Thursday, May 8, 2014

Messing Up a Simple Story

Been doing more studying on the Luke 16 story of Lazarus and the Rich Man. More people are calling this story just what it is, a parable. Even a little study will show that Luther called it that, and also scoffed at the immortal soul.

I just hear John Mac Arthur yelling, "The Bible is perfect. It does not need any modernization!" I have John's study Bible and do not lightly dismiss him. But his use of the term "the Bible" means the King James Bible. Imagine, way back in 1611, when it was first published if the Roman Catholics had said, "The Vulgate is perfect. It does not need any modernization!"

Modern translators say (just like Luther) that Lazarus and the Rich Man is a parable. You have heard this before, but I have been digging a little, and what I am finding is so exciting. I feel like a kid finding presents under a Christmas tree.

First I found that the story Jesus told, in modified form, came from the Babylonian Targum, and was familiar to Jews of that day. Jesus rebuked the rich and privileged of that time.

Today (decreasingly) it is heralded as "a map of hell". "We are so fortunate," I heard a preacher say, "to have this description of the afterlife." When I hear this, I know that the preacher has not looked into it at all.

Simple as that. He has spent more time playing virtual sports than looking into what he preaches about. I can forgive his ignorance. Maybe he knows a lot about Salvation Theology. I bet he does. So preach on what you know.

As for the denial of the literalness of the story Jesus told, it is not a modern idea. Luther, in the sixteenth century, understood it very well.

See The Origin and History of the Doctrine of Endless Punishment, by Thomas Thayer.

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