Sunday, November 15, 2009

Poll - What was the "field" in the parable of the wheat and the tares (Matthew 13)?





52 comments:

Matthew Bellisario said...

Your poll is flawed. You need to add another answer.

"It is an appropriate comparison, when the Lord calls the Church his field, for believers are the seed of it; and though Christ afterwards adds that the field is the world, yet he undoubtedly intended to apply this designation, in a peculiar manner, to the Church, about which he had commenced the discourse."

From your hero, John Calvin.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

It must be, it has to be, that certain Roman Catholics simply just cannot imagine there exist Christians who do not follow one man. Otherwise I can't understand this constant sarcasm about "your hero" Calvin, or Luther, or whomever it may be.

It's a very telling thing, in my view, to require every Protestant to hang on every word of any one man. I can only imagine it's a holdover from bowing the knee to the Pope--they just can't conceive of any other way of looking at things.

Ryan said...

Didn't you see Alex's most comment on the most recent Luther/canon post? Matthew must have a spy camera on us to know our every move. Or he just presumes to be an all-knowing sage.

Matthew's choice :)

David Waltz said...

Hi Matthew,

You wrote:

>> Your poll is flawed.>>

Indeed. I guess Rhology did not like my last response to him in the combox of THIS THREAD:

>>Hello Rhology,

So Augustine, Calvin and Edwards have displayed “willful blindness”? Hmmmm…

You can add the great Evangelical, R.C. Ryle to your list:

“The parable of the wheat and tares, which occupies the chief part of these verses, is one of peculiar importance in the present day. It is eminently calculated to correct the extravagant expectations in which many Christians indulge, as to the effect of missions abroad, and of preaching the Gospel at home. May we give it the attention which it deserves!

In the first place, this parable teaches us, that good and evil will always be found together in the professing Church, until the end of the world.

The visible Church is set before us as a mixed body.
It is a vast “field” in which, “wheat and tares” grow side by side.” (R.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts On The Gospels – St. Matthew, 1860, pp. 146, 147.)

Now, the parables in Matthew 13 are called “kingdom” parables for a good reason: they concern the visible Church (God’s kingdom on Earth) in history. Take note that the “field” is “His [Christ’s] field” (v.24); and a bit later we read: “So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?” (v.27) Who are the “servants”? What is the “field”? (Please keep in mind that the Greek term κόμος is used in many different senses.) Now, ask your self this simple question: if the “world” (v.38) is not a geographical symbol for the expansion of the Church but merely means our fallen world, why would our Lord’s servants attempt to pluck the tares?

IMO, there is much more going on in the parable of the “wheat and tares” than your simple reductionist interpretation; as such, I am going to side with Augustine, Calvin, Edwards and Ryle on this issue.>>


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi Rhology,

How about another poll?

In John 6:53, what did Jesus say one must do to have “life”?

a.“eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood”

b. eat pizza and drink beer because they are only symbols

c. just have faith alone


Grace and peace,

David

Rhology said...

there is much more going on in the parable of the “wheat and tares” than your simple reductionist interpretation

You mean, more going on than Jesus' simple reductionist interpretation.

OK, have fun with that.

Rhology said...

David,

In your poll, the answer is "a".
As if anyone would question that. You know, sometimes I think you're different than the other guys, and then just when I'm getting there, you say sthg that's just as shallow and disappoint me anew.

David Waltz said...

Hello Pilgrimsarbour,

You posted:

>>It must be, it has to be, that certain Roman Catholics simply just cannot imagine there exist Christians who do not follow one man. Otherwise I can't understand this constant sarcasm about "your hero" Calvin, or Luther, or whomever it may be.>>

Me: I seriously doubt Matthew meant that those who adhere to Rhology’s narrow interpretation of the “wheat and tares” parable actually “follow one man”. For the record, I certainly don’t; but, when spiritual and intellectual giants like Augustine, Calvin, Edwards, Ryle, et al. present an alternate interpretation to some current popular opinion, I think one should give them a serious ear.

Grace and peace,

David

Rhology said...

Rhology’s narrow interpretation of the “wheat and tares” parable

I believe you mean Jesus' narrow interpretation.

David Waltz said...

Hello again Rhology,

You wrote:

>>You mean, more going on than Jesus' simple reductionist interpretation.>>

That is your assumption Rhology; and IMO, you have not proven it. Come on, at least you could admit that YOU could be wrong concerning what Jesus had in mind by the term “world” (Greek: κόμος) in this specific context (Matt. 13:38); and that Augustine, Calvin, Edwards, Ryle et al. may have some important insights on this issue.


