“The Christian message of justification does not provide justification for doing nothing.”

–Hans Kung, On Being a Christian, 588


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This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 14th, 2010 at 10:05 am and is filed under Theology, quote. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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45 Comments(+Add)

1   pastorboy    http://www.riveroflifealliance.com
September 14th, 2010 at 9:54 pm

“In 1979 I then had personal experience of the Inquisition under another pope. My permission to teach was withdrawn by the church, but nevertheless I retained my chair and my institute (which was separated from the Catholic faculty). For two further decades I remained unswervingly faithful to my church in critical loyalty, and to the present day I have remained professor of ecumenical theology and a Catholic priest in good standing. I affirm the papacy for the Catholic Church, but at the same time indefatigably call for a radical reform of it in accordance with the criterion of the gospel.”

While it seems he has a grip on the false doctrine of a Pope, he cannot be a Catholic and truly understand justification, that is, that Jesus Christ’s sacrifice is completely sufficient for our justification, and there is NOTHING we do to add anything to justification. However, as we are being sanctified, we bear fruit, not to add to our salvation, but as a result of it.

2   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
September 15th, 2010 at 9:18 am

John,

Where in that quote does Kung suggest we add anything to our justification?

And, does it matter if he’s Catholic if his statement is true? (I don’t think it does.)

jerry

3   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 15th, 2010 at 9:54 am

“And, does it matter if he’s Catholic if his statement is true?”

Yes, context. When a Mormon (for instance) says Jesus is his Savior, the fact that he is a Mormon matters as it concerns the full implications of that statement. Same with a Roman Catholic.

4   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
September 15th, 2010 at 10:18 am

I couldn’t disagree with you more.

5   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
September 15th, 2010 at 10:32 am

PB’s response reminds me of this N.T. Wright quote:

One is not justified by faith by believing in justification by faith. One is justified by faith by believing in Jesus.

6   Neil    
September 15th, 2010 at 10:41 am

i agree context is important. when a mormon speaks of jesus we know it is not the jesus we know from scripture.

yet, when a catholic makes a statement about the need for christians to be act upon their faith – it is disingenuous to pour your own meanings into his words.

that is what pastorboy has done. he did not address kung’s words. he did not even comment on kung’s point. he took one word and created an irrelevant tangential comment.

7   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 15th, 2010 at 10:43 am

#6 – Perhaps, but that is not what I am saying. Justification in the Roman church contains works, and that perspective alters the meaning of that statement when spoken by a Roman Catholic.

8   Neil    
September 15th, 2010 at 10:56 am

you are correct that justification in the roman system includes works. and it may even be safe to assume that kung believes such.

but pastorboy failed to show as much, in typical style he assumes guilt by association… just like he did in his mocking of therese in the other thread.

the tragic thing is… the quote is absolutely biblical in and of itself… it’s pretty much the theme of james. yet, instead of taking it at face value, the first comment ignored the point of the quote in favor of mounting a favored hobby-horse.

9   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
September 15th, 2010 at 1:58 pm

And all of you may be right, but that doesn’t mean that is the context of Kung’s statement.

I’ll go back and look again at the context, but I’m fairly certain that your assertions are not his point.

He is talking about the attitude that says something like, “Oh, I’m saved. I can sit back and take life easy, enjoy things, eat, drink, and be merry.”

As opposed to the person who is saved and goes out and starts doing Jesus things precisely because he is saved. It makes us work harder, not become become lazier.

10   Neil    
September 15th, 2010 at 3:55 pm

He is talking about the attitude that says something like, “Oh, I’m saved. I can sit back and take life easy, enjoy things, eat, drink, and be merry.”

As opposed to the person who is saved and goes out and starts doing Jesus things precisely because he is saved. It makes us work harder, not become become lazier.

this was my take on it as well.

11   Anne    
September 15th, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Interesting source for a quote. Kung also believes Muhammed was a prophet of God. Saw him at the World Parliament of Religions calling for one common spirituality among all faiths.

