Aquinas and Barth both describe the Christian life in light of who God is and how God acts, rather than with a primary concern for morality or apologetics. They differ in that Aquinas describes a single, essentially monastic, and normative form of discipleship that, because it cannot be taken up by most Christians, issues in practice in a two-tier conception of the Christian life. By contrast, Barth's account of vocation individualises the call to each Christian so that it is possible for everyone to lead the Christian life equally well yet in very diverse ways. For this reason, and because our true relation to God is hidden, even to ourselves, we may conclude that it is dangerous to make negative judgement as to anyone's standing before God – and therefore their relative standing in the church, too – based upon a view of the normative form of the Christian life.
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