to recognize, that this dinner with the Pharisee's is just dinner with "a man". But the contrasting dinner with Jesus- is worth giving everything up for. Dinner with Jesus is worth the "cross"!

The part that Bailey mentions is directed to the Pharisees. The part that Bailey doesn't mention is directed to His followers. The part that Bailey mentions is a condemnation of the Pharisees. The part that Bailey doesn't mention is Jesus's preparation for those that the Pharisees could not "make twice as much a son of hell" (Matthew 23:15) as themselves.

Again, I don't see these as "implausable excuses"(315). I see them as stewardly. Did not the law refuse to allow a newlywed to be a soldier? That he might enjoy his wife (Deut. 24:5) for a year. Bailey and his sources say this is rude. That this is rude language. Makes me think that Bailey is way more rude than Mark Driscoll.

Does Bailey not see the parallel here with Deuteronomy 20:1-7? Is not the passage that Bailey fails to mention- addressed by the verses following this parallel? Again, does Bailey not know his Torah or is he just playing dumb?

A final disagreement here. Where does this "man" suggest they be "dragged in"(318) to his banquet?

And when is anybody dragged, kicking and screaming into God's Banquet? Doesn't happen.

His grace is irresistable. Come and say grace at His banquet...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Bailey's Fool

Part 6 (ii)- The Parable of the Rich Fool

Bailey's no fool.
Not sure he gets this parable though.
Not sure he gets the premise either.

A man cries out from the crowd, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me".

Bailey thinks the older(?) brother was refusing to let a division happen.

Perhaps the older brother was just being prudent. Waiting till the crop was off.
Perhaps the younger brother was just being impatient. Couldn't wait for a better price.
Perhaps the younger brother was just being lazy. Not wanting to work the harvest.
Perhaps the younger brother was trying to negotiate a sweeter deal with his brother.
Perhaps the younger brother was wanting an equal share with his brother- contrary to Deut. 21:16.
Perhaps he was not even a brother. Just a gold digger.

Seems to be way too many perhaps- when you are looking way too deep.

And Jesus refused to be an earthly judge for this man.
Refused to "arbitrate" a settlement for Him.
Cautioned this man against "greed". Suggested that this man already had plenty of wealth.
That it'll all come out in the wash. That he ought to focus on being washed.
That the division thing doesn't really matter here- not nearly as much as the addition thing.
That blessed inheritance is not the concern here. That blessed assurance is the concern.
That his inheritance is not his treasure. That "richness toward God" ought to be his treasure (Luke 12:21).

Or... as Bailey thinks, does Jesus summon this man (307), "to consider economic justice from the perspective of who really owns all of it"? To consider his responsibility as a steward of his, 'material possessions and days of his life'? And warn him of his, "innate insatiable desire for more"?

I'm having a hard time finding that in the passage.
Perhaps I'm not looking hard enough.

Is it as Bailey thinks-a wrongful desire for more?
Or is it as I think -a desire for the wrong thing?

Don't wanna get fooled on this one.
You see, I've been fooled before.

Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on me.

Bailey's Gold

Part 6 (i)- The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Bailey starts by introducing the Golden Rule. Excellent!
Then suggests that Jesus "took Hillel's [negative Silver Rule] and turned it into a positive".
So Jesus wasn't just quoting from the Golden rule of the Torah (Gen. 4:14, Deut. 10:19, Lev. 19:18) that they were more familiar with?
Jesus was kinda quoting someone other than Moses?

Wasn't this Hillel guy- the rabbi that allowed divorce for the slightest reasons? Like a wife burning the bread? Don't think this is the kind of rabbi that Jesus would endorse. Anyway...

Bailey then does some good stuff on salvation by grace. Woulda been much better if he coulda done some stuff on salvation by grace alone but ...

Final comment is about Bailey endorsing the allegory of Jesus being the Good Samaritan:

I would think that Jesus would do better than bandage me.
I would think that Jesus would do better than love me then leave me.
I would think that Jesus would leave some of His oil and wine with me (as He allegorically did).
And why couldn't I just stay on His allegorical "beast"?

