Christian ethicist Nancy Duff has suggested that an apocalyptic hearing of the gospel elicits a parabolic understanding of the Christian moral life. How might the theological basis and rationale of this claim be elaborated? What is it about human life funded by the gospel of God’s apocalypse in Jesus Christ that makes ‘parable’ an apt description of the quality of its action? And how might these notions be elaborated to enrich our understanding of responsible moral action more generally? This article explores these questions by way of a running conversation with the work of J. Louis Martyn, Christopher Morse and Paul Ricoeur. It concludes by showing the salience of these themes in relation to Bonhoeffer’s later reflections upon the distinctive quality of Christian life in the wreckage of Christendom. Overall, the solid currency of a parabolic construal of the character of Christian moral action for the present pursuit of theological ethics is recommended.
- apostle Paul
- Christian life