a moral undertaking

Assumed Audience: Theologically-orthodox Christians, or folks interested in things that theologically-orthodox Christians think.

Christology is a moral undertaking, but not in such a way that Jesus Christ’s identity is first realized or filled out in human moral activity, as if he were amorphous until given moral definition by our conduct. His identity is antecedently and infinitely full, and therefore limitlessly potent. Moral Christology begins from apprehension of the riches of the glory of this mystery’, namely, Chris in you the hope of glory’ ([Colossians] 1.27). His inherent glory glorifies, and part of the glorification of creatures is their sanctification.

… Creaturely moral history is a function of th egift of life which in Christ flows to us from the inexhaustible fountain of God’s own life.

 — “‘Where Christ is’”, in God Without Measure: Working Papers in Christian Theology  —  Volume II: Virtue and Intellect, John Webster, p. 26

Webster’s gift, in so much of his work, was not saying something new, but saying old things in just the right new words. Here, for example: to say that Christology is a moral undertaking” is (or ought to be!) quite arresting! I taught a class on Christology a few years ago, spent months thinking about it, and had never — not once — framed it this way in my mind. The very act of theologizing about Jesus Christ must be a moral undertaking,” because Jesus Christ is the holy God: to study him, to see him rightly at all, we cannot avoid holiness. (Nor indeed can we avoid it in any case: we are his creatures!)

He forms us. As Webster says between the lines I have quoted here, in Christ’s death and resurrection [we] are made and moved…”. And that formation is very good:

…Christian moral metaphysics is a joyful science, for it contemplates the loveliest reality, whcih is Jesus Christ is all and in all.

 — “‘Where Christ is’”, in God Without Measure: Working Papers in Christian Theology  —  Volume II: Virtue and Intellect, John Webster, p. 27