[I]n a world of fluid, flexible rules, the people who get what they want are the ones who possess the aptitude and education that allow them to manipulate concepts and talk in nuanced ways. [Karl] Barth bullied his wife and some of his concerned friends with his intelligence [into giving him a free pass on his open adultery with his “research assistant and theological muse”].
It might be possible that it is from here that an element of experience can be found in my theology, or, to put it a better way, an element of lived life. I have been forbidden in a very concrete manner to become the legalist that under different circumstances I might have become.
This silver-lining exculpation amounts to an appeal to divine providence. God led him into persistent adultery in order to make him faithful to the gospel proclamation of salvation by grace alone!
(R.R. Reno, First Things, January 2018, whose paywall crumbles over the course of a month)
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