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, . . .

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Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois. He is the author of Christ in the Psalms, Christ in His Saints, and The Trial of Job (all from Conciliar Press). He is a senior editor of Touchstone.

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