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The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics

Volume 21, 2001

John R. Bowlin
Pages 85-104
DOI: 10.5840/asce2001217

Nature, Grace, and Toleration
Civil Society and the Twinned Church

Various theological benefits accrue as similarities are noted between Christian churches and other intermediate associations in societies like ours. Above all, we come to regard the church in ancient ways, as a twinned body, as a gemina persona, one thing by nature, another by grace. This in turn helps us see the morally ambiguous character of graced nature, even ecclesiastical nature, exemplified most plainly in the mixture of virtue and vice that natural societies yield, but also in the church's ambivalence about natural virtue and its supernatural transformation in time.