Grace and peace,

David

Rhology said...

And yet the word "church" never appears at all in there. Hmm...

I just figure there's a reason He said "the field is the world". Probably b/c He meant that the field is the world.

David Waltz said...

>>I believe you mean Jesus' narrow interpretation.>>

Sigh…BUT WHAT DID HE MEAN BY κόμος ? (Words have meanings; words need to be interpreted.)

Rhology said...

No, we're supposed to be asking "What did He mean by 'field'?" And we have His answer.

You amaze me. For real.

David Waltz said...

>>And yet the word "church" never appears at all in there. Hmm...>>

No, but the equivalent “the kingdom of heaven” does.

David Waltz said...

>>No, we're supposed to be asking "What did He mean by 'field'?" And we have His answer.

You amaze me. For real.>>

What? Are you saying that it is irrelevant to understand what Jesus meant by κόμος in order to ultimately understand what he meant by “field”?

Edward Reiss said...

I just find it odd that given Jesus interprets the parable for us, that some would gainsay his own interpretation of his own parable, and quibble over words to "prove" their correction of Jesus' own interpretation of his own parable is the true interpretation.

This will cause a catastrophic loss of credibility. It is as if what Christ says doesn't actually matter.

bkaycee said...

Rhology, (you dunce)

Rome was right to ban the reading of scripture because of the likes of you. Who do you think are that you could deduce from private interpretation that the Lord meant "world" when he said it. Sheesh!

Alex said...

I know Edward, you are totally on to something.

"[53] So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;
[54] he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
[55] For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
[56] He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him."
John 6

Rhology said...

The irony is no doubt lost on Alex, but to argue one psg in which Jesus gives His own interp of the symbolism previously used, Alex cites another. Romanists are often unintentionally very funny.

bkaycee said...

Dont know if I should laugh or cry.

Being the official authorizer, "canonizer" of scripture sure comes with alot of interpretive freedoms!

David Waltz said...

Hello Edward,

You wrote:

>> I just find it odd that given Jesus interprets the parable for us, that some would gainsay his own interpretation of his own parable,>>

Me: Indeed. Jesus tells us the kingdom of heaven is like a field, and the field is the world. Pretty "simple" stuff…

>>and quibble over words to "prove" their correction of Jesus' own interpretation of his own parable is the true interpretation.>>

Me: Now you are just being silly. Words have meanings, and words must be interpreted. What is the "world" (according to Jesus it is the "field"); what is the "field" (Jesus says it is "the kingdom of heaven"); what is "the kingdom of heaven" (many conservative, God-fearing Reformed theologians say it is the Church), please note the following:



“It must be possible, this much we may confidently affirm, to call the church the kingdom…The kingdom as the church bears the features of a community of men. It appears as a house. This character belonged to the Old Testament church for which that of Jesus is substituted, it also finds expression in the very name ecclesia, which designates the assembly of free citizens called together to deliberate and take action in matters pertaining to the commonwealth…The two parables of the wheat and the tares and of the fish-net equally imply the thought that the kingdom is an aggregate of men, though their point does not lie in this thought as such, but in the inevitable intermingling of the good and the bad until the end. The nearest approach to the later declaration about the church occurs in the expression “his kingdom” of Matt. xii. 41. this “kingdom of the Son of man” agrees with the “church of Jesus,” in that both phrases make the kingdom a body of men placed under the Messiah as their ruler.” (Geerhardus Vos, The Teaching of Jesus Concerning the Kingdom of God and the Church, pp. 150-152.)



>>This will cause a catastrophic loss of credibility. It is as if what Christ says doesn't actually matter.>>

Me: Not on my account; I take ALL of our Lord’s words very seriously—please do not suggest otherwise.


Grace and peace,

David

Matthew Bellisario said...

You really should cry bkaycee. Either all of you Protesters on these threads are experiencing a midget minded meltdown, or you are dishonest. Either one should bring tears to your eyes. This thread is dead, and unless you guys are willing to admit that this passage obviously has a deeper meaning to it that just the world, then you deserve to remain in your obstinate ignorance. You Protesters can't even agree on this simple passage, and yet you expect us to take you seriously on passages that deal with salvation and the Eucharist? Give me a break.

Louis said...

David,

"what is the "field" (Jesus says it is "the kingdom of heaven");"

Where does he say this? In v.24, he says "the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed....", but an enemy also came and sowed bad seed. In v. 38 he says "the field is the world, and the good seed is the children of the kingdom."

I read this as the kingdom of heaven consists of the good seed only, while the good and bad together make up the field, which is the whole world.

