Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Relational Ethics Part 10

The Pragmatic Task
The goal of this final task is the embodiment of Scripture imperatives in the lives of the Christian community. “Without this living embodiment of the Word, none of the above deliberation matters.” Indeed, the purpose of communal interpretation of Scripture is so that the community may “fulfill their ends of worshipping and living faithfully before the Triune God.”

We as a church must remove the bonds of absolute, objective truth that has successfully held us captive. This can be done by embracing a bottom-up relational ethic of love viewed through the focal images of community, cross, and new creation. The witness of the Triune God lays the foundational groundwork for this relational ethic to be employed. Our interpretive goal as a community is to utilize the fourfold task of description, synthesis, hermeneutics, and pragmatism to faithfully follow in the footsteps of our fellow brothers and sisters who have gone before us in Christ. Our communities must always seek to pass the fruit test found in Matthew 7: 18, 20 where our Lord says, “A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit…Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” This is not possible if we are following a rigid, objective rule with no cares of subjectivity. It seems that the most plausible and responsible way to live out a faithful existence for Christ is to adopt a post-modern, biblical, relational ethic.

Let us take great care that the baby is not thrown out with the bath water. The "bonds of absolute, objective truth" have certainly successfully held me captive, but not in a negative way. I am a bond-slave of Christ, yet set free in Christian liberty. I certainly don't understand the notion of Christian pragmatism. Had the Christian martyrs of the inquisition been pragmatic about their faith, it is likely they would not have suffered martyrdom. Because they were saved by faith, the Triune God could easily have forgiven an act of denial, as He certainly did with Peter. Their stedfast belief in absolute truth was the bedrock of their position before a corrupt religious system. Are we to abandon absolutes and objective truth because they are hard, or because some will not hear them? Take care, my son, take great care.
"Are we to abandon absolutes and objective truth because they are hard, or because some will not hear them?"

Objective absolute truth, yes, subjective truth grounded in the reality and personhood of Christ, no.

Your salvation and my salvation is not grounded in an idea or thought or written code, but in a person who came through the scandals of particulars. I think we can talk about unsurpassable truth, but to speak of absolute truth in the objective sense in incorrect. Christ is not an object. The Father, Son and Spirit are subjective in nature.

I will not deny that Jesus made absolute claims, but they were all grounded in his personhood. It is his ontological nature that is absolute. Epistomolgy, the bedrock of enlightenment and the modern era, unfortunatley leaves us wanting.

I guess you could say I am arguing for a much more holistic view of reality from both a subjective and objective standpoint. However, the objective makes no sense without the subjective. It takes priority.

It certainly would be cruel to throw the baby out with the bath water to be sure, but unfortunately that is how most critiques appear. Like I said, I would revise this thing.
How often, when people talk about "absolute truth," do they really mean "that which I believe"?
I'm confused. Jesus said that he came to fulfill the law, and I think it was Paul who said that the "commandmants are not greivous". So, are the Ten laid down to Moses objective or subjective? If they do not constitute "absolute truth" that is uncompromised, how does man maintain any sense of moral order in society, let alone the spiritual ramifications of such abandonment.
I am fully aware that only Jesus has been successful in keeping the law, and because of that I enjoy forgiveness from the Father, and companionship/guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Subjectivity, though often useful, can lead to situational morality. Objectivity, more accurately descibes you and me. We are objects taking up physical space in the universe, that happen to be subject to the King of Kings and LORD of LORDS, whether or not it is in faith or outside of faith. The state of our faith is demonstrated in the subjective ways that we live our lives.
Once again I say, take care. Take great care.
I would first and foremost whole heartedly disagree with you that "objectivity" better describes who we are. If all we are is objective then why should we take the doctrine of anthropology seriously? If all we are is objective then why do we care about one man killing another? For that matter, why would we care about Hitler killing 6 million Jews?

We are subjective, particularaly distinct in that we bear the Imageo Dei.

Yes, Christ came to fulfill the law and did so. Yes, He calls us to be perfect as our heavenly father is perfect (Mat. 5:48). The question is "what is the translation of perfection?" Is it stagnant morality or growing relationship? I would say the latter. The purpose for Christ coming was to prepare a way that man and God could reconnect. Burnt offerings is not the point (1 Samuel 15:22). Following His will is. But understanding and knowing His will can only be done in growing relationship? It is through the relationship that our holiness blossoms and grows, not outside of it.

Honestly, the descussion has moved into the realm of differing theological view points. Your position being Calvinism (God Primarily seen as Sovereign King as noted by your statement above.) My position being Arminianism (holds to more of a patrisitc view of God as Father.)

I am not opposed to going down that route.

I will say this you stated..."The state of our faith is demonstrated in the subjective ways that we live our lives." I agree. Why then, if righteousness is imputed, do most Christians actions not fully reflect their spiritual state? The experience does not flesh out with that line of reasoning. There has to be more than impution.

I'm sorry. This feels a bit jumbled.
In answer to your last query, I think "most Christians" do not understand the seriousness nor the commitment required to fully manifest their faith. Many are quick to accept the forgiveness part (Savior), but do not embrace the full commitment (Lordship) part. If they are indeed "saved", they stagnate as "babes in Christ" for their lifetime, never growing in relationship.
Much of what we are debating we agree upon. Perhaps you are right about the theological distinction of "cause and effect" and how it influences of rationale.

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