Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wheat and tares

Matthew 13:24-30:
He put another parable before them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.

"So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, 'Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?'

"He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.'

So the servants said to him, 'Then do you want us to go and gather them?'

"But he said, 'No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'"
I got thinking about this parable.

Did Jesus mean for the church not to rid itself of heretics--or potential heretics--or heterodox believers? Are Christian fundamentalists wrong, then, at least to some degree, in their view of "biblical separation"? I find the fundamentalist argument attractive, in one way--it seems that the Bible is so clear on the points these people emphasize. And yet. And yet. What are we to make of this parable? And what of Jesus' statement in Mark 9:40 (see also Luke 9:50): "the one who is not against us is for us"--a verse I have confessed in the past tends to appeal to me more than its close relative, Matthew 12:30 (see also Luke 11:23): "Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters"?

--If you are reading this in Facebook, please realize it appeared first on my personal blog.
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