(See Telegraph article for background.)
Blomberg neither adopts the ‘one-main-point-per-parable’ common in the 20th century nor the detailed allegorisation of the early church, and which modern readers easily to slip into. Rather he sees that there are either one, two or three main ‘characters’ (which may be people or things) in each parable with the remaining details and characters as ‘props’ for the story. This is a helpful approach from which he can draw theological conclusions about the Kingdom and Jesus’ self-understanding.
I have two obvious problems:
- It leads to the uncomfortable conclusion that the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) says nothing about the reality of hell. The main characters are Abraham, the Rich Man and Lazarus and so Hades (v23) is relegated to a ‘prop’! This is simply not credible. Thus Blomberg’s scheme needs to be applied with care.
- Blomberg sees his work supporting a historic premillenialist eschatology, a case which is unconvincingly made.
But overall, he helps build a framework for interpreting parables which is very useful.
The explosive growth of the church in China is gradually becoming clear to the rest of the world. Some have estimated that the number of Christians in China is greater than the total population of the UK. Such a large group can’t but become a political and economic issue which the ruling Communist Party must come to terms with. This fascinating video report shows the how the underground church is becoming increasingly open in China, yet not without struggle.
(HT: Nicholas T. Batzig)