How are you reading this differently?

Rhology said...

Exactly, Louis. "Kingdom of Heaven" does not equal "the church" any more than the field does.

CathApol said...

It means "the world" - just as Scripture/Jesus says it does. Does that mean this parable ONLY applies to the world? Are Jesus' parables all one-dimensional? Or, could one apply the same parable to the Church?

In JMJ,
Scott<<<

Rhology said...

If He'd say "the field is the world and/or the church", that possibility would exist, now wouldn't it?

Circle the wagons!

David Waltz said...

Hello Louis,

Thanks for responding. You wrote:

>> David,

"what is the "field" (Jesus says it is "the kingdom of heaven");"

Where does he say this? In v.24, he says "the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed....", but an enemy also came and sowed bad seed. In v. 38 he says "the field is the world, and the good seed is the children of the kingdom.">>

Me: You ended your quote of v. 24 too soon: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field” (NAS).

A “kingdom” equals a realm, hence geography is involved. The realm/kingdom is “his field”, and the good seed is planted in “his field”. Further, the bad seed is planted in the same field/realm/kingdom.

>>I read this as the kingdom of heaven consists of the good seed only, while the good and bad together make up the field, which is the whole world.>>

Me: I must disagree, for the “field” is “his field”, and “his field” is his realm/kingdom.

Yet another esteemed Protestant theologian weighs in on this:

==Again, the parables regarding the gospel kingdom manifestly bear in the same direction. “The field,” which was to be sown both with tares and with wheat, is “THE WORLD” (ό κόμος) : that is to say, a world-wide kingdom is to be formed, embracing the genuine and the false-hearted subjects of Christ under one visible name ; both are to “grow together until the harvest ;” and the harvest is the end of the world.” (David Brown, Christ’s Second Coming – Will It Be Premillennial?, Baker Book House, 1983 reprint, pp. 34, 35 – all emphasis in the original.)==

>>How are you reading this differently?>>

I read it pretty much the same way as Augustine, Calvin, Edwards, Ryle, Brown, et al.


Grace and peace,

David

Alex said...

This has more to do with modern day Puritanical theology read back into Scripture than anything else. It is the hidden "true church" that provokes the thoughts of Rhology et al.

Louis said...

David,

I see. I'm still not sure one has to read it that way though. It's his field, because it's his world. God of course reigns over all the earth, but the kingdom of heaven generally refers to something more specific. So the bad seed is not planted in exactly the same realm/kingdom; but the good seed is planted, bringing the kingdom of heaven with it.

I guessed I missed the first half of this debate, which must have started on another thread. What is the point of this disagreement anyway?

Rhology said...

There will be a post on that, Louis, in about an hour.
The central issue here is that our Romanist friends on these threads can't bring themselves to admit they were wrong.

Edward Reiss said...

David,

Jesus himself interpreted his own words--he said "The field is not the Church". You want to re-interpret them differently. I don't know what else to say. You ask "what is the world" and "what is the field". Well, what ever they are, Jesus said the field is not the Church. How much plainer can he be?

You claim to take the Lord's words seriously while you are saying they say something he himself says they do not mean.

Matthew,

"This thread is dead, and unless you guys are willing to admit that this passage obviously has a deeper meaning to it that just the world, then you deserve to remain in your obstinate ignorance."

How is it ignorant to say what the Lord himself said about his own parable: The field is not the Church?

All your huffing and puffing does not change the fact that you feel free to correct the Lord himself.

Astonnishing.

Cath Apol:

"It means "the world" - just as Scripture/Jesus says it does. Does that mean this parable ONLY applies to the world? Are Jesus' parables all one-dimensional? Or, could one apply the same parable to the Church?"

Saying it is applicable is different to other things is different from what your RC apologist buddies are basically saying: that it means the Church even if Christ himself says it does NOT mean the Church. Don't you find it a little disconcerting that your fellow apologists insist that simply believing Jesus means what he says when he interprets a parable he himself used is some kind of weird interpolation?

And if it is applicable, what does that do for Church discipline?

Finally, I think what we have seen here from the RC side is a desire to win, and never give even a nanometer--a Protestant must be wrong in all circumstances, even if it means going against what Jesus Christ himself says. If you guys can't be honest and state that the field is not the Church and instead look for some deeper meaning behind everything, aren't you playing right into prot arguments that you don't bother following the Scriptures--even when they are rather, shall we say, clear? It really seems that no mater what the Scriptures say, yo uguys will simply re-arrange everything to fit a pre-conceived outcome. No matter what.

