The exhaustive scope of the Sermon on the Mount

Timothy Keller in Generous Justice:

In both the gospels of Matthew and Luke, Jesus delivers a famous discourse, which is usually called the Sermon on the Mount. For centuries readers have acknowledged the beauty of its high ethical standards. What is not noticed very often is how Jesus weaves into a whole cloth what we would today call private morality and social justice. Along with the well-known prohibitions against sexual lust in the heart, adultery, and divorce there are calls to give to the poor (Matthew 6:1-4) and to refrain from overwork and materialism (Matthew 6:19-24).

In Western society these sets of concerns have often been split off from one another. In fact, each of America’s two main political parties has built its platform on one of these sets of ethical prescriptions to the near exclusion of the other. Conservatism stresses the importance of personal morality, especially the importance of traditional sexual mores and hard work, and feels that liberal charges of racism and social injustice are overblown. On the other hand, liberalism stresses social justice, and considers conservative emphases on moral virtue to be prudish and psychologically harmful. Each side, of course, thinks the other side is smug and self-righteous.1

This book isn’t brand new, but this (and much more therein) are remarkably applicable to present rhetoric and crises.


  1. Keller, Timothy (2010-11-02). Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just (pp. 54-55). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


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June 29, 2016 · church · conservatism · liberalism · sermon on the mount · keller

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