Thesis 1: Jesus’s ministry has a political claim that we often hide from ourselves (Yoder 2). The Mainstream Ethic
Yoder attacks what he believes to be a mainstream view of Jesus’s ethics (5ff).
- Jesus’s ethic was meant for a short interim.
- Jesus was a wandering rural figure.
- Jesus lived in a world in which he had no control.
- His message was ahistorical.
- He was interested simply in worship.
- He died a substituionary death (and that’s the only point).
Yoder is against a “Creation Ethic” (8). While his primary target is natural law ethics, he also lists “situation ethics” under the same label: we discern the right be studying the realities around us (9).
Thesis 2: Because of Jesus’s “humanness,” there is the possibility of a distinctively normative, Christian ethic (10).
Yoder is against any kind of “natural law ethic,” and for him natural law = creation = nature = reason = reality. While I suspect Yoder paints with a rather broad brush, one can’t help but note a few points he scores: these models are usually “ascribed a priori a higher or deeper authority than the ‘particular’ Jewish or Christian sources of moral vision” (19).