David Waltz said...

Hi Louis,

Once again, thanks for responding. You posted:

>> I see. I'm still not sure one has to read it that way though.>>

Me: I concur, one does not have to agree with Augustine, Brown, Calvin, Edwards, Ryle, Vos, et. al.—Catholics and Protestants have representatives for both positions—THIS IS NOT A CATHOLIC/PROTESTANT ISSUE.

>>It's his field, because it's his world. God of course reigns over all the earth, but the kingdom of heaven generally refers to something more specific. So the bad seed is not planted in exactly the same realm/kingdom; but the good seed is planted, bringing the kingdom of heaven with it.>>

Me: It can (and has) be read that way, but I side with the gents I have been quoting; IMO, the interpretation I have been defending is a better fit with subsequent parables of Matt. 13 (i.e. leaven, mustard-seed, and fish-net).

>>I guessed I missed the first half of this debate, which must have started on another thread. What is the point of this disagreement anyway?>>

Me: It started when I suggested earlier in this combox that Christ’s visible Church has both “wheat and tares” in it. Pretty amazing…aye???

Grace and peace,

David

Alex said...

Edward, where does he say that the field is not the church? I read him saying that the field is the world, but as David has shown this is understood as the kingdom when looking at the full context.

Sincerely,

Troll

Rhology said...

It started when I suggested earlier in this combox that Christ’s visible Church has both “wheat and tares” in it. Pretty amazing…aye???

And since the Bible never uses that imagery, I pointed out that Jesus corrected you, and you've stubbornly refused to acknowledge His correction ever since.
What you should have said was: "Oops, you're right. What I meant to refer to was 1 Cor 5, 1 Thess 4, Matt 18, etc, where church discipline is actually taught, rather than mixing up my parables. I stand corrected."

Pilgrimsarbour said...

It means "the world" - just as Scripture/Jesus says it does. Does that mean this parable ONLY applies to the world? Are Jesus' parables all one-dimensional? Or, could one apply the same parable to the Church?

I think that as much as the Church continues until the return of Christ as a mixed bag of wheat and tares, sheep and goats, etc., it has an application.

However, I would argue that the field in this parable is not the Church.

I will stick with Jesus' interpretation of His own parable, with all due respect.

Edward Reiss said...

Alex,

You are playing silly semantic games. The world is not the Church, it is the world. I might as well ask where does it say the field is not New York City?

Just admit you guys are wrong, and stop grasping at straws to "prove" you are "right". The desperation and over the top rhetoric is really unbecoming when the wrongness of the interpretation offered by the RCs here is so patently obvious. As I said earlier, this plays right into your opponents' hands.

Matthew Bellisario said...

I never said that the passage didn't refer to the world you idiots. You people are really starting to make asses out of yourselves. Where did any Catholic on any of these threads say that Jesus was wrong in that the passage refers to the world? We have said at least 10 times now that it is not the ONLY, read, ONLY, interpretation, and that it indeed also refers to the Church as cited by the Fathers and by Calvin as well. You Protesters dishonestly quote us, and I am tired of it. I never said Jesus was wrong, and you all are going to have to answer for your dishonesty in all of this.

Alex said...

Edward, you specifically said, even pretending to quote Jesus, "The field is not the Church".

Jesus did not say that.

I don't think this qualifies as semantic games.

Sincerely,
Troll

Edward Reiss said...

Alex,


Very well, I will revise my statement.

I wrote "Well, what ever they are, Jesus said the field is not the Church. How much plainer can he be?"

I will admit my minor error and revise my remarks thus:

"Well, what ever they are, Jesus said they are the world, he did not say they are the Church. How much plainer can he be?"

Happy now?

Edward Reiss said...

BTW, Matthew's increasing ad-hominem quotient is a sure sign he knows the game is up and he is in the wrong.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Once Jesus has explained Himself, we have no justification for creating other interpretations from this text.

At issue is the question of other possible applications of the words wheat and tares within the Church. However, the word world never means Christ's Church, so that idea should be abandoned.

Applications and interpretations are two different issues here, and we should be mindful of the distinction.

And maybe, just maybe, you'll have to answer to our heavenly Father for calling us all idiots. Ever think of that?

Matthew Bellisario said...

No, idiot fits you all perfectly, and is justified by the responses you have.

Idiot.
–noun
1. an utterly foolish or senseless person.
2. Psychology. a person of the lowest order in a former classification of mental retardation, having a mental age of less than three years old and an intelligence quotient under 25.

I think it fits by definition. So I don't think it is uncharitable. I could be wrong, I am not infallible.

