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.

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