From the bowels of my memory, I think both Jaques Elull and Oliver O' Donovan are really helpful (and I *think* better than Christopher Wright) in examining the importance of social ethics founded on the Gospel. I agree with your general thesis that we need more preaching where the application lands more on "walking in the works that the Lord has prepared for us" as our response to salvation. However, Edwin Judge once challenged me to give greater emphasis to the Apostle Paul's goal that there should be "neither Jew nor Greek, male or female, etc" in the church. His point was, the gospel subverts status, and not aims at (or at least not immediately) changing unjust structures. And I think your final quote from John 13 emphasises this equality of status (is that unity?) within the church as one aspect of Gospel witness. Carson also relayed a story about being on a think-tank or mission board meeting with John Piper discussing aid and gospel in Africa. Piper said "Dig toilets and preach hell".

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I am reading some Ellul and O'Donovan at the moment, and I think they do different things better. That is Ellul strikes me as a thinker more perceptive about much broader philosophy, the world, the human condition, and the modern age, and O'Donovan as a much more synthetic thinker bringing a genuinely gospel-centered and focused way of thinking about the whole approach of ethics to bear. Wright, I think, gives a compelling vision of OT ethics in particular.

I have some other thoughts on the status and structures theme, perhaps for another time. I'm reading a couple of books that discuss slavery in the early church, which kind of bear on that question from another angle.

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