Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Responsibility and accountability

"I reject the hypothesis that man is responsible to God, on the basis that the one who holds responsibility holds the superior position, while the one beneath him is accountable. The one accountable holds the inferior position. God is responsible for all things, in that He created all things, directs all things according to His purpose for all things. In His purpose, He has made man fully accountable to Him for all that He requires of him." -- Stanley Phillips, from e-mail "Campbellite Hymnal," Thursday, 12 July 2007


Bro. Matt said...

Okay...I'm not sure I understand this post. It seemed to me like he was trying to deny what he was teaching. Obviously, I've misunderstood him, so could clarify what was being meant?

R. L. Vaughn said...

Only Bro. Phillips can truly explain what he meant, but I'll try to give what I think. I'm sure it was clearer in the entire e-mail I copied it from, and after a month and without the context, it's a little cold to me now. But I'm also not sure what you mean when you say he seems like "he was trying to deny what he was teaching."

I think one thing that is confusing is that some of the definitions of "accountability" and "responsibility" intersect, having the same or similar meaning. For example, according to accountable can mean "liable to being called to account; answerable; responsible to someone or for some activity" and responsible can mean "liable to be required to give account, as of one's actions or of the discharge of a duty or trust." So with these two definitions there is really no difference. I take it to mean Bro. Phillips is thinking of other definitions of responsible, such as "chargeable with being the author, cause, or occasion of something; having the means to pay debts or fulfill obligations; reliable; involving personal accountability or ability to act without guidance or superior authority." He mentions that God holds the superior position and man the inferior position. God is responsible, acting from a superior position and answerable to none. Man is accountable to God, acting from an inferior position in reference to all that God requires.

Bro. Matt said...

Okay, I can see what he would mean coming from that frame of reference.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Well, that's something like what I think I thought he meant when I copied it a month ago!!

On a different subject: if you haven't already noticed, take a look at J. F. McLendon's letter to Uncle Ben Vaughn.