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Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  256 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
Here in one volume is Robert Farrar Capon's widely praised trilogy on Jesus' parables — The Parables of the Kingdom, The Parables of Grace, and The Parables of Judgment. These studies offer a fresh, adventurous look at all of Jesus' parables, treated according to their major themes. With the same authorial flair and daring insight that have earned him a wide readership, Ca ...more
Paperback, 531 pages
Published March 11th 2002 by Eerdmans (first published February 28th 2002)
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Douglas Wilson
Sep 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
Robert Farrar Capon is a cheery old semi-Marcionite, and an unvarnished antinomian. Various times in this book, you find yourself wishing that one of the apostles, preferably Paul, would show up and box his ears for him. He says things in here that are as atrocious as it gets. That said, at the same time, on the self-deceptions of the self-righteous, and on his descriptive abilities in describing the graciousness of grace, there is no one better. Those who want to be preachers of real grace shou ...more
Abby
Aug 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, religion
In the past few years, I have lost interest in reading more Christian theology than I already have. The modern, popular Christian theology books were always either too moralistic or too simpering for my taste. So I have stayed away. But I am now pleased to announce that I have found the swaggering antidote to stuffy, badly written theology for laypeople: Robert Farrar Capon. My church’s clergy are constantly raving about and quoting Capon (namely for his perpetual message of the enduring grace o ...more
Hal
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Closer to 3.5 stars

- Probably the most fun commentary on Scripture you'll ever read. (Typical sentence: "God is not our mother-in-law, coming to see whether her wedding-present china has been chipped. He is a funny Old Uncle with a salami under one arm and a bottle of wine under the other. We do indeed need to watch for him; but only because it would be such a pity to miss all the fun.")

- Pushes to the outermost edge of my theological comfortability. Mostly amens but a few ehhhs from me.

- It's a
...more
Joseph Radosti
Feb 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Since Jesus didn’t speak to people except by parables, Capon believes we need to continually study them; always with a virgin approach and with our eyes focused on Jesus. Capon looks at the parables through the prism of Jesus, the Light of the World. According to Capon, if we don’t view the world through Jesus, we will get a distorted view of God, his plan and purpose. He compares Jesus to a prism. The colors in light are hidden except when viewed through a prism. In the same way we can only see ...more
Phil Aud
Jul 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
This is my second Capon book which I liked more than the first I had read ("The Fingerprints of God"). I've changed my rating from a 3 star to a 4 star and back a few times. There are things about this book that I really enjoyed (hence the 4 star) but a few things that I could have taken or left (hence the 3). I'll try to expound for anyone who might be interested. First, I don't know if anyone would fully agree with everything that Capon says. He takes new approaches to the parables that go aga ...more
Pat Falkner
Feb 13, 2009 rated it liked it
I got this book from the shelves of my late father-in-law, Gilbert Callaway, without whom I might not ever have found Christianity expressed in intellectually challenging terms. The author of this book (actually a collection of three separately published volumes) is enough of a scholar to be working from about ten different new testament texts, including several in Greek. He is also secure enough to be extremely free in the way he expresses his (orthodox) theses, kind of like G. K. Chesterton, t ...more
Jacqui
Oct 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: christian
I was surprised to learn that the author was a universalist. But when that was defined on Wikipedia as someone who believes everyone is going to heaven because Jesus died for the sins of the whole world then it made more sense. He is also big on kingdom theology meaning that the church is able to bring God's kingdom to earth by their good works instead of the church being the kingdom of God on earth and waiting for it's complete fulfillment when Christ returns.

Anyway, enough background. I think
...more
Josh
May 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: god-books
One of the most in-depth books I've read, thought provoking and challenging. I've spent two years in these pages, digesting chunks at a time, letting them simmer in the furnace of my mind and heart before moving on. The Greek is difficult, but Mr. Capon does his finest to keep the reader tracking along, while keeping to the original scriptural text. This book has added greatly to my understanding of Christ's parables and overall message and mission. I would highly recommend this book, but not to ...more
Jon
Dec 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book focuses on the parables of Jesus. Robert Capon provides incredible insight into the meanings of the parables from a perspective that I would have never considered. I read this book in conjunction with the book "Up From the Ashes: A Personal Journey Through A Fallen World," by William Landon. The combination of these two books aided me in making a much stronger connection in my personal relationship with God. I highly recommend this book for those who want a better understanding of Jesu ...more
Josh
Jan 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
Pure brilliance. I just hope that one day I have the capacity to fully understand the arguments in this book. It's one of those where I was only able to ready a few pages before my mind was overwhelmingly challenged. Then I'd have to process for a few days. This made for a very long read. It turned my world upside-down.