He said in his book, Christianity and World Religions – “Whoever reads the Bible — at least the Hebrew Bible — together with the Qur’an will be led to ponder whether the three Semitic religions of revelation-Judaism, Christianity, and Islam-and especially the Hebrew Bible and the Qur’an, could have the same foundation. Is it not one and the same God who speaks so clearly in both? Does not the “Thus says the Lord” of the Hebrew Bible correspond to the “Speak” of the Qur’an, and the “Go and proclaim” of the Hebrew Bible to the “Stand up and warn” of the Qur’an? In truth, even the millions of Arab-speaking Christians have no other word for God than “Allah”.

I am convinced that, despite all the renewed fears of Islam, there is a growing conviction among Christians that, in the light of Muhammad’s place in world history, we must correct our attitude toward Islam. The “scourge of exclusiveness”, arising from Christian dogmatic impatience and intolerance, condemned by the British historian Arnold Toynbee, must be abandoned.

http://www.bismikaallahuma.org/archives/2005/hans-kung-on-is-muhammad-a-prophet/

12   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 15th, 2010 at 11:21 pm

#11 – And your facts, if indeed accurate, identify the complete lack of discernment and clarity many times lacking by the writers here.

13   Neil    
September 16th, 2010 at 12:19 am

wow, rick, seriously? when has any writer here EVER agreed with such statements?

14   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
September 16th, 2010 at 12:36 am

My Goodness Rick…you are certainly crabby tonight…

15   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
September 16th, 2010 at 12:47 am

#11,

“Kung also believes Muhammed was a prophet of God.”

So? So do about a billion other people on the earth. What of it?

Early Christians believed the earth was flat. So do we disregard all their statements? Are you certain Muhammed wasn’t a prophet? Do you have prophetic insight into this?

Your argument to dismiss Kung’s statement, based on his belief in a certain thing, is simple prejudice. If we stop believing truth because the vessel that delivers the truth is flawed then we will never be able to believe anything anyone says.

You, and those like you (i.e., Rick), are missing the point entirely by reading too much into the statement.

At face value, and I wasn’t even prepared to defend it this far, Kung’s statement is truth. It would be true if it were uttered by John Crossan or Brian MacClaren or Ingrid Scheuter or the devil himself.

16   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 16th, 2010 at 6:14 am

#14 – Not crabby. It was just an observation that there is here precious little concern over heresy or heretics when compared with the angst over those who are sometimes overly concerned with the like. As is the case with many ODM sites, this site is many times unbalanced. But just as in the case of many ODM sites, you probably consider yourselves very balanced.

(I can be crabby sometimes, but the manifestation of crabbiness is usually much more obvious/carnal than this thread. :cool: )

17   pastorboy    http://www.riveroflifealliance.com
September 16th, 2010 at 8:00 am

Mohammad was a false prophet.
His Allah- the Allah of the Qu’ran is a false god, an idol, the moon god of Ur.
His Isa, who did not die an atoning death for our sins, who was not God, is a false Jesus.

Anne, Welcome to this forum. You are dead wrong.

18   John Hughes    
September 16th, 2010 at 8:05 am

Are you certain Muhammed wasn’t a prophet? Do you have prophetic insight into this?

Really Jerry, really?

19   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 16th, 2010 at 8:14 am

#18 – A perfect example of defending the indefensible and asking the absurd rather than acquiescing to the obvious. Now even Mohammed pulls up a chair.

20   Christian P    http://www.churchvoices.com
September 16th, 2010 at 10:17 am

#17 – That whole thing was supposed to be a quote. I’m pretty sure Anne was not expressing that as her own opinion.

21   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
September 16th, 2010 at 10:31 am

The definition of the word ‘prophet’ is broad. If we are asking ‘was Mohammed a prophet in the sense of Isaiah or Jeremiah’ that is, ‘is he a canonical prophet for Christians and Jews to listen to’ well, maybe, no.

If we are asking ‘was Mohammed a prophet in the sense of someone who spoke of religious obligations and called a people to renewal’ well then yes–even if WE happen to think that his message is dangerous and/or false.

A careful reading of the OT reveals that there were prophets who were called of God and spoke false messages. They were, nonetheless, prophets.

