Michael W. Austin

Ideas that matter.

Month: April 2017

Being a Christian Means Becoming Like Christ

Good SamaritanIn some segments of the church it is now routinely suggested that Christianity is not about ethics; rather, it is about a relationship with Christ. While I applaud any resistance to reducing Christianity to an ethical system, I’m concerned that Christian antipathy towards ethics is itself unchristian. Christianity is not merely about ethics, but it does essentially include ethics. The Christian, as a follower of Jesus, should seek to embody the moral and intellectual virtues of Jesus Christ, our Lord. He is our moral and intellectual exemplar.

There is some resistance to ethics within the Christian spiritual formation movement as well. I affirm the emergence and flourishing of the movement, and am a strong advocate of practicing the spiritual disciplines for the sake of connection to and growth in Christ. But some approach these disciplines merely as avenues for having some sort of subjective, or even mystical, experience of God. While all believers should have such a thirst for Him, and part of the function of the disciplines is to enter into such fellowship with God, I believe there is great potential for moral formation that is at present untapped. And I believe that the Scriptures strongly emphasize this aspect of following Christ. The vital link between our experiential knowledge of Christ and growth in moral formation is our growth in virtue.

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Easter Matters Because Character Matters

Yesterday, Christians around the world celebrated Easter, the holiday dedicated to remembering and celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The resurrection is an essential claim for those who, like the Apostle Paul, think that the Christian faith depends on the truth of this event:


Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ—whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died (1 Corinthians 15:12-20, NRSV).

Today, I want to discuss one reason that the resurrection is significant for Christians, because I think it is one that we often either ignore, or at least neglect.

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Resource Roundup #3: Intellectual Virtues, Humility, and Holy Inactivity

Here are a few things from others on the internet that may be useful or interesting for readers of my blog:

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