Thursday, August 14, 2008

On the failure of contemporary Christian ethics

“From the Apostle Paul to Marguerite Porete to Martin Luther, the deepest attempts to grapple with the God made known in Jesus have drawn charges of antinomianism, libertinism, and moral nihilism. That so few works in the contemporary field of Christian ethics draw those charges should give us pause. It is as if Christian ethics has become all exhortation and no exposition, a set of remarks that have broken free from the body of a sermon to stand on their own.”

—Ted A. Smith, The New Measures: A Theological History of Democratic Practice (New York: Cambridge UP, 2007), 259.

3 comments:

Halden said...

I can't wait to read this book. I'm reviewing it for Neue Zeitschrift.

Unfortunately Cambridge takes their time.

David W. Congdon said...

Yeah, I'm reviewing it for Books & Culture. The problem is that it's one of the best books I've read in years, which makes it all the more difficult to review -- because I want to talk about everything in it! It's always easier, I think, to write a negative review. One of the cruel ironies of academia.

Chris Donato said...

We are naturally bent toward binding the consciences of others. That's the simple why. And we're constantly confusing and flipping the indicatives with the imperatives too.