There are people who think that Barrack Hussein Obama is a prophet. There are those who think that Stephen Hawking is a prophet. There are prophets in the Mormon church. There are prophets in the christian church.

Heck, prophets are a dime a dozen. So who cares, really, what Hans Kung thinks of Mohammed? It has nothing to do with whether or not the quote in the OP is true or not.

That’s the point that seems to be deliberately overlooked here.

22   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
September 16th, 2010 at 10:36 am

As is the case with many ODM sites, this site is many times unbalanced. But just as in the case of many ODM sites, you probably consider yourselves very balanced.

To paraphrase the late Mike Yaconelli, the author of the awesome book, Messy Spirituality, balance is a myth when it comes to following Christ. We too often believe that being a Christian means that we will have all of our crap together, and that we live these “victorious” lives. But, really, being a Christian means we allow God to enter into our broken, screwed-up lives.

“Think about how many of us have wondered why we don’t fit, why our faith doesn’t stabilize us, why we seem so out of sync with most of the world. Genuine faith is the isolating force in our lives that creates tension wherever we go. To put it another way, faith is the unbalancing force in our lives that is the fruit of God’s disturbing presence.”

So as far as ODM sites (which I don’t think I’ve looked at one in over a year, really), I’d say it’s not that I care so much that they’re wrong. We’re all wrong about different things. The thing that I despise is that in their pursuit of being correct, they quench the Spirit. Wherever the Spirit moves, there will be a mess – it may look like chaos sometimes. I decided long ago that I’d rather be in church that may sometimes be chaotic and disorganized but is spiritually alive than one that is perfect ordered and dead. Now, ideally, I’d say those things aren’t mutually exclusive, but it’s very rare to find them both consistently together.

23   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 16th, 2010 at 10:57 am

The balance to which I refer is the way in which we assess those from a camp we accept or tolerate and those whose camp we deem unpleasant. Do we show the same deference to both, and ae we striving for impartiality?

Quenching the Spirit happens regularly in Christian genres that are many times pleasant and spiritually philosophical. (Bell, McLaren, etc.) Doctrine can be an idol, but the lack of any doctrine is nebulous christianity.

24   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
September 16th, 2010 at 11:34 am

Well, yeah, it’s simply human nature to be more empathetic towards those whose are opinion are closer to yours, so I guess that’s not surprising. I’m also not saying anything about getting rid of doctrine. I forget who said it, but that the quote, “doctrine makes a great servant, but a lousy master” is basically true. Doctrine in its proper place should serve to point to Christ, not become a systematized way of describing how a person gets to Him.

By the way, I can’t say I’ve seen any evidence of Bell or McLaren trying to quench the Spirit. But that’s probably just me being unbalanced…

25   Neil    
September 16th, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Mohammad was a false prophet.
His Allah- the Allah of the Qu’ran is a false god, an idol, the moon god of Ur.
His Isa, who did not die an atoning death for our sins, who was not God, is a false Jesus.

pastorboy, thank you for summarizing what every writer here (to the best of my knowledge) also believes.

not sure why you felt the need to do so… but that’s ok.

26   Neil    
September 16th, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Anne, Welcome to this forum. You are dead wrong.

i did not take anne’s comments as being what she believed, i took them as a data point on what kung believes.

27   Neil    
September 16th, 2010 at 12:59 pm

i am stunned that people so quickly jump to the conclusion that we think muhammad was a prophet from god just because we entertain the question.

i would much rather explore an issue and cone to a reasoned/biblical response then just gloss over it.

jerry clarified his position and it is orthodox and biblical… he would not have had to do that if his words had not been infused with meanings he did not intend… if raising a question was not tantamount to believing it… if he would have been read charitably.

28   Neil    
September 16th, 2010 at 1:01 pm

i find this amazingly troubling – that raising the question “how do we know muhammad was not a prophet” was met with such objection.

is that how you address people you know in person? do you never challenge people on the assumptions of their faith? when critical thought become tantamount to heresy?

29   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
September 16th, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Pastorboy, a little reading comprehension would have told you what several people have pointed out. Obviously Anne was quoting Kung.
Thanks for “welcoming” her and then insulting her. Well done.

