I haven't seen a lot of negative criticism with the last article that came out a few weeks ago. Here's a thought: when someone uses biblical justice to critique the ideologies of both the political Right and Left, they are often assumed to be centrist or a moderate who is 1/6
...looking for a “middle way” that is neutral or just “above it all.”

But Christopher Watkin argues that Christianity “diagonalizes” its alternatives. “To diagonalize a choice…is to refuse the two (or more) alternatives it offers and elaborate a position that is neither 2/6
...reducible nor utterly unrelated to them.” (Thinking Through Creation, P&R, 2017, 28) To “diagonalize” is not to find a mid-point on the spectrum. It is a position off the spectrum, yet one that addresses the concerns of those on the spectrum.

In Romans, Paul pointed to... 3/6
...both legalists who sought to save themselves by their righteousness (Rom 9:31) and antinomians who lived ‘freely’ as they saw fit (Rom 1:18.) Is the gospel a middle way between the two alternatives? Not at all—it “diagonalizes” them. The gospel radically critiques both 4/6
...positions and at the same time fulfills the concerns of each position—for both freedom and yet obedience to the law--better than the positions can themselves.

When biblical justice critiques both the individualism of the Right and the collectivism of the Left, or both... 5/6
...the relativism of Liberals and the rigid moralism of the Progressives, it is not offering a Middle Way, but something altogether different.

For more see Footnotes 64-68 from “Justice in the Bible” at quarterly.gospelinlife.com/justice-in-the… 6/6
*rigid moralism of Conservatives

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More from @timkellernyc

25 Sep
Its here! But first a summary of the main argument of the last two articles in my series on justice.

1) If you think talk of oppressive social systems or white advantage automatically makes you a Marxist, then you may be a secular individualist who reduces everything to...1/4
...result of personal choices & you may be more indebted to Hume, Mill & Hayek than to the Bible.

2) If you think a sharp critique of Critical Race Theory automatically makes you a white supremacist, then you may be a secular collectivist who reduces everything to the result 2/4
...of group struggle and power, and you may be more indebted to Rousseau, Marx & Foucault than to the Bible.

The churches in every nation of the world have the same struggles that we do. First, how to maintain their biblical and theological independence from their... 3/4
Read 5 tweets
24 Sep
Biblical justice does not “split the difference” or create a Middle Way or posit a moral equivalence between Left and Right. The Bible “diagonalizes” reductionistic secular alternatives. For example, the gospel is not a middle way between legalism and anti-nomianism. 1/5
It escapes the spectrum.

Likewise biblical justice does not give an abstract “Middle Way” between systemic/corporate responsibility and individual responsibility. They both exist and are both important but ultimately individual responsibility is decisive (Ezekiel 18). 2/5
For a fascinating presentation of this in sociological terms, see Christian Smith, To flourish or Destruct, p30, where he argues against individualism (that is generally blind to systemic racism) as well as the Marxist/collectivism that sees all things in terms of social power. 3
Read 5 tweets
22 Sep
On Social Media, I'm seeing a lot of guilt-by-association (GBA) arguments. It goes like this: Person A recommends Person B’s Book #1 as good and helpful (without agreeing with it fully). But Person B has a Book 2 which Person A would not recommend and in which B says things...1/6
Person A would not agree to at all. No matter. The person using GBA says that by A affirming anything B says in any book, A is now affirming of and responsible for everything that B has ever said or taught. I respect the great concern over the danger of theological compromise...2
However, using the GBA approach means we can’t learn from anyone who doesn’t agree with us totally. That’s not only a recipe for intellectual stagnation, it’s a denial of
the historic Christian doctrine of common grace...3/6
Read 6 tweets
20 Sep
I’ve been asked why it is especially wrong for Christians to speak of their opponents in a demonizing and dehumanizing way.  Historic Christians believe that our sin has made us worthy of condemnation and hell. 1/6
From those living respectable lives to those leading criminal lives, all of us fall infinitely (and therefore equally) short of loving and serving God in the way that is due him. Therefore, we can only be saved through Christ by sheer grace. 2/6
The Westminster Confession of Faith 15:4 say “As there is no sin so small, but it deserves damnation; so there is no sin so great, that it can bring damnation upon those who truly repent.” (Rom 6:23; Gal 3:10; Is 55:7; Rom 8:1)  3/6
Read 6 tweets
17 Sep
Christians and the freedom of conscience in politics. The Bible binds my conscience to care for the poor, but it does not tell me the best practical way to do it. Any particular strategy (high taxes and government services vs low taxes and private charity) may be good and wise...
...and may even be somewhat inferred from other things the Bible teaches, but they are not directly commanded and therefore we cannot insist that all Christians, as a matter of conscience, follow one or the other. The Bible binds my conscience to love the immigrant-but it doesnt
tell me how many legal immigrants to admit to the U.S. every year. It does not exactly prescribe immigration policy. The current political parties offer a potpourri of different positions on these and many other topics, most of which, as just noted-the Bible does not speak...3/5
Read 7 tweets
13 Sep
The Early Church Christian social project was a unique kind of human community that defied categories. It had at least five elements:

*Multi-racial and multi-ethnic
*Highly committed to caring for the poor and marginalized
*Non-retaliatory, marked by a commitment to forgiveness
*Strongly and practically against abortion and infanticide
*Revolutionary regarding the ethics of sex

Each of the five elements was there because Christians sought to submit to biblical authority. They are all commanded. They are just as category-defying and both offensive...2/4
...and attractive today. The first two views (ethnic diversity and caring for the poor) sound “liberal,” and the last two (abortion and sexual ethics) sound “conservative.” But the third element, of course, sounds like no particular party. 3/4
Read 4 tweets

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