Date of Award
One of the perennial problems of the Christian faith is the relationship between law and grace. This constant recurrence is an indication of its basic importance. Extreme positions are unchristian and result in an unholy presentation of the Christian faith.
To the earnest Christian the problem of what to do and what not to do often becomes a serious one. Prior to the acceptance of Christ and His way, and individual's conduct is controlled by the socially accepted standards of his environment. The standards will vary in accordance with each given situation and the average person will feel obligated to adhere to the pattern. This motivation is not so much a moral responsibility in relationship with God, but is rather a selfish desire to maintain social acceptance. Thus, a degree of admirable conduct is often realized when social standards are governed by Christian principles. In fact, such high ideals in everyday life have often been erroneously accepted as true Christianity.
There are many contributing elements which add to the confusion of though in Christian liberty. The Bible as progressive revelation presents the problem of interpretation. The Old Testament record with its ceremonial and national laws must be understood. To apply this record directly to Christian living is to revert back to externalism and legalism. It must be understood within its historical framework. Unwise teaching of the Bible will not only confuse the person involved but this person will then in turn misrepresent the Christian life to others. Such faulty belief brings neither victory to the individual nor glory to God.
Gardner, Gerald, "An Interpretation of the Problem of Christian Liberty within the Realm of Law" (1952). Western Evangelical Seminary Theses. 19.