If you come from Orthodox Christianity (Evangelicalism) and like challenging the status quo then this is the book for you. A very refreshing look at the parables of Christ.
Tom
Jan 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Outrageous and excellent. All the parables are about grace, even the ones about the kingdom and judgment. Only sinners qualify for the kingdom. That includes everybody. Everybody will be included unless they willingly exclude themselves. Caveat: no theology of the Christian life, no living by the law of love. All such attempts to articulate a "practice" are condemned as attempts at saving ourselves or "works righteousness."
Allen Knight
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
While I read this book some time ago, I must say that this writer has reignited the wonderment and mystery of Christ's words. Capon has a God given gift of providing yet another facet of the diamond in Jesus' teaching. Read and you will be challenged. Ponder and you will stand amazed. Consider and you will be overwhelmed by God's grace and readiness to receive you.
Justin Sainton
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You won't read a better book this year, certainly be better exegesis of Jesus' parables.

Just phenomenal. A brilliant revelation on God's grace. Teeters on the cliff of universalism, as any good lover of mercy should, yet brings us back to the holiness of God and the reality of hell, through the triumph of grace.
Tristan Sherwin
Feb 04, 2018 rated it liked it
I know I’ve only rated this book 3 stars, which, in hindsight and in comparison to other reviewers, may have been too harsh. But I did enjoy this compilation of Farrar’s three volumes on the Parables of Jesus. There are many wonderful insights in here, and Farrar’s understanding of the Catholicity and the Mystery of the Kingdom of God is spot on (especially as demonstrated under what Farrar has labelled the Parables of Grace, in Volume 1 of the compilation). Additionally, I’m totally on side wit ...more
Abram Guerra
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Most Comprehensive and Challenging Reading of All the Parables of Jesus

Capon not only accomplishes a life's work in this three volume thesis, he does so with so much conviction—and so much pluck—that it leaves you hungry for more. The exposition follows such a simple but powerful framework: The kingdom is everywhere, is controversial, and demands a response; Grace is so complete as to reject anyone that can't resign from their own merits; Judgment is only understood through the lens of the g
...more
Pastor Ben
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a marvelous book (or really 3 books that were republished in one). For a serious, conservative Christian it may well be quite uncomfortable. For a serious, liberal Christian is may well also be uncomfortable. Capon challenges much that we serious Christians think is so. You may end up disagreeing, but you cannot say that he hasn't made his argument based on the scriptures. I highly recommend it.
Ron Coulter
Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I wish I had read the book years ago. Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus deals with many of the “hard sayings” of Jesus – his most challenging parables. Capon’s interpretations are new to me; especially interesting is his assertion that Jesus’ parables increasingly focused on death as he nears Jerusalem.
Capon unrelentingly pushes one theme: Jesus’ concern with the “least, last, lost, littlest,” and dead. He is willing to push his thesis to its lo
...more
Nick Osborne
Sep 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
One of the best things I can say about this book is that it made me think. There were some "Wow, I never thought of that / saw that before" moments, and some "Hmmm, I'm not sure about his line of thinking here" moments, but it is a seminal book worth reading.

Bottom line for Capon is simply that through his death and resurrection Jesus has already drawn all people to himself, and his blood has already covered every sin with God's forgiveness. Both Heaven and hell are populated by forgiven sinner
...more
Josh Davis
Oct 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Capon is incredibly fun to read - this is not a dull, lifeless breakdown of Scripture verses, but a rollicking ride through Jesus' parables. He has a knack (almost Chestertonian) for seeing things in a new light. This leads to a variety of new insights on well-known parables. Capon really shines when he talks about grace - his descriptions of it and insistence on the wild, unbelievable mercy of God are the highlights of this work. But I left the review at 4 stars because as much as I enjoy readi ...more
Dustin Bagby
Aug 02, 2011 rated it liked it
The first three chapters were a real pleasure to read. He's witty, funny, quirky and enjoyable as a writer. As a theologian on the other hand, I found his work on the parables to be incredibly unfounded, historically inaccurate, and sometimes completely bizarre. Some of the chapters were great illustrations of "Here is what I WANT this parable to mean...really badly." It's truly a mixed bag. Some chapters are well thought out and insightful, other chapters are a HUGE stretch in interpretation an ...more
Lee Wilkins
Sep 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Yes, it really did take me 6 months to read this book, but in my defense, I was reading other books concurrently AND this is 3 books in one. Not that any of that matters. This book is worth taking time over and savoring and letting its radical message sink in.

