Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous
JOTGES 11:1 (Spring 98) p. 96
“The Parable of the Sower and the Soils,” Mark L. Bailey, Bibliotheca Sacra (April-June 1998), 172–88.
Bailey is Professor of Bible Exposition and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Dallas Theological Seminary. He considers one of the most famous parables, The Parable of the Four Soils. This parable clearly deals with reception of the gospel and with fruitfulness. The first soil, on the path, clearly represents those who neither receive the gospel nor are productive. The fourth soil pictures those who both receive and are productive. These points are agreed upon by nearly all interpreters. But what of the middle two soils?
Lordship Salvation practically demands that one understand the middle soils as representing unregenerate people since they are unproductive and they do not persevere. According to Lordship Salvation all born-again people are productive and ultimately persevere.
Essentially the article is a review of much of the current literature and views on the parable. Readers of JOTGES will be disappointed, however, to see that this review does not include Free Grace literature and views. There is no consideration, for example, of the writings of Hodges and Dillow, or the GES newsletter on this parable.
Bailey’s personal comments on the identification of the middle soils are ambiguous. He never calls them regenerate. Yet he also avoids saying directly that they are unregenerate.
Bailey indicates his view by approvingly citing a Reformed writer, Blomberg, “(2) Like the three kinds of unfruitful soil, many will respond to His Word with less than saving faith, be it (a) complete lack of positive response due to the enticement of evil, (b) temporary superficiality masquerading as true commitment, or (c) genuine interest and conviction about the truth that simply falls short due to the rigorous demands of discipleship. (3) Like the fruitful soil, the only legitimate response to God’s Word is the obedience and perseverance which demonstrates true regeneration” (p. 187, italics added).
No explanation is given as to how someone can have genuine conviction about the truth of the gospel and yet not be regenerate due to falling short of the rigorous demands of discipleship. Is not saving faith the
JOTGES 11:1 (Spring 98) p. 97
conviction of the truth of the gospel? Must one meet the rigorous demands of discipleship in order to be regenerate? Is that not works salvation? Unfortunately, no answers to these obvious questions are given.
In the Lukan version of this parable the Lord directly indicates that the rocky soil represents those who be...
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