Thursday, 24 March 2011
The parables of Jesus - 5
Robert Capon: Getting the Christ character right. Who is the Christ figure in the Prodigal? The father. Who is the Christ figure in the Good Samaritan? The Samaritan. The Christ figure in the Lost Sheep is the shepherd.
And the point is that it’s not the lostness of the sheep that drives the parable—it’s the goodness of the shepherd. The shepherd loses the sheep and acts out of his own goodness to alleviate his own loss. The finding, the saving, are all in his hands—the sheep do nothing but get lost. It’s all grace.
TB: You like to cook; you’ve even taught classes and written books on cooking. Let’s say God has a favorite recipe—what would it be?
RC: It’s the recipe of creation and redemption. That is the recipe that runs through the whole Bible. The idea of coupling the New Testament with the Old and taking both seriously is to say you really don’t want to stop the recipe in the middle.
The Son of God is both the Creator and the Redeemer of his creation from the very beginning of the recipe. The perfect creation he fashions through the Spirit by the will of the Father and then hands back over to the Father is what the Bible is all about, Old and New Testaments, beginning to end. One complete and perfect recipe for a new creation, a redeemed creation, from the very start.
TB: What advice would you give American Christians today?
RC: Well, to go back to the analogy of the Bible as a movie, I would say just watch—listen and watch the film. Try to get rid of all the things that you’ve been told it’s about and just watch it unfold as it tells its own story. And never think you have to get it all nailed down and figured out. Just watch and let it tell its story to you.
For example, Augustine was careful when he said the first chapter of Genesis is creation in the mind of God, and the second chapter is creation in time and space. He went on to say that you can take it the other way around if you want. That’s important. Remember that you can always take it the other way. In other words, I don’t have to be right about it. The film itself is genius, and we must stay in our seats and sit at its feet.
TB: What do you think the ministry focus of the American church should be today?
RC: Get people to watch the film. That’s it. And help them watch it. Help them get rid of bad watching habits. The brilliance of orthodoxy is that it does see Scripture, every bit of it, as the Word of God, the Word of God incarnate as a matter of fact. And every bit of scripture is part of the same great story, the same great recipe of creation and redemption.