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An Interview with Gerald M. Bilkes about his book Glory Veiled and Unveiled: A Heart-Searching Look at Christ’s Parables. Reformation Heritage Books, 2012, 229 pp., paperback.

March 1, 2012

Thank you so much for your willingness to be interviewed about your Christ-centered book which I enjoyed reading. I especially liked your writing style—clear, concise, and practical.

Here are some of my questions for you about your work:

  1. Can you please briefly define the word parable? And, what is the unique contribution of your book to the study of Christ’s parables?

A parable is a shorter or longer word-picture to zero in on a certain truth and affect hearts with it. The prophet Nathan told the parable of the rich man who took a poor man’s only lamb to uncover David to his adultery with Bathsheba. In my book I am looking not only at what the parables of Christ mean, but how they search our hearts.

  1. You say that “[i]n the parables, Christ is intentionally veiling or concealing His glory and the glory of His kingdom” (p. 10). Can you please explain more to us what you mean by this thought-provoking assertion?   

When the disciples asked Christ why he taught in parables, Christ made clear that he had a dual aim in his parables. For example, in Matthew 13:10-17 he showed that people will respond to the parables either in a way that shows that they have faith, and thus understand (at least in principle) the significance of the parable; others, however, will not truly receive the parable, because of unbelief. It is not just so that this is an unfortunate result of the parables, but the intended purpose of the parable.

Many people have difficulty with this idea that God would actually hide his truth from someone. Some scholars have done some theological gymnastics to get around this point. There is a problem if we decide upfront that the parables are different than what Christ has said that they are. Should it surprise us that the parables of the kingdom should be spoken in a way that has all the hallmarks of glorious sovereignty?

I give the example in my book of a force infiltrating enemy territory like the allied forces did at the end of World War II in Western Europe. They dropped messages “in-code” in order to communicate with their allies and win over others, all the while concealing their true purposes to their enemies. This may help us understand why the parables are like messages “in-code,” both concealing and revealing.

 

To keep reading the interview, click here.

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