Do Anglicans discuss Parables?

Discussion in 'Sacred Scripture' started by Tiffy, Nov 25, 2020.

  1. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,220
    Likes Received:
    931
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    Parables seem rarely to be discussed as to possible meanings, especially by those who are really keen on doctrines. Might it be that they are unsure of anything that is not 'plain speaking' or 'rule based', being distrustful of anything even slightly 'fictional'.

    What do Anglicans make of the following two parables of Our Lord. They describe what living with Christ is actually like.

    The Parable of the Hidden Treasure
    “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.


    The Parable of the Pearl of Great Value
    “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
     
  2. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,220
    Likes Received:
    931
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    Aparently not?

    I wonder why?
     
  3. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,220
    Likes Received:
    931
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    The first thing I notice about these and nearly all other stories told by Jesus to illustrate spiritual truths, is that both of them refer to earthly scenarios not applicable to what we might consider a 'heavenly' location.

    Jesus is clearly implying this 'Kingdom' is not a state of being we have to wait for until we are dead in order to enter it and become subjects of it's King. It is fully available to us right here and now, on earth.

    This is the very same 'Kingdom' as that which Jesus told us to ask Our Father to establish 'on earth' as it already is permanently and universally established 'in heaven'.

    So the notion that we will have to wait until we die to experience life in the Kingdom of Heaven is nonsensical and therefore inappropriate.

    Matt.3:2
    Matt.4:17
    Matt.5:3
    Matt.10:7
    Matt.11:12

    Matt.5:10. ( The Kindom of heaven is At hand ) : g1448. ἐγγίζω eggizō; from 1451; to make near, i.e. (reflexively) approach: — approach, be at hand, come (draw) near, be (come, draw) nigh. AV (43) - draw nigh 12, be at hand 9, come nigh 8, come near 5, draw near 4, misc 5; to bring near, to join one thing to another, to draw or come near to, to approach.

    This does not mean (immanent in time, but not yet arrived), but rather it means (close in proximity to the individual), here and now on earth.

    And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you".

    Interestingly Jesus is saying here the Kindom of Heaven is so APPROXIMATELY CLOSE to every individual that it was actually already intimately within reach of even his greatest opponents, the Pharisees.
    .
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
    Thomas Didymus likes this.
  4. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,220
    Likes Received:
    931
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also". Matt:6:19-21.

    Though the story of the man who found treasure - . . . .

    (g2344. θησαυρός thēsauros; from 5087; a deposit, i.e. wealth (literally or figuratively): — treasure. AV (18) - treasure 18;) -

    literally found it on earth and not in heaven he is only an example of the way the Kingdom of Heaven operates, not literally an earthly example to follow. Finding treasure is naturally regarded by any worldly person as unusually good fortune but this lucky fellow has unfortunately found it in somebody else's field.

    That poses him a problem. The treasure does not legally belong to him, it belongs to the person who owns the field whether that person knows of its existence or not.

    The real owner of the treasure therefore either knows of its existence because he buried it there himself, knows of its existence through information from some other informant or does not know of its existence at all. Our intrepid treasure hunter assumes the third option or desperately hopes it is the case.

    If this treasure that our not too honest 'metal detecting' friend has fortuitously stumbled upon is God's Kingdom, then God must be fully aware of its existence, surely. It is God that has put this treasure there in the first place. Nevertheless when our secretive treasure finder bags the unexpected hoard he immediately digs a hole somewhere else in God's field, and hides it from the rightful owner by burying it again. This field represents presumably the soul of every human being that lives, (even the hypocritical Pharisees Luke 17:20-21, busy burying their 'talents'). You can't fool God though, he knew both that it was there, exactly where it was and where it has now been hidden. Ps.51:6, Ps.44:21, 1 John 3:20. Luke 6:45. Matt.11:12.

    But the resourceful, not too honest, treasure discoverer has a plan. He will cover up his dishonest double dealing by swindling the owner of the treasure out of it by offering a 'fair price' to the landowner, thus getting title deeds to the treasure he has purloined, all apparently above board and legal like.

