June 19, 2007

Moving In the Right Direction

Laura and I have started moving into our apartment in Irving. Having the time to do this before marriage has been a tremendous blessing. We have been able to take it slow, starting with painting the walls, to moving her mom’s couch, to combining our formidable book collection (though I think Brian and Janelle are still winning). We both are excited about the prospect of living and building our home together (metaphorically until we can actually build a home).

Here is my theological issue for today: Redemptive Trajectory (RT). To try and sum it up: From the Old Testament to the New Testament there is a clear moral step up. Take issues of adultery, retaliation, and slavery.

Adultry: It used to be a physical act and Jesus points out that it is also a mental act.
Retaliation: Eye for and eye was legal justice, but Jesus commands to turn the other cheek.
Slavery: Old testament slaves were treated harshly while Paul says that a Christian master should take care of his slaves.

RT explains this by saying the God has an ultimate ethic for human social interaction but He also recognizes the fallen culture that it needs to be applied to. Slavery is their best example. God’s ultimate ethic would be Abolition. Old Testament recognizes slavery but injects a redemptive nature into it. By the time of the new testament roles around you still have slavery within Christianity but it has been elevated to just under Abolition. Fast forward to the 1800s and you have William Wilberforce fighting for Abolition in England using Christian values.

The RT argument is that Christian ethics is on a trajectory towards God’s ultimate ethic. I didn’t agree with this at all when first exposed. It sounded to me like it was undermining the authority of Scripture and raising the bar too high on issues that didn’t need to be changed. I still don’t have my position firmly placed but I have reading a little of William Webb’s arguments (he is the main theologian for RT) have made sense. I will probably end up reading his book but if you want to read more without buying it here is a link of him defending his view in a debate style PDF file:


No comments: