Patricia Hofer

GK Chesterton’s “duplex passion” finds it roots in Jesus Christ.

GK Chesterton defines Christian moderation as a “duplex passion” and calls it the “Christian key to ethics” (Orthodoxy 71-72). It allows us to have both courage and humility just as it allows us to separate the crime from the criminal. “The criminal we must forgive unto seventy times seven. The crime we must not forgive at all…” (74)
We need some of this “duplex passion” in Christian churches today. On the one hand, we have the literalists who furiously defend the inerrant scripture. On the other, we have those who would dump the Old Testament and just embrace the social holiness of Jesus’ parables. Then again we have those with the Calvinist leaning, who must parse and analyze the doctrine, seeking salvation within its very words. The other extreme would dump the doctrine, turning Christian believing it into some kind of emotional, feel-good spirituality.
I think Jesus Christ completely understood the moderation of “duplex passion”—probably because he originated it!

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