#24 Phil, I think that’s a Rob Bell quote from Velvet Elvis.

30   John Hughes    
September 16th, 2010 at 3:14 pm

Jerry: is he a canonical prophet for Christians and Jews to listen to’ well, maybe, no.

Maybe?

31   John Hughes    
September 16th, 2010 at 3:17 pm

i find this amazingly troubling – that raising the question “how do we know muhammad was not a prophet” was met with such objection.

Oh, I’m sorry I thought this was Prophets, Priests and Poets. I wasn’t aware I had stumbled into a Jesus Seminar symposium. My bad.

32   John Hughes    
September 16th, 2010 at 3:21 pm

The definition of the word ‘prophet’ is broad.

Jerry, in this sense you are, of course, correct. I agree in the strict definition a prophet of Allah is a prophet. But we are working within a Christian context here so the qualifier “Prophet of God” is assumed.

33   John Hughes    
September 16th, 2010 at 3:25 pm

As a suggestion, since these random quotes are getting side tracked by several of us here because of the backqround of the one being quoted, (myself being one of the most guilty parties) perhaps a short pre-amble before each might calm the waters. Like -

“Irrespective of the Catholic background of St. Therese what do you think of this as a stand-alone quote?”

34   John Hughes    
September 16th, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Neil,

Here’s the thing. I have been a contributor to the discuss on this blog for years, I guess almost since the beginning. People have come and gone, but throughout the life of this blog, I have at least assumed that the contributors here, though diverse, are orthodox. In this regard, even asking “how do we know Mohammud is not a prophet of God” is shocking and not par for the course in what has traditionally been addressed here. I’m not used to having to defend crap like that. Not that I’m not up to definding challenges to core orthodox beliefs, but such are just unexpected here. And this is not to say that Jerry is not Orthodox. This whole thing has just been jarring and the deeper we go the more eyebrows it raises. It calls in to question “everything”.

I can certainly have a rational discussion with people I strongly disagree with (like the Christian univeralists), but people’s positions are ususally just not so out of the blue.

35   Neil    
September 16th, 2010 at 6:08 pm

john,

so what you are saying is that it would be inappropriate for one believer to ask another believer how they know muhammad was not a prophet?

the assumption you make (falsely btw) is that asking the question means belief in its opposite.

my asking you “how do you know there is a god?” – DOES NOT mean i am an atheist.

36   John Hughes    
September 16th, 2010 at 7:29 pm

Neil,

#35. Of course, but I’ve interacted with you on this site for over a year now and at least have an idea of your viewpoint on things. I would take for you to ask “how do you know there is a god” even without a qualifier to mean you would be interested in others’ approaches, probably because you were aked that question by an atheist or something.

Similiarly, Jerry, I thought I had a general understanding your world view, but honestly the way you have addressed certain things this past couple of days has been somewhat of an unexpected jolt. I have consistently praised many of your articles and frequently compliment you on your writing ability, but some of your recent comments have me a little confused.

That being said, I can understand your frustration with the thread hi-jacking, again being one of the most guilty. But singular quotes with no context by such arthors as Catholic saints beg several questions.

37   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
September 17th, 2010 at 9:39 am

“Irrespective of the Catholic background of St. Therese what do you think of this as a stand-alone quote?”

If we, as adults, haven’t figured this out already, then adding a disclaimer won’t help.

38   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
September 17th, 2010 at 9:57 am

Similiarly, Jerry, I thought I had a general understanding your world view, but honestly the way you have addressed certain things this past couple of days has been somewhat of an unexpected jolt. I have consistently praised many of your articles and frequently compliment you on your writing ability, but some of your recent comments have me a little confused.

That being said, I can understand your frustration with the thread hi-jacking, again being one of the most guilty. But singular quotes with no context by such arthors as Catholic saints beg several questions.

No need to question my worldview. It remains the same as it has always been, well, to the extent that I am still an orthodox believer…yet, I am one without answers just now and I am no longer afraid to question, challenge, or be revised and updated. There was a lot of stuff wrong with me and now, by His grace, some of it is getting fixed.

