Friday, January 9, 2009

Prodigal Son, Lazarus, and other parables

I've added an article to with commentary on various parables in Luke.

You can now find several such tracts on the articles page.

One of those articles, Biblical Problems with the Modern Gospel, is not meant merely to cast suspicion on the modern gospel but to serve as jumping off points toward a more scripturally sound one. It is not meant to challenge people's faith but rather to have them reconsider what their faith in Christ entails.


qraal said...

Interesting discussion of those parables. You know I hadn't ever thought of them as being about the Jews and Israel/Samaritans etc. but it does make sense. The parable about Lazarus and "Dives" does seem to be a veiled criticism of the High Priest and his ilk IMO, written while Lazarus was still alive and trying to avoid trouble with Ananias/Caiaphas, thus he's fictionalised. But that's just my thought. JC could've been spreading a much bigger net than I had assumed.

qraal said...

You said...

It is not meant to challenge people's faith but rather to have them reconsider what their faith in Christ entails. you think most traditional doctrine is worth hanging on to, and it's people's understanding of what the Gospel is that must change? These days there's so much dime-a-dozen heresy and slander out there I think the average dissatified Xian might be rightly suspicious of rethinking doctrine too much. Just what nuance do you want to add to the received wisdom? Or is your thesis as revolutionary as Luther's and as potentially upheaval-making?

I have in mind the train-wreck that is the ever fragmenting Worldwide Church of God, which has people running after every "true teacher" and "end-time prophet" who has decided that Herbert Armstrong was betrayed when the main church's leadership renounced the heretical parts of Armstrong's teaching. They've all flown apart faster than a fragmentation grenade due to the unstable dynamic that any heresy generates. Like the Gnostics their Teacher's charisma died with him, and they've fallen into factionalism and back-biting.

How do you plan to avoid that?

Just questions I hope you've thought of.

BTW what's the ETA for that draft of your book you've sent me here in Oz?

David Rudel said...

I would say my thesis is theoretically as revolutionary as Luther's.

However, there is one big difference between mine and Luther's or Armstrong's.

See, Luther was giving people something they wanted [I'm not saying that was his motive...I'm just saying that given the climate of the times, the ability to overthrow the papacy was rather sweet to the ears.]
Similarly, from what little I know about Armstrong's, he was definitely preaching a message that American's could flock to.

My message hopes to pull in people who are "at the gates" right now..people who think Jesus knew what He was talking about but are so disenchanted with hypocrisy and judgmentalism in the modern day church that they've become weary of the whole affair.

Rather than giving people something they want to hear, my message challenges those who are already in the church.

My message should really only appeal to people who want Christianity to "make sense" and believe in a God they do not have to make apologies about.

On the other hand, I'm hopeful that even those who ultimately disagree with me will have found themselves significantly more "mature" spiritually as they read and think through my argument.

If all I accomplish is to get Christians to read their Bibles more attentively, I figure I've done some good.

My guess is that the book would get there this Friday or next Monday. Just a guess.

Anonymous said...

Hi there, just read your book sample up on your biblicalheresy website (nice url address, by the way).

Gotta say it sounds like you give modern Christians too little credit at times (I have not in ten years of exploring Christianity heard straightforward 'modern gospel' as you describe it -- also I would say that "faith in Christ" is often interpreted to cover "listen to what he says", but maybe people do forget about this as they age -- I know kids at least are taught that 'believing' entails love, good deeds, obedience and forgiveness, rather than the complex and obscure theology that adults seem to prefer instead), but I love your approach. It does look at a lot of questions that preachers tend to overlook -- Judgement being a prominent one, which is sad because so many people want to talk about it so badly.

I don't know about 'correct interpretation'. Maybe 'more insightful interpretation'. But that's just semantics. Really they're they most informative and straightforward analyses of those parables I've ever seen, and I am immensely cheered somebody can talk about them without making me fall asleep.

It really would be a good read for people who think Christ was all right, but Christianity today is bullshit (I know several).

Thanks for giving me something to get me thinking. Keep it up!

David Rudel said...

Thanks for the comment. Perhaps I should temper those headings [and a bit of the tone.]
I'm in the final weeks of producing the book, and tone is something I will be looking at.

I'm glad you got something from the excerpts.