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Showing posts from February, 2019

An Ethic of the Heart and Faith in Jesus

In Matthew 15, two adjacent pericopae (episodes) suggest an important theological relationship: the connection between ethics and theology or, more particularly, between an ethic of the heart and faith in Jesus Christ.  The first pericope involves an incident when Jesus’ disciples are criticized by the Pharisees for not washing their hands before they ate.  This allows Jesus to comment that it is not what goes in to a person that defiles him but what comes out of a person from the heart (Matthew 15.18-20).  The second pericope involves an incident with a Canaanite woman, who asks for help from Jesus for her demon-possessed daughter.  This allows Jesus to draw attention to the woman’s faith in him.  This essay will consider these two theological points in Matthew’s Gospel.
Reflect, for a moment, on what makes an act moral.  Immanuel Kant wrote on ethics at the beginning of the Enlightenment and suggested, as we might summarize, that a moral act: (1) must be universalisable (…