I appreciate the input and comments I got from everyone about my last post “Challenged by Jesus”. They definitely helped me come to a greater understanding of the parable and think through what’s exactly at play.
Last night I reread the parable and the explanation from Jesus looking to get two questions answered: 1) What does it mean to uproot? 2) What is the job of the workers? I thought they were the most relevant questions to ask concerning how Evangelicals respond to heterodox sects of Christianity in the context of this parable. It turned out I was wrong about those being the best two questions to ask.
I discovered the best question is “Who am I in the parable?” I had been thinking that I was a “servant” and that the servants had been the ones to plant the field. But in both the parable and the explanation it is Jesus (the owner) who plants the field. We never find out who the weed pulling servants are, but I’m pretty confident that they are not the disciples of Christ. Instead, true followers of Jesus are described as wheat and no explanation of the servants is ever given (perhaps meaning they aren’t important to the teaching of the parable).
Based on something I had read from Alan Hirsch in his book “ReJesus” I had approached this parable with the context of the disciples wanting to stop an exorcist who was casting out demons in the name of Jesus. That story puts a definite skew on this parable. But I think this parable is more like the parable of “The Sheep and the Goats” than that story (that other story still has some questions attached to it that need to be answered).
Jesus, in this parable, is not answering the question “what should we do with false disciples?” Instead he is answering “where did these false disciples come from?” He also explains why he isn’t doing anything about the weeds now and what will happen to them later. I think the parable is a great answer to “Why are there so many hypocrites in the church?”