Allegories are dangerous. They kinda lead you down the yellow brick road. In search of a wizard. And the real wizard is the one that built the road. The road of mercy. A road best traveled... on your knees.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Bailey On The Parables

Part 6- Introduction to Interpretation

This is a 16th century painting by Pieter Bruegel entitled-The Blind Leading The Blind. This is not to say that Bailey is blind- but that he has tunnel vision. May my tunnel vision complement his.

I agree with much of what he says in his intro. I agree with Bailey that parables may have more than one point- contrary to some theories. In fact, I would contend that parables may even have more than one 'end stress' point- contrary to other theories.

Then there is the added difficulty of determining which of these sayings... are parables. Some scholars will count twice as many parables as another may count. Bailey defines a parable as "an extended metaphor". Seems some scholars see extended metaphors- where others have a blind spot.

Bailey's intent in his subsequent exegesis- is to to "unlock new meanings" (281) in the parables, by giving us cultural vision. With the hope that these "cultural glasses" will allow us to focus on the extremes of the analogies. Like probing the galaxies with a telescope. Yet I doubt that Jesus intended us to- decipher his Words as a Hubble.
I believe that the parables of Jesus had universal appeal, to a particular audience (yes, even uncultured children). I believe that His parables continue to have universal appeal, to a particular audience.
That the Father gives glasses to those He chooses. And those glasses he gives are introspective.
No doubt Bailey's cultural glasses, are of little internal use. Even Jesus disciples, wearing those cultural glasses- were blind to His internal intent (Mark 4:13).

In fact, I believe that the parable of The Prodigal Son (which Bailey uses as an example in this intro)- when looked at through these lenses, displays a problematic picture. A picture that would have given me grief in dealing with my own prodigals. We'll be looking at some of the more problematic pictures in the next post. Perhaps we shall look at Bailey's exegesis of The Prodigal Son (it is in another book) in a subsequent review.

Finally, it is Bailey's hope that these "cultural glasses" will give us a "critical realism" in keeping with "N.T.Wright"(283). Really? In keeping with a scholar that denies much of the Pauline canon? In keeping with a scholar that offers us rose-colored glasses for his vision of Hell?

Perhaps we would all be better off blind. And consign Bailey's glasses to eternal torment.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bailey's Women

Part 5- Jesus and Women

I like Bailey's women. I think they are very real. I think he is being very respectful towards these women. Much more respectful than the culture historically was. But let's leave his matronizing alone and focus on manly things.

Bailey continues his patronizing of the Jews on page 210 by claiming that "Salvation... is of the Jews". Well, at least he got the first couple letters right.

Bailey reinforces his endorsement of this paradigm by citing a major proponent of this paradigm (Dunn) a couple paragraphs later. Here Dunn's 1991 view is cited.
Bailey cites the four things which he and Dunn believe separated the Jewish synagogue from the Christian church. Oddly enough, the Gospel is not included.

Yes, Bailey and Dunn believe that the dispute that Paul had with Peter in Galatians (2) involved those boundary markers cited. That this was just a minor dispute discouraging Peter from promoting those four boundary markers.
Well, if Paul and Peter can have such disputes- Bailey and I certainly can as well. Except, I don't think this omission of the Gospel is a minor dispute. It is clear to me that it was the Gospel that was at the heart of the dispute (2:14). Yes, the gospel that is clearly defined in the subsequent chapter. This is the boundary that sets one At The Brink!

Further on, Bailey presents seven metaphors of atonement (228,229). The first (law court) best represents my understanding of substitutionary atonement. Yet the analogy fails in many places. A human judge could only take the place of one prisoner for one crime. A human judge could only serve one life sentence. A human judge did not commit the offense and thus could not satisfy the offended party. And who would serve the time for the offenses of this human judge?
Thank God the offended party was He who knew no sin, who was willing to be sin on our behalf.
Wished he would have included this (2 Cor. 5:21) among his proof texts. More clear than "the metaphors".

Further on, Bailey dedicates a chapter to the woman caught in adultery. The manuscript witnesses for this account are so late and unreliable that Dr. Wallace has said that the next edition of the NET Bible will not include this account (except in a footnote). Responsible preachers are becoming more reluctant to preach on this account any more. Yet Bailey seems to welcome extraneous accounts.

