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To: Boagenes; NYer
Boagenes, If you have the time, I highly recommend Joseph Ratzinger's Introduction to Christianity. It was written in the late 1960's and is his exposition of the Apostle's Creed. It is deep but not obtuse. At times I felt over my head, but then very quickly got back on firm ground. As a Lutheran, you might appreciate the following paragraph from a section discussing "He will come again to judge the living and the dead." It takes up the relationship of justification and works.

...It can make clear in its fashion wherein the indispensability of the article about the universal judgment of all men "according to their works" lies. It is not part of our task to consider in detail how this assertion can coexist with the full weight of the doctrine of grace. Perhaps in the last analysis it is impossible to escape a paradox whose logic is completely disclosed only to the experience of a life based on faith. Anyone who entrusts himself to faith becomes aware that both exist: the radical character of the grace that frees helpless man and, no less, the abiding seriousness of the responsibility that summons man day after day. Both together mean that the Christian enjoys, on the one hand, the liberating, detached tranquility of him who lives on the excess of divine justice known as Jesus Christ. There is a tranquility that knows: in the last analysis, I cannot destroy what he has built up. For in himself man lives with the dreadful knowledge that his power to destroy is infinitely greater than his power to build up. But this same man knows that in Christ the power to build up has proved infinitely stronger. This is the source of a profound freedom, a knowledge of God's unrepentant love; he sees through all our errors and remains well disposed to us. It becomes possible to do one's own work fearlessly; it has shed its sinister aspect because it has lost its power to destroy: the issue of the world does not depend on us but is in God's hands. At the same time the Christian knows, however, that he is not free to do whatever he pleases, that his activity is not a game that God allows him and does not take seriously. He knows that he must answer for his actions, that he owes an account as a steward of what has been entrusted to him. There can only be responsibility where there is someone to be responsible to, someone to put the questions. Faith in the Last Judgment holds this questioning of our life over our heads so that we cannot forget it for a moment. Nothing and no one empowers us to trivialize the tremendous seriousness involved in such knowledge; it shows our life to be a serious business and precisely by doing so gives it its dignity. --Ignatius Press edition, 1990, p.324-5.

17 posted on 07/25/2008 12:31:45 PM PDT by Faraday
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To: Faraday

I already bought it. It’s sitting on the top of my book stack, and it’s my next read as soon as I finish “Jesus of Nazareth” - though at my current pace, that won’t be until sometime in about 2010.


18 posted on 07/25/2008 12:34:06 PM PDT by Boagenes (I'm your huckleberry, that's just my game.)
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