The Scandal of Reason -Part I A Response to Post-Modern Evangelicalism -- By: Scott Newman
CTJ 1:3 (December 1997) p. 254
The Scandal of Reason -Part I
A Response to Post-Modern Evangelicalism
Mountain Home Bible Church, Mountain Home, AR
Introduction: “Scandal-mongers, Sprinklers, and Subjectivism”
Active scandal is direct when a man intends, by his inordinate word or deed, to draw another into sin, and then it becomes a special kind of sin on account of the intention of a special kind of end, because moral actions take their species from their end.1
That statement is an excerpt from an ongoing debate within Catholocism concerning the “sin” status of scandal. Because of the recent increase of scandals among key leadership figures, the Roman Catholic church is attempting to decide whether a sin of scandal should be classified as “special” along with murder, rape, adultery, and the like.
Webster’s defines scandal as “a serious breach of moral code which becomes widely known.”2 Those serious breaches have become common-place in today’s America. A casual entry on the internet search engine infoseek of the word “scandal” will illicit over 38,000 responses. Numerous television talk shows and tabloid news programs have enjoyed huge success because of contemporary culture’s fascination with the secret lives of sin led by her rich and powerful.
Politicians, sports stars, Hollywood celebrities, and even church clergy have seen their names among the headlines as scandal-makers and -mongers.
A United Press release in a Midwestern city told of a hospital where officials discovered that the fire fighting equipment had never been connected. For 35 years it had been relied upon for the safety of the patients in case of emergency, but it had never been attached to the city’s water main. The pipe that led from the building extended 4 feet underground—and there it stopped! The medical staff and the patients had felt complete confidence in the system. They thought that if a blaze broke out, they could depend on a nearby hose to
CTJ 1:3 (December 1997) p. 255
extinguish it, but theirs was a false security. Although the costly equipment with its polished valves and well-placed outlets was adequate for the building, it lacked the most important thing—water! The contractor responsible for the structure had evidently decided to save money by not hiring the completion of the underground system. All of which led many, and rightly so, to wonder about the other buildings for which this scandal-maker was responsible.3
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