An Extended Quotation from Colin Gunton writing on Martin Luther

A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none.
A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all.

– Martin Luther, The Freedom of the Christian

img_0004“Luther’s famous paradox can form our starting point, if only because it is in such manifest contradiction of the wisdom of our age, which in truly dialectical fashion prefers to accept the first without the second, and, indeed, that without its basis in the gospel. We prefer to find freedom grounded in ourselves rather than lying in the gift of the creator. Beneath the surface of Luther’s formulation, however, there lies far more than an appealing paradox: there is a theology of human life under God. It has at least two dimensions. The first is to be found in another much quoted dictum, that we are not born for freedom,: we must be slaves either of God or of the devil. Freedom, that is to say, is not an innate possession – quite the reverse – but has to be given. The gospel is a gospel because it is a setting free, from the slavery that is indeed slavery to the slavery which is the freedom of the Christian. There is for Luther no freedom without redemption through grace from the law, sin, death and the devil.

The second dimension is that in which the liberation is spelled out…Christian liberty is, so to speak, completed by its orientation to the neighbour.”

Colin Gunton, The Promise of Trinitarian Theology, p118.

Theology gold, eh?

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