December 14, 2009 | 1 Comment

But if we wish to be faithful to him, we cannot dream of reducing Christianity to a certain number of principles (though this is often done), the consequence of which can be logically deduced. This tendency to transform the work of the living God into a philosophical doctrine is the constant temptation of theologians, and also of the faithful, and their greatest disloyalty when they transform the action of the Spirit which brings forth fruit in themselves into an ethic, a new law, into ‘principles’ which only have to be ‘applied.’ The Christian life does not spring from a ’cause’, but it moves toward and ‘end’; it is this which completely changes the outlook for humanity, and renders the Christian life different from every other life.” — Jacques Ellul, The Presence of the Kingdom

  • Austin

    What does this mean, “does not spring from a cause…”? What about the Holy Spirit?

    And the argument seems a bit self-refuting in stating that we are not to follow principles…that is a principle in it of itself.

    Also, if we are to move towards an end…what end is this?
    “Kingdom of God”
    Okay, but what does that mean? Look like?
    “Isaiah 61”
    Yeah, okay, but I mean here, now and today.
    “The abusive father stops abusing. The prostitute is brought out of her profession and finds a new creative way to spend her day. The CEO who embezzled without getting caught chooses to repay everyone he stole from four-fold.”
    Right, what do these things have in common?
    “The Spirit of God transformed humanity from corruption to life”
    Then we need to figure out a way to apply these abstract principles into a concrete practical reality.

    Jesus never preached pragmatic nihilism, he gave us principles to live by “forgive. love. think creatively. redeem.” It’s our job to contextualize and instantiate.