However, this thread asked for clarification of a quote. I never said that I bought into everything Therese of Lisieux (or Hans Kung for that matter) said, did, wrote, or practiced theologically. Nor, for that matter, do I find myself in agreement with everything that Barbara Brown Taylor writes, believes, and preaches. Nor do I find myself in agreement with everything Rick Frueh or Chris Lyons or Ken Silva writes either. But I’m also willing to bet that none of those three find complete agreement with moi either; ever.

It does, however, mean that I am not afraid of truth–regardless of where it comes from. Taylor’s book has been especially helpful as I have tried to sort out why the Lord our God removed me from the pulpit. Why an Episcopalian female priest would be a vessel God would use to speak to me is beyond my comprehension since I am neither Episcopalian nor a female nor a priest. Yet he did. (And Brennan Manning too, a Catholic Priest; and Rob Bell an Emergent Pastor; and Eugene Peterson an PCUSA pastor/author; and so on.) The book is fantastic and expresses many thoughts, feelings, emotions, questions, and theological conundrums that I have been experiencing for the last year that no one has had answers for aside from, “Well, the Lord has a plan (except that he has decided for now to keep you in debt and in the dark).”

What amazes me is the places I keep finding these truths. But it isn’t just singular quotes from Catholic authors that I provide. I find a lot of truth in a lot of places…the only fear people need to have of me and my ‘worldview’ is that sometimes the truth actually hits us where we live and that’s when we start questioning ourselves–and that is good.

You see, I used to be like PB and Rick. I had it all figured out, it was tidy, neat, and clean. Then one day God punched me in the mouth. I’ve been bleeding since (and I’m missing a couple of teeth). Then I was Jack Cottrell’s Doctrine of Grace class at CCU. I haven’t been right since. And my best friend in an Anglican Priest and a retired Charismatic Methodist Pastor.

My point being: I’m listening for God’s voice, to God’s voice wherever it may be spoken and for me that is mostly in books. (That’s because, none of the prophets and saints I have consulted have heard from God concerning my life.)

I hope that makes sense. There’s no questions to beg. No worries to worry. There’s just jerry on a quest to understand why I am where I am and not where I want to be. And, to be sure, to help me understand how I can love people…the very ones I spent so much time warning my congregation about when I was preaching–you know, the gays, the Catholics, the atheists, the evolutionists, the liberals. I’m tired of being right. I want to know how to love and be joyful.

That’s partly why I am where I am.

I call that faith.

39   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 17th, 2010 at 10:52 am

“You see, I used to be like PB and Rick.”

Thank you for that caricature.

40   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
September 17th, 2010 at 11:08 am

It’s no worse than when you referred to me as a ‘carnal man.’ Remember that Rick? I do. And the more I read what you write, the more I see you heap your scorn upon me and my thoughts, the more I listen to to you, the more I’m convinced that you do have it all worked out in a neat, tidy, package.

41   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
September 17th, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Nor do I find myself in agreement with everything Rick Frueh or Chris Lyons or Ken Silva writes either.

Dude, why profane my name? What did I do to you?

42   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
September 17th, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Not much. :-)

Just kidding. I’m sorry I mentioned your name alongside Rick’s. :-)

43   John Hughes    
September 17th, 2010 at 2:27 pm

#38 – Oddly enough Jerry Post 38 helps me place your stuff in context. I’ll approach it from a different view point now. Go figure.

P.S. My post in the open thread was meant as humor.

44   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
September 17th, 2010 at 2:32 pm

#43, and hopefully that is a better view than the one you seem to have had recently.

45   John Hughes    
September 17th, 2010 at 3:10 pm

I’m tired of being right.

Jerry, I understand what you are saying. But I strive for a balance. In my own life I value logic and truth. I look back at how much of my own theology has changed over the course of my life, but there has always been a core and foundation. Another atribute I cherish is balance and all too often I see great pendulous swings in people when they go through spiritual upheavels. They go from having everything nice and tidy to not knowing or being sure of anything. I try to keep my spiritual house neat, but lived in as opposed to a museum.