A Law of Liberty?

English: John Henry Newman Category:Venerated ...

English: John Henry Newman Category:Venerated Catholics (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We often speak here of leadership, what it is, how to do it, and such. This is another installment. But we have some underbrush to clear first.

We have often noted that Christianity is based almost entirely on ten things you must not do, we call them commandments, and we share them with Judaism. They range from worshipping false gods, murdering people, and coveting the things that are your neighbors, not to mention the one that w all had trouble with: honoring our Father and Mother. Jesus removed the yoke of the old covenant that included such things as the dietary laws, and here added only these:

Matthew 22:36-40 King James Version (KJV)

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

That’s a pretty permissive rule, isn’t it? Pretty much do what you want but do love God and do not hurt your neighbor. And then He commissioned us to share the Good News.

Matthew 28:16-20 King James Version (KJV)

16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.

17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.

18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

OK, I know and you know as well that it’s not as easy as it sounds, nothing worth-while ever is, and it took literally centuries to brig the canon together (what we call the Bible) so that we wouldn’t make so many mistakes, or at least would learn from those that went before us. But compared to the value of the prize, it’s not an impossible mission either. And so we should remember that old catchphrase which will help us immensely.

  1. The Mission
  2. The People
  3. Yourself

You’ll have your priorities pretty much straight, anyway.

John Henry Newman had some thoughts about how Christ leads us as well. Like much of his work, it strikes me as absolutely true.

The Gospel is a Law of Liberty. We are treated as sons, not as servants; not subjected to a code of formal commands, but addressed as those who love GOD, and wish to please Him. When a man gives orders to those whom he thinks will mistake him, or are perverse, he speaks pointedly and explicitly; but when he gives directions to friends, he will trust much to their knowledge of his feelings and wishes, he leaves much to their discretion, and tells them not so much what he would have done in detail, as what are the objects he would have accomplished. Now this is the way CHRIST has spoken to us under the New Covenant; and apparently with this reason, to try us, whether or not we really love Him as our LORD and SAVIOUR.

A Law of Liberty? — NEWMAN LECTURES.



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3 Responses to A Law of Liberty?

  1. “Absolutely true”? Newman is always worth read, since he was long an Anglican before he went to Rome! But sadly in the end, his so-called ‘Gospel Liberty’, is under the authority of the Papacy, noting Newman’s doctrine and theory of knowledge, of assent and of the development of doctrine and dogma within Papal Catholicism itself. No, not “absolute” for me at least, as a Reformational and Reformed Christian! A friendly and theological disagreement. 🙂

    Btw, here the Book or Letter of James, long misunderstood (even with Luther to some degree) must come into exegetical and theological play! It is really a beautiful Letter and Revelation from God!

    “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (James 2: 8)… “So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2: 12-13, ESV)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Btw, I have in my library a book, by the great Scots divine and Reformed preacher, Alexander Whyte. The book, ‘Newman an Appreciation, with the choicest Passages of His Writings selected and and arranged by Alexander Whyte’ (Oliphant, etc. 1901, London). They wrote letters to one another, and had become friends! Two great Christians from different ends!


  2. Pingback: A Law of Liberty? | Christians Anonymous

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