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THEO 303 (Su '15) T02 - Christian Ethics

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Hartmut Scherer

on 7 April 2016

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Transcript of THEO 303 (Su '15) T02 - Christian Ethics

Why study Ethics?

Sources and Image Credit
When we say something is ethically "obligatory" we mean that it is not only right to do it, but that it is wrong not to do it. In other words, we have an ethical obligation to perform the action.
Terms Used in Ethical Judgments
The opposite of an ethically obligatory action is an action that is ethically impermissible, meaning that it is wrong to do it and right not to do it.
Sometimes actions are referred to as ethically permissible/"neutral," because it is neither right nor wrong to do them or not to do them.
These types of actions are seen as going “above and beyond the call of duty.” They are right to do, but it is not wrong not to do them.
Making Moral Judgments
[ 4) Attempt to evaluate the
of the moral actor ]
1) Consider the
itself (must have acted freely)
2) Evaluate the
of the person (sense of duty,
not self interest)
3) Evaluate the
of your actions (act
must be morally right to do)
Morality and the Law
- substantial overlap between what is legal and
what is moral
- For laws to be valid, they must have some
connection to widely shared moral principles
- Law is the moral minimum. Obeying the law is
the beginning of our moral obligations
An Ethical Dilemma
An ethical dilemma is a conflict between two or more value- or virtue-driven interests.
Adopted from http://www.brown.edu/academics/science-and-technology-studies/framework-making-ethical-decisions. Accessed May 9, 2015.
- identify the parties in the conflict
- identify their interests
- what virtues and values underlie those interests
e.g., temperance, courage, faith
e.g., respecting elders, punctuality
Is this a moral issue?
What is Christian Ethics?
Christian ethics deals with “oughtness”
- what ought a Christian “do” (conduct)
- what ought a Christian “be” (character)
If many norms supposedly have universal application, what should one do if several conflict in a given situation?
An Ethical Challenge for God's People
Gen 17:1, "When Abram was ninety-nine years old
the LORD appeared to Abram and said to
him, 'I am God Almighty; walk before me,
and be blameless.' "
1. As Christ-followers, we live out our days in the
presence of God
2. As Christ followers, we are a community under
3. As Christ followers, we are also a community in
the world
The Relevance of the OT Law for People of the NT Era
Law as the expressed will of God that people be
like him morally (Lev. 19:2)
Law as the Mosaic legal system (John 1:17)
Find out how Antinomianism, Generalism, Situation Ethics, Non-Conflicting Absolutism, Ideal Absolutism and Hierarchicalism "solve" conflicting norms? (search in the textbook, Internet or library)
Law as obedience to the law (Gal. 2:21)
Law as the OT (Matt. 5:18)
Law as specific laws (John 19:7)
The law as an operating principle (Rom. 7:23)
The ultimate standard for the Christian is not merely a code of ethics or system of doctrine or a subjective feel for what is right.
The standard for the Christian is God himself.
Matt. 5:48, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly
Father is perfect."
- our standard is not relative
If our standard is God himself what is it that we can say about this standard?
- this standard is personal, living and visible
- the standard is universal
1. Principle: One must distinguish between
or commands and
of those commands.
Four Hermeneutical Principles
Concerning the blameless walk, see also Grenz, Stanley J.,
The Moral Quest
(IVP, 1997), 99 and Sidney Greidanus,
Preaching Christ from Genesis: Foundations for Expository Sermons
, (Google Books), 169.
Robertson McQuilkin, Biblical Ethics (Tyndale, 1995), 31ff.
Ibid., 36f.
Adapted from Feinberg, John S. and Paul D. Feinberg,
Ethics for a Brave New World
(Crossway Books, 1993), 32ff (The Use of Scripture in Ethics).
2. Principle: One must interpret the OT or NT
command in light of its own social,
political, and religious
3. Principle: One must discover, if possible, the

for the command. Is the
rationale or principle theological or
purely cultural?
4. Principle: One should decide how modern society

relates to OT law
Continuity Position (3 uses of the law)
OT Law and the NT Era
Moderate Continuity Position (adjust a bit)
Moderate Discontinuity Position (Christ fulfills OT law)
fulfill (Matt 5:17-19) - bring to completion
Christian Ethics
- Please write down 3 words that you consider
important of today's lesson
Free Writing
(class exercise)
- Select 1 of the 3 words and do some free
writing (~ 3 minutes)
- In groups of 3-4 share what you have written (~10
minutes); each group should come up with 1-2
questions to ask in class
Full transcript