The Christian Sh'ma by Patrick Henry Reardon

Column: As It Is Written . . .

The Christian Sh'ma

by Patrick Henry Reardon

When the Apostle Paul addresses practical moral questions in his epistles, it is usually not difficult to detect the doctrinal—even dogmatic—basis on which his answer rests. Sometimes, indeed, he explicitly discloses that basis.

An illustrating example comes to mind: Dealing with the moral dilemma of inadvertently eating meats from a pagan sacrifice, Paul reminds the Corinthians that pagan gods are not, after all, really gods. Consequently, he says, we need not give them much concern; we don't recognize them anyway.

Then, as though tossing out a parenthetical detail, Paul delivers one of the most solemn pronouncements in all of Scripture: "for us [there is] one God, the Father, from whom [are] all things, and we for him, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom [are] all things, and we through him" (1 Cor. 8:6).

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Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor emeritus of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois, and the author of numerous books, including, most recently, Out of Step with God: Orthodox Christian Reflections on the Book of Numbers (Ancient Faith Publishing, 2019).

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