If you have ever had the notion that Jesus' message is inclusive rather than exclusive, that it is not about someday in the future but NOW, that it is less to do about living according to some code of conduct than just accepting that we're
...more
Esse
Jun 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Groundbreaking!

This is pretty much a mind blowingly thorough, intuitive study of the parables of Jesus. I don't think you will find anything like it elsewhere, nor do I think you can or will be the same once you've read it. May you hear God speaking to you as you encounter Jesus Christ afresh through Capon's exegesis of His words. I highly recommend this book to all who love Him, and especially those daring enough to consider that God is even sweeter, better, warmer, and closer than you deemed p
...more
Pris
Aug 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
A very good book with a fresh take on Jesus' parables. I rated it 4 stars because Capon advises readers of the parables not to allegorize or analogize them as other theologians and Christians do--yet he does it himself for each and everyone of them. The only difference is that his own "allegories" aren't what is commonly taught in Bible classes or catechism because his own interpretations bring back the focus of these parables to God and His immense love for humanity.
Anne Lee
Aug 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing book. It makes the parables fresh and as if they were being told for the first time. Perhaps "grace" stretches just a little bit, but on second reading I found it easier to take in. Capon has a strong theme of the absolutely outrageousness of God's grace and he finds it in the parables. my main problem is that my copy seems to be always on loan and I miss it!!
Jim
Jan 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
I bought this book to help me prepare and study for a sermon series on the parables. I am really enjoying Capon's writing style. His ideas and the thoughts on the parables are great too. Definitely makes me want to read more of his work.
Dan Haley
May 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nt-studies
I really enjoyed this book! I did not agree with everything Mr. Farrar had to say but it was by far the most interesting book on the parables I have read. The view of the Kingdom parables was especially fresh. I look forward to reading more form this author.
Luke
Oct 06, 2011 rated it liked it
The book is billed as a fresh, adventurous look at the parables of Jesus, so we'll see how it goes. I don't remember how I came to have this book, but from what I have read, it may be a little too free and adventurous for my taste. Could be a challenge.
Sarah Tiu
Sep 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
I cannot wait to read more of his work! Definitely broke me out of my evangelical box for interpreting the parables of Jesus. Full of grace and some humor.
A little on the intellectual side, so it took me a while to get through, but I was blessed!
Gage
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Used this book as reference for preparing two sermons in Mark 4. Read about 100 pages of it. Loved what I read. Really appreciated the way Copan writes and how he advocated for his position on the parables. Good stuff. Highly recommend.
Bob Koo
Aug 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ministry, devotional
Perhaps my favorite Christian book (and writer) ever. If I can write with one percent of the skill and mirth of Capon, I'd be quite happy. He is brilliant and a master of communicating the precious gospel of grace.
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Robert Farrar Capon was a lifelong New Yorker and served for almost 30 years as a parish priest in the Episcopal Church. His first book, Bed and Board, was published in 1965 and by 1977 left full-time ministry to devote more time to writing books, though he continued to serve the church in various capacities such as assisting priest and Canon Theologian. He has written twenty books on theology, co ...more
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“The Gospel of grace must not be turned into a bait-and-switch offer. It is not one of those airline supersavers in which you read of a $59.00 fare to Orlando only to find, when you try to buy a ticket, that the six seats per flight at that price are all taken and that the trip will now cost you $199.95. Jesus must not be read as having baited us with grace only to clobber us in the end with law. For as the death and resurrection of Jesus were accomplished once and for all, so the grace that reigns by those mysteries reigns eternally - even in the thick of judgment.” 12 likes
“Grace doesn't sell; you can hardly even give it away, because it works only for losers and no one wants to stand in their line.” 5 likes
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