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."
Huh?

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"

AND

"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?


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