Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Conservatives and the Moral Law

Sometimes mainline denominations have their more conservative members bristle at the resolutions that are sometimes passed at national assemblies. These resolutions often have something to do with public morality-- how we treat the poor, how we go to war, how we pollute the earth. Sometimes there are political objections to the resolutions, sometimes there are theological ones. It's the theological ones that make reference to the primacy of the gospel, or to the new morality and transcending of the law that get me. Some have gone so far as to say that being a theologian of the cross is the reason they oppose the resolutions.

C.S. Lewis wrote:
"Some modern theologians have, quite rightly protested against an excessively moralistic interpretation of Christianity. The Holiness of God is something more and other than moral perfection: His claim upon us is something more and other than moral duty. I do not deny it, but this conception, like that of corporate guilt, is very easily used as an evasion of the real issue. God may be more than moral goodness: He is not less. the road to the promised land runs past Sinai. The moral law may exist to be transcended: but there is no transcending it for those who have not first admitted to its claims upon them, and then tried with all their strength to meet that claim, and fairly and squarely faced the fact of their failure."

That's the rub. Being a theologian of the cross, being one who lives under a new law, does not mean that we are to set up religious bodies which free us from exposure to moral indictments. Bonhoeffer said that costly grace is something that must be striven for again and again.

No comments: