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Keywords:

  • Discipleship;
  • Aquinas;
  • Barth;
  • Judgement;
  • Vocation

Abstract

The paper offers an alternative to the prevailing “discipleship” model of the Christian life that requires self-transformation, considerable effort and self-sacrifice, and tends to make negative judgements against those who fail to live according to the model. The model is illustrated by the example of Thomas Aquinas. A second, complementary model is drawn from the role of the crowds, who followed Jesus in the Gospels. With the help of Karl Barth's account of vocation, the second model makes it possible for the church to consider those who, for certain reasons, do not live in accord with the discipleship model to be considered good Christians, rather than unsatisfactory ones.