A Christian moral vision for economic life

“The challenge of developing a Christian moral vision for economic life has been with the church since its very beginning. Few issues in Christian ethics have generated a literature as massive or as polemical.” (Stassen & Gushee, Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2003), 409, emphasis mine)

In consequence, for Luther the way to the reform of society lies not in the reform of institutions but rather in the moral reform of man. If men followed their callings in a Christian manner, society would function properly.

—Cargill Thomson, The political thought of Martin Luther, p. 6.

Present Lord

Like all the Matthean discourses, the Sermon on the Mount is more than simply part of Matthew’s narrative thread; it is also a direct address to his readers. In this way it is in agreement with Matthean Christology, for the historical Jesus, whose story Matthew relates, is at the same time the present Lord, speaking to the community in its own present time.

—Luz, Theology of the Gospel of Matthew, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995) p. 45.

The authenticity of Jesus’ teaching

The assumption that tradition was created to meet needs and answer questions faced by the early Christian communities is seen to be in need of major qualification. After all, there were many issues that vexed the early church, to which Jesus offered no word of clarification. These include spiritual gifts, church officers, various doctrines, and, more importantly, teaching that speaks to the Gentile problem. If dominical tradition was freely created, as many form and redaction critics once assumed, then why did not teachings attributed to Jesus arise that might have resolved some of these controversial issues? The inference that should be drawn from this observation is that early Christian communities were not given to the creation of dominical tradition.

—C A Evans, “Reconstructing Jesus’ Teaching: Problems and Possibilities”, in Charlesworth and Johns (eds.), Hillel and Jesus, Minneapolis: Fortress, 1997.

Time magazine on Bell

…Bell’s arguments about heaven and hell raise doubts about the core of the Evangelical worldview, changing the common understanding of salvation so much that Christianity becomes more of an ethical habit of mind than a faith based on divine revelation.

Jon Meacham, Time magazine