    Joyfully he does this because he regards it as the best investment he has ever made in his entire life. Not only does he get the treasure, he gets the land also and the landowner is perfectly happy with the 'deal' he has struck with the buyer, (unless he finds out he's been swindled), but it was after all exactly why he put the treasure there to start with, God is the OWNER of the soul remember. All things come from Him and of our own do we give Him. Overjoyed in fact over every sinner who enters the Kingdom of God. Luke 15:10.
    .
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
    Thomas Didymus likes this.
  5. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,220
    Likes Received:
    931
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    He answered and said unto them, "He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one"; Matt.13:37-38.

    In the seed parables the field - . . .

    (g0068. ἀγρός agros; from 71; a field (as a drive for cattle); genitive case, the country; specially, a farm, i.e. hamlet: — country, farm, piece of ground, land. AV (36) - field 22, country 8, land 4, farm 1, piece of ground 1;

    - . . . is the world. The whole world, not just a part of it, the whole world with all it's inhabitants. The good seed and the tares share places in 'the whole world'.

    So this treasure hidden in 'the whole world, i.e. every person in the world, is 'hidden' - . . .

    g2928. κρύπτω kryptō; a primary verb; to conceal (properly, by covering): — hide (self), keep secret, secret(-ly). AV (16) - hide 11, hide (one's) self 2, keep secret 1, secretly 1, hidden 1; to hide, conceal, metaph. to conceal (that it may not become known).

    Unknown by each individual until they stumble upon it by accident or deliberately dig to find it.

    The lucky individual who finds this 'treasure' within themselves discovers a drawback though. They have to 'buy' the whole world to secure legal possession of the 'treasure'.

    "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul"?

    The price of owning legal title to the treasure is nothing less than EVERYTHING the treasure finder 'owns'. The only thing he can legitimately claim to be 'his own' anyway is his own SOUL. He has to sell title to all his possessions if he is to secure entitlement to the infinitely more valuable treasure. His possessions therefore, he concludes, are disposable by comparison to the prospect of becoming the rightful owner of the treasure, and in addition he also gets the field. Matt.6:33, Luke 12:31. Bargain!
    .
     
    Thomas Didymus likes this.
  6. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,220
    Likes Received:
    931
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    It would seem that the members prefer discussing esoteric religious gobledygook rather than the teachings of their Lord and Master.

    I don't think I'll bother discussing the Pearl of Great Price. No 'Anglicans' in here seem interested.
    .
     
  7. Fr. Brench

    Fr. Brench Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    222
    Likes Received:
    311
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Anglican (ACNA)
    In my experience, Anglican priests tend to prefer preaching from the Gospels, so for like 50% of a given year they're preaching from the parables.
     
  8. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,220
    Likes Received:
    931
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    I certainly prefer to preach on the teachings of Jesus, which means I nearly always make the Gospel of the day my subject.

    Usually the OT reading and the epistle are carefully chosen in the lectionary to have relevance to the Gospel of the day so it is often possible to treat all three thematically and draw out what each contributes to our understanding of The Truth, which is Jesus Christ.

    I think it a great pity that Anglicans and others on this website seem reluctant to discuss Jesus's teaching and debate possible and probable meanings he may have had, unless it is 'plain speaking'. Like the twelve they seem suspicious of anything that is not doctrinally 'set in stone' and plainly spelled out for them. John 10:6, John 16:29-31. The response to this thread so far seems to bear testimony to that tendency.
    .
     
  9. Fr. Brench

    Fr. Brench Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    222
    Likes Received:
    311
    Country:
    United States
    Religion:
    Anglican (ACNA)
    In general, I (and perhaps a lot of other people?) are here to talk about Anglicanism as a tradition rather than engage in specific matters of exegesis.
     
  10. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,220
    Likes Received:
    931
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    No politics or religion at coffee after church then eh. :laugh:
     
  11. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Active Member

    Posts:
    425
    Likes Received:
    164
    Country:
    New Zealand
    Religion:
    none
    Yes but Tiffy is posting in a subforum with the description,

    "Discuss Biblical themes, and individual chapters and passages of the holy Scriptures.",

    and as for talking about Anglicanism as a tradition, this agnostic posts here, as by tradition I am an Anglican having been baptised in an Anglican church.
     
