Monday, 19 November 2007

Ken Bailey enthusing

A bald middle-aged man, jacketed, shirt buttoned to the top but without a tie, sits at a desk in the corner of a tidy, but dull study. Long-fingered, sporting a large tasteless wooden cross round his neck and an unfashionable pair of large-framed plastic specs, a few books scattered in front of him, he speaks without eloquence or poise. Tears roll down my cheeks.

Get hold of this man’s teaching on Christ’s birth narratives. Get hold of him unpacking Jesus’ own words about the cross and about mission. Get hold of his magna opera on the parables in Luke’s gospel. It’s all on video and DVD (and his academic books on that particular subject are now available in one handy volume, thankyou Eerdmans). When you have heard the parable of the Prodigal Son as the Middle Eastern peasant audience heard it, you will not be the same again. Grace and repentance come alive in his hands. If you do not weep as you hear Jesus’ tender treatment of the former prostitute and sting at our Lord’s rebuke to Simon the Pharisee you are probably dead.