Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Romans 8 and the Modernist West

Conrad Gempf reflects on Rom. 8 and Paul's assurance that "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." It's a message, Conrad asserts, that seems lost on Western culture today:

Modernity managed to lose the sense of responsibility and postmodernity doesn't seem to have found it yet. Everyone but us, before and after our time, recognizes Paul's message of freedom from condemnation as good news, while those of us in the modern (and just barely postmodern) era put our hands on our hips and say ironically "Oh 'there is no condemnation now'? Well, I should hope not!" with all the emotion of someone whose favourite TV show is not going to be postponed after all. . . .

Tell someone Christ has freed them from the Law and it's no biggie. For each of us, the Law of God -- like the speed limit, like copyright laws -- is something that applies to someone else, not me, because I'm a little different, I'm worth it. Tell someone Christ has freed them from the Law and it means nothing. But tell them Christ will free them from Murphy's Law and you've got their attention. How sad our state and how far down Christ stoops to pull us out of the waves.

Do Westerners today have enough sense of responsibility to see what a radical gift of grace God has given to the world in Jesus Christ? If not, how can the gospel message connect? Should we simply accept the idea that few will accept the gift of God's grace?

Update: John Schroeder and Brad Hightower offer their own comments on Romans 8 here and here.


Post a Comment

<< Home