Finally, Bailey in keeping with his Aramaic paradigm insists that Jesus "most certainly" used the Aramaic word hoba. If this is so important to him why doesn't he cite proof rather than conjecture? And why does this really matter to him? Seems to me he is just trying to patronize more people.

Nice guy, nice girls, nice part of this book.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Bailey's Histrionics

Part 4- Dramatic actions of Jesus

The title of this post pokes a little fun at Bailey's comments on page 159 and 160 :) But let's leave those examples of his histrionics and focus on greater things.
Beginning on the first page (135) of this part we have some errors regarding the beginning of sin. I take issue with his statement that, " matter provided the stimulus for disobedience and the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden. Also, that "the willfulness of Adam and Eve, who chose to disobey God's command as it related to matter" was at fault.
This is a philosophical construct that even the socratic Aquinas would take issue with. Turretin destroys this argument as well in his Elenctic Theology- 9.6.

I have much greater issues with his pneumatology (yes, again) on the following page. Greater issues with his Christology . Yes, greater issues with his description of the nature of Jesus.
Bailey claims that, 'matter and spirit were uniquely bonded at the birth of Jesus'. Such a claim is inept reductionism.
Firstly, I would suggest that they were uniquely bonded before the birth of Jesus. Next, I would be extremely hesitant to refuse the Spirit a capital letter.
Bailey then heightens his heterodox position by claiming in the next paragraph that, "The incarnation of spirit into matter took place repeatedly throughout the life and teachings of Jesus".
This is a position that Bailey suggests in an incoherent paragraph on page 329 as well.
This was hardly the position of the council of Nicea who defined this unique bond of Jesus quite differently. This was hardly the position of Athanasius who insisted that- to recognize Jesus as becoming or repeatedly taking on the nature of God, leaves you with a schizophrenic god. A god of confusion rather than a god of order. A god that may take you or leave you. This Adoptionist position was condemned as heresy numerous times by numerous councils.

Seems Bailey's understanding of the Ebionites (159) is not as good as it ought to be either- when he suggests that, "Early Jewish Christians called themselves the Ebionites".
As early (2nd century) Christian Iraneus described the Ebionites, "they use the gospel according to Matthew only, call the apostle Paul an apostate, practice circumcision, and remain Judaic". Hardly sounds Christian to me.

Neglecting other errors to continue to focus on Bailey's concept of repentance- I'd like to stoop to address a footnote on page 180. Here Bailey claims that, "For Jesus, repentance is not simply confession of sin. Rather it is "acceptance of being found" '. I would insist that Jesus would not accept that reductionism. Jesus would not accept such repentance.
This is where you will find Bailey leaning towards a current movement called New Perspectivism.
A movement popularized by N.T. Wright. Essentially, this movement claims that scripture merely describes who is God's chosen people. That scripture never prescribes how to be chosen. More of this in following posts.

In his exegesis of Zaccheaus- Bailey claims that Zacchaeaus "acceptance of being found" by God takes place as Zacchaeus descends from the tree (182).
I would insist that this acceptance takes place when Zacchaeus became a Son of Abraham- as Jesus declared.
This rightfully begs the question, "How does one become a Son of Abraham"?
Well... by becoming as Abraham. By believing in the Lord- Genesis 15:6 and Romans 4:24.
It is probable that Zaccheaus believed in Jesus as Lord prior to his confession of Him as Lord (wise men think before they speak).
It is also probable that Zaccheaus was focused on something else while he was descending the tree (even wise cats think before descending a tree :)
Don't know when he began believing in the Lord- but it seems it was "that day".

I do not believe that such 'acceptance of being found initiates a process of salvation', as Bailey declares on the following page. A sovereign God is far beyond such 'process theology'. A sovereign God- is God over both process and theology.
Such declaration makes me curious about Bailey's ordo salutis. I suspect it is more like Rome's than Romans.
Such is an inept salutis. Such is an inept salvation. Such is an inept theology.