Knowing the Father Better
* I just had to let you know that your October 26 issue was your best ever. I refer in particular to your multisided exposition of the Prodigal Son/Loving Father. I have a greater understanding of my Father because of your work.

J. Kent and Sherri Patterson
San Antonio, Tex.

* I've already marked Luke 15 in my favorite commentary with a note to always reread this issue before ever preaching on this parable again.

David Roberts
Dublin, Tex.

* Between the interpretations of Kenneth Bailey and Christopher Hall, I am with Hall. While Bailey's Middle Eastern viewpoint was interesting, I cannot agree with his attempt to separate any aspect of the returning prodigal's decision from the fact of his redemption. The returning prodigal may have been na•ve, but it is not correct to conclude that he was not repentant. As Hall implies, to believe otherwise causes many real life (sin) problems. (If even repentance were not involved, then how much worse would the reaction of the older brother have been?)

The Bible makes clear that the decisions by us sinners and saints do matter. I disagree with those theologians who, in effect, say mankind has no free will in the face of God's sovereignty.

Stephen R. Schulze
Kingsley, Pa.

* I greatly appreciate Kenneth Bailey's fresh look at the Prodigal. More than anything, his study shined because it placed the story in its cultural and Old Testament context. It is often easy for us to read the Gospels (especially parables) as if they were written for late twentieth-century Westerners, but I was reminded that Scripture is something we come to in a posture of learning: we don't read our world-view into it, it reads us.

The shock of the outrageous (loving!) behavior of the father coupled ...

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