David Waltz said...

Hello Edward,

You said:

>> Just admit you guys are wrong, and stop grasping at straws to "prove" you are "right". The desperation and over the top rhetoric is really unbecoming when the wrongness of the interpretation offered by the RCs here is so patently obvious. As I said earlier, this plays right into your opponents' hands.>>

Me: My-oh-my, have you been reading any of the quotes I have provided? John A. Broadus, David Brown, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, R.C. Ryle, and Geerhardus Vos are not “RCs”!!! IMO, what is becoming “patently obvious” is that you are unable follow the solid and consistent theological constructs provided by the above Biblical scholars. Ultimately, your ‘beef’ is with the above men, and not this simple beachbum, for I am merely siding them on this issue.


Grace and peace,

David

Edward Reiss said...

David,

My oh my, just because you follow Calvin's et al. errors does not make the error non-error.

If Christ says the field is the world, who are you, Calvin or anyone else to instruct him?

C'mon, just admit you are wrong. Be honest.

Edward Reiss said...

BTW, all the chest thumping by the RCs here is rather illuminating. It is as if they believe such a display will cover up the bankruptcy of their arguments:

1) Though Christ says the field is the world, he meant it is the Church

2) Though Christ said the field is the world, we are free to apply that in any way we see fit

3) Though Christ says the field is the world, other prominent Protestants said otherwise, and as everyone knows, Protestants are beholden to their leaders

All these are beside the point. Why not just admit that saying the field is the Church is not reading what was said, but reading into what was said--no matter who makes the claim.

It is quite obvious that the RCs here are so invested in being right that simply accepting Jesus' own interpretation of his own parable is some kind of daft interpolation into what was said.

I mean really, come on!

Turretinfan said...

David:

Do you agree with the visible/invisible church distinction?

-TurretinFan

Alex said...

David:

Do you agree with the visible/invisible church distinction?

-TurretinFan

I think this is possibly the key distinction.

By the way, we can also add Brown and Fitzmyer, the frequently cited catholic theologians who are here thought of more often than not as the supreme authority on Romanist biblical matters, to the list of interpreters who interpret the text contrary to Jesus.

Sincerely,
Troll

Alex said...

I will admit my minor error and revise my remarks thus:

"Well, what ever they are, Jesus said they are the world, he did not say they are the Church. How much plainer can he be?"

Happy now?


Yes, I am happy now.

Thanks,
Troll

Richard Froggatt said...

First, I have to say that I'm ashamed of the name calling. We would never (hopefully) talk this way face to face. We're all Christians here, let's put on Christ.

As far as the Scripture in question goes; Jesus compared the Kingdom of Heaven with the field, which is the world. Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven, like the world is comprised of wheat and tares.

The field is the world, it's not the Kingdom of Heaven, yet it is like the Kingdom of Heaven. What we need to be asking is not what Jesus meant by the field but what He meant by the Kingdom of Heaven.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

I asked Matthew Bellisario:

And maybe, just maybe, you'll have to answer to our heavenly Father for calling us all idiots. Ever think of that?

Matthew said...

No, idiot fits you all perfectly, and is justified by the responses you have.

I think it fits by definition. So I don't think it is uncharitable. I could be wrong, I am not infallible.


Well, at least he has thought enough about it to look up the dictionary definition. Too bad it doesn't go beyond that to character introspection, though.

Just so I understand this: as "world" can mean "Church" at a whim, calling someone an "idiot" is not uncharitable.

If Mr. Bellisario will produce a parable from the Scriptures where the word "world" does mean "Church," I'll be happy to concede the point.

Likewise, if Mr. Bellisario can produce a sentence where the word "idiot" in this context is not designed to ridicule someone, I'll concede that point as well.

Alex said...

Likewise, if Mr. Bellisario can produce a sentence where the word "idiot" in this context is not designed to ridicule someone, I'll concede that point as well.

Turritinfan might say that Matthew was using the term merely descriptively.

Sincerely,

Troll

beowulf2k8 said...

The Catholic interpolation interprets the parable as meaning that God and Satan both sow their people into the world, as though some people are created by Satan and some by God (how stupid!). In reality, the field is Scripture, and Jesus is saying that the devil will sow tares in Scripture (like Romans 9 for example), and that the servants (those who copy the text) should not removed them (pull up the tares) but rather leave that to the reapers (the readers) who will first bind the tares to be burned (not believed) and then gather the wheat (the true parts of the Scripture) into the barn. This interpretation has ancient support also in the Pseudo-Clementines, and in Faustus the Manichean.