Capon on The Rich Man and Lazarus

One of the fun things about moving into the non-festival portion of the Church Year is that I get to read more Robert Farrar Capon. The “green season” features more parables than the festival season, and Capon always gives food for thought on the parables. You might not agree with everything he says about them, but his comments are provocative and stimulating.

Here’s a taste of what he has to say about the parable for this coming Sunday in the One Year cycle (Luke 16:19-31):

For those convinced that living is the instrument of salvation, death is such an unacceptable device that they will not be convinced, even by resurrection. From the point of view of those who object to the left-handedness of the Gospel, you see, Jesus’ mistake was not his rising in an insufficiently clear way and then sailing off into the clouds. That, if anything, was only a tactical error. His great, strategic miscalculation was dying in the first place: after such a grievous capitulation to lastness and loss, no self-respecting winner could even think of doing business with him.


Contrary to the misreading of the spiritual advice of earlier centuries, we are not to go searching for loathsome diseases and rotten breaks. Life in this vale of tears will provide an ungenteel sufficiency of such things. The truth, rather, is that the crosses that will inexorably come – and the death that will inevitably result from them – are, if accepted, all we need. For Jesus came to raise the dead. He did not come to reward the rewardable, improve the improvable, or correct the correctable; he came simply to be the resurrection and the life of those who will take their stand on a death he can use instead of on a life he cannot.

Both quotes are from “Kingdom, Grace, Judgment“, pages 316-317


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