Monday, October 01, 2012

Moral Transformation

The Original Christian Paradigm of Salvation

A book that I've heard about and that caught my interest is my presentation to you today.  I've only just started it but have looked at it enough to make my recommendation.  Here's the comments on the back cover:

Recent scholarship has challenged post-Reformation ideas about the early Christian doctrines of salvation.  This ground-breaking book draws together the conclusions of recent scholarship into a compelling and clear view of the early Christian paradigm of salvation.

It presents the case that the early Christians focussed not on Christ's death on the cross or 'saving faith', but on moral transformation.  They saw Jesus as God's appointed teacher, prophet, and leader, who died as a martiyr in order to teach them a new way of life. 

Their paradigm of salvation centred upon this way of life taught by Jesus, and on following faithfully his example and teachings.



  1. Interesting. How does it interpret "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col 1:27) or numerous other verses coming to identify with Christ through faith, as opposed to just following him?

    St. Ambrose said in the 4th century, "God became man that he may make men gods." Is this book about Christians even earlier than that? Maybe that's a bad example, but it doesn't sound like moral transformation includes sharing in Christ's divinity.

    How does it interpret communion? Is it not becoming a part of Christ, and isn't that more than just following his example as a moral teacher?

    Are we still saved by God's grace, or is he just a good example?

    One thing I've noticed about the early Christians is that they emphasized the necessity of the Church for salvation a lot more than we do. That's very clear by the 3rd century in St. Cyprian.

  2. I don't know how it answers your questions yet, Kevin -- I've just started it!

    But I am enjoying greatly, as you can imagine, since it helps put the emphasis back a little bit the other way toward actions at the expense of doctrine.

    I'll let you know as I get into it!

    Thanks for the comment!

  3. How interesting--I'll read it too !