    Tiffy likes this.
  12. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,220
    Likes Received:
    931
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    Thanks AnglicanAgnostic for pointing that out.

    Jesus loved agnostics. The thing about agnostics is that they challenge and ask questions. Jesus couldn't stand people who were too lazy or uninterested to ask questions or challenge him to go deeper and explain what he meant. 'Blind guides' and 'dull of hearing' he called them.

    The ones that really got up his nose though were the unquestioning people who thought they knew it all, and that he didn't.
    .
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2020
    AnglicanAgnostic likes this.
  13. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,680
    Likes Received:
    1,896
    Country:
    Australia
    Religion:
    Anglican
    Really that goes without saying, because faith spurs us on from what we know to what we dare to believe.
     
    Tiffy likes this.
  14. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Active Member

    Posts:
    425
    Likes Received:
    164
    Country:
    New Zealand
    Religion:
    none
    You may know Tiffy; why is it when a Christian tells me they have bought a newer car or a second tv or suchlike, I say "are you collecting treasures that moths and rust will eat away? " they give me a funny look?

    I don't think Matt 6:19-21 is a parable and probably you weren't implying it was.
     
  15. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,220
    Likes Received:
    931
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    Quite right I wasn't implying that verse was a parable. I was quoting the same Greek word 'treasure' in a literal saying of Jesus. His 'plain speaking' useage of the word implies that he was well aware of human nature and our natural desire for the security that 'treasure' may seem to offer us in this life. The rich man's treasure is his castle and salvation.

    I don't know, obviously, the reason that some Christians give you a funny look when you say, "Are you collecting treasures that moths and rust will eat away? " but one reason I can think of might be that they had just replaced their rusty old Vauxhall Viva because it had rusted away, and replaced it with a new Volkswagen Golf that won't for some years to come. We replace our motheaten clothes in the full knowledge that the moths will eventually get at those too. Second TVs usually come about because we are reluctant to throw the old one out if it still works, so it goes in the bedroom in case someone is ill and wants to watch TV in bed.

    All these are practical reasons for having the objects of desire that the world craves, not because others have them and we therefore want to 'keep up with the Joneses', but simply for the benefits they confer on us. A newer car is more reliable, more efficient, less costly to run and just as convenient. Why not replace your old banger if you can afford a new one in addition to your regular charitable giving?

    So it is sensible to concentrate our major efforts on seeking God's Kingdom, where moth and rust don't destroy and just enjoy the other stuff along the way, as we are told it inevitably comes along anyway, when we get our priorities right.

    "O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

    The fact is that we all would appreciate the security that a 'treasure' would bring with it. That is why the parable was devised by Jesus as a tangible metaphor standing in for The invisible, mysterious, spiritual Kingdom of God which is within each of us. Once discovered, that Kingdom is of greater value than all earthly treasure. Well worth the effort of marshalling all your recources to buy the whole property just to ensure you get full, legal possession of it. It's an all or nothing gamble. That's the point.
    .
    .
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2020
  16. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    2,406
    Likes Received:
    1,194
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Anglican Christian
    Well, the funny look might partly be a realization or reminder that their stewardship isn't as good as it might be, since theoretically a person could go about poorly clothed and on foot so as to give more money away; but few people are dedicated enough to deny themselves human comforts. Especially if they are actually quite generous with their giving (picture a person who earns $1Million per year and gives away half of that income; his level of consumerism may still look quite extravagant.)

    And partly it may be out of surprise, because it sounds somewhat critical or judgmental and may come across as a bit of a 'faux pas;' no one expects to hear such things from acquaintances (particularly in this worldly age of "if it feels good, do it").
     
  17. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,223
    Likes Received:
    632
    Religion:
    ACNA
    I don't think the tmeans what you are trying to say it means. I don't read it as saying don't have something nice, don't spend on yourself but where are you putting your focus? Are those nice things your treasures or does it mean don't put your faith in this world as it will fade away and as in Ecclesiastes tells us all human endeavors are eventually futile anyway so put your treasure and hope in the one place that will never fade away and that is in Jesus
     
    Tiffy likes this.