How is Christianity different from other belief systems? What difference do the Christian doctrines of grace and the Incarnation make to gratitude? NYC pastor Tim Keller and Yale law professor and “born again pagan” Anthony Kronman share their perspectives in this fascinating exchange at The Veritas Forum at Yale 2017.
For another great clip from this Forum click here:
KELLER: If I have a relationship with God, it’s all grace. It’s not like I’ve earned part of this but now God tops it off. It’s all grace. And if you on top of that actually believe in the atonement, if you actually believe that the Son of God came into the world and died for you at infinite cost to himself to get you, the gratitude gets enormous. So, I would say ancient people whether Christians or not had a sense of the world as a gift hat we have lost today. I think Christianity – orthodox Christian belief – can actually enhance that.
KRONMAN: The doctrine that separates Christianity from Judaism and Islam most fundamentally and most clearly is the doctrine of the Incarnation. Jews and Muslims reject this vehemently – out of hand – for principled theological reasons. The doctrine of Incarnation as Tim was suggesting at the conclusion of his last remarks raises the stakes for gratitude – not just a little bit, but infinitely so – and beyond our power to respond in a way that we can ever possibly feel is adequate. In that respect it differs from the gratitude we show the human beings who love us, which is as imperfect as their love. Their love is flawed. Our gratitude is flawed – but equally so on both sides. And the experience of permanent frustration of never being able to say thanks in an adequate way – that’s not built into the horizontal experience of human gratitude in the way it is vertically if you accept the doctrine of the Incarnation.