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The Analogy of GraceKarl Barth's Moral Theology$
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Gerald McKenny

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199582679

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199582679.001.0001

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Ethical Reflection and Instruction

Ethical Reflection and Instruction

(p.225) 6 Ethical Reflection and Instruction
The Analogy of Grace

Gerald McKenny (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

How and by whom is it decided which among the possible courses of action available to the agent in a situation of choice is the one that God commands? This question is made both difficult and urgent by Barth's rejection of casuistry, that is, the rational procedure of specifying a general norm drawn from scripture, reason, or tradition in light of particular circumstances. Barth argues that the command of God comes to us already specified and calls only for our obedience. He seems thereby to deny that there are any rational constraints on what God might command or on what we might take to be God's command. This chapter examines Barth's portrayal of the encounter of human beings with the command of God as a prayerful hearing that includes the rational evaluation of possible courses of action and is preceded by instruction which offers approximate knowledge of what God will command based on the revealed history of God's encounter with humanity.

Keywords:   deliberation, casuistry, moral practices, prayer, divine—human encounter, voluntarism, moral reason, boundary case, self‐examination, ethical instruction, prophetic ethos

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