Christian Ethics

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SE 571—Christian Ethics and Social Issues
Patrick T. Smith, Course Instructor
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
Fall Semester 2011
Friday Sessions, 6:00-10:00 PM; Saturday Sessions, 9:00-4:30 PM Email: ptsmith@gcts.edu
Phone: 978-646-4120

COURSE SYLLABUS
Course Description
This course is a study of the interaction between Christian ethics and social issues. Attention is given to biblical, theological and philosophical perspectives on select contemporary social issues facing the church.

Course Textbooks
Required:
1. Carroll R., M. Daniel. Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church, and the Bible, Baker Academic Books, 2008.
2. Hoffmeier, James K. The Immigration Crisis: Immigrants, Aliens, and the Bible. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2009.
3. Hollinger, Dennis. Choosing the Good: Christian Ethics in a Complex World. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic Books, 2002.
4. Stassen, Glen and David P. Gushee, Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context, Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003.
5. Additional essays listed on the course schedule below are provided by the course instructor Choose one of the following texts to read to make up for the remaining 1.5 contact hours: 6. Blomberg, Craig L. Neither Poverty nor Riches: A Biblical Theology of Possessions, InterVarsity Press, 1999.

[OR]
7. Hughes, Dewi. Power and Poverty: Divine and Human Rule in a World of Need, Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2008.

1

Course Objectives
The student who successfully completes this course should develop and demonstrate the following skills:
1. To become familiar with the academic discipline of Christian ethics in its central concepts, methodological approaches, biblical and theological