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[Jos 24:15 NIV] 15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."
15 Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised,according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalemto see the apostles and elders about this question. 3 The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the believers very glad.4 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.”
Christian ethics assumptions:
- a. There is only one God
- b. God is the final moral and ethical authority of right and wrong.
- c. Christians do not decide what is morally and ethically right, but learn it from God.
- d. God is the source of Christian understanding of human origins, ultimate reality, purpose, social behavior and destiny.
- e. God’s Word (the Bible) is the primary source of Christian ethical understanding.
Greek Orthodox Ethical Principles:
- 1. Orthodoxy supports tolerance and peaceful coexistence, yet insists that only those who are Orthodox will be saved.
- 2. Orthodoxy supports the health of both body and soul.
- 3. Orthodoxy considers human life as sacred.
- 4. Orthodoxy upholds ethics that support human dignity.
Alternative Christian Ethics: Protestantism
- There are two predominant ethical perspectives:
- 1. Fundamentalist Protestantism.
- 2. Evangelical Protestantism
Fundamentalist Protestant Christian ethics assumes that
- Fundamentalist Protestant Christian ethics assumes that:
- a. The Bible is infallible, and the final authority in moral, ethical, personal and social ethics and practice. It is the basis of “Biblical ethics.”
- b. It rejects the ceremonial law – sees it applicable only to Israel, including the 10 Commandments – as fulfilled in Christ, except those moral laws still applicable in the NT.
- c. Tries to find a “literal” Biblical answer to each modern dilemma or ethical problem.
Evangelicalism assumes that:
- Evangelicalism assumes that:
- a. Morality is a universal concern, and that all people are held to divinely – given morals even though they do not believe in God.
- b. The Bible is seen as authoritative, and it needs interpretation.
- c. The Decalogue or 10 commandments summarizes universal moral duty and what everyone ought to live them as the “abiding laws” – tools for ethical decision-making.
- d. Justice is emphasized as respecting the rights of others.
What is justice?
- 1. Turning the other cheek. An eye for an eye. How is that justice?
- 2. Respecting the rights of others or even giving up own rights for the rights of others.
- 3. Then, what is love?
- 4. Choices between justice and love. Sometimes turning the other cheek is justice and sometimes it’s love.
Two core questions for personal Christian ethics – for Fundamentalists or Evangelicals
Two core questions for personal Christian ethics – for Fundamentalists or Evangelicals
- 1. What am I to do in relation to God?
- 2. Who am I to be in relation to God?
What am I to do – and how do I know it?Approaches:
- A Situational ethics – Love and the situation determines how one lives “Christian love.”Situational ethics assumes love in action is: pragmatic, relative, positive and personal. They focus on the revelation of Jesus in us and in our community – and not primarily on morality or “rules.”
- b. Divine Command ethics – Divine command Christian ethics focuses Biblical morality and action based upon “rules” or laws.
Who am I to be in relation to God’s kingdom? And how do I know it?
Virtue Ethics: Uses the New Testament to clarify and shape who one is now – and who you will become as part of god’s kingdom.The focus is the morals of Jesus as the basis for Christian living as part of the community/kingdom of God (WWJD).
Obedient Love Ethics – Ethics formation post-WWII – 1950’s.a.
Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.”
Wrote the book: The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness (1944)
- Began in Latin America – 1950’s. Father Gustavo Gutierrez – a Peruvian Catholic Bishop – the first liberation theologian (1971).
- Basically assumed that various minorities are oppressed, and that God and ethics are focused on establishing their freedom from oppression to grant them equal rights and economic and political power.
James Hal Cone:
- Believed Jesus was black because he could identify with oppression whereas whites were culturally dominant and wouldn’t understand the people.
- Jesus understood the people so Cone saw Jesus as being black.
Liberation Theology used by:
- 1. Post-colonial Latin Americans.
- 2. White American poor vs. rich.
- 3. African-American liberation – aka MLK, Black Panthers, etc.
- 4. Socialist-Marxist debate with democratic/US and European capitalism.
- 5. The Feminist movement in US and Europe, etc. (Mary Daly, (1968), Mary Condren (1994), etc.)
- 6. The Womanist movement – African-American women vs. society.The Feminist Liberation Theology movement is opposed by some women – including Kassian.
- 7. Liberation theological ideals and motifs are often appealed to in Christian ethics in conjunction with “social justice.”
Gustafson: Theocentric Ethics, 1980’s:
- 1. Basic idea – Man is not the center of divine action or ethics – God is.
- 2. God’s sovereignty and action is the focus of our ethical lives and choices.
- 3. Humanity and nature are interrelated - what we do affects the earth and the universe.
- 4. Piety is our appropriate response to God’s power.
- 5. One is called to be self-denying and self-sacrificing in fulfilling God’s purposes
1 Kings 22:5
But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, “First seek the counsel of the Lord.”
John 14: 16-17
- 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—
- 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[a] in you.
Exodus 24: 3-11
3 When Moses went and told the people all the Lord’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, “Everything theLord has said we will do.” 4 Moses then wrote down everything the Lord had said.He got up early the next morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain and set up twelve stone pillarsrepresenting the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 Then he sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings to the Lord. 6 Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he splashed against the altar. 7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.”8 Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”9 Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up 10 and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky.
- The Essence of the Ethics of Jesus
- 28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
- 29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a]
- 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
Jesus reshapes the conversation of God and His people.
- The two fundamental things that God is about in these two texts.
- Deuteronomy 6:4-5
- Love the Lord your God with all your heart!o Leviticus 19:18
- Love your neighbor as yourself
The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
It’s okay that they were collecting food to eat on the Sabbath because they need to eat.
Matthew 5: 21-22
Matthew 5: 21-22 There is a deeper spiritual value: what’s happening in the human heart, the soul of the person.
The Ethics of Paul: Paul has two kinds of ethics
1. Theological Ethics2. Applied Ethics
Theological Ethics of Paul
1. In relation to God and2. In relation to humanity.
Paul’s ethics in relation to God:
a. Live “in/with Christ” as a child of the Father with Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 2:4-10, 19; 3:14-21).b. Be imitators of God, as His children, (Ephesians 5:1-2)
Paul’s ethics in relation to humanity, based upon:
- a. The principle of love, empowered by the Holy Spirit (Romans 12:9-10; 13:8-10
- b. The principle of unity among Christ-followers (Ephesians 4:1-6, Galatians 3:26-28).
- c. Living the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25).
Social/Work Relations: Work or do not eat! Live quiet lives (1 Thessalonians 4:19-12; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15)
- 4:11 “and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you,”
- 3:10 “if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.”
- 3:13 “do not grow weary of doing good.”