Second post on the second chapter – on justification

by Andrea Elizabeth

in Inhabiting the Cruciform God by Michael Gorman. I have read 25% of this book, and this chapter goes to 37%. I have no page numbers on Kindle. Ok, I’m liking his definition of justification as participation with Christ through his crucifixion and resurrection. It’s not really fun to die to yourself, but I have never denied the need to do so.

I’m seeing a clearer contrast with the other definition of justification which is something that Christ performs by himself as a forensic statement of not guilty by only His own work on the cross satisfying God’s wrath. The evangelical happy dance at receiving a get out of jail free card never rang true for me. Instead it is the painful correcting of a twisted spine and shoulders (see the cross shape?) through diligent exercise. Even if you want to say Christ puts a harrington rod in your back (I just read they don’t use these anymore), it seems to me he doesn’t use very much anesthesia, and you do have to submit to treatment and renounce your crooked ways. Gorman says it’s not Pelagian, in that you can’t imitate Christ on your own (wwjd). That it is a task of submission, and submitting is the faith that is required. I’m pretty sure I’m still not going to agree with his non-violence at the end, and that if he doesn’t believe in sacraments being the necessary spiritual food, he’s still going to seem rather Pelagian. But I don’t think Pelagianism is virtueless. I could be wrong, but those eastern folks who live ascetically and prayerfully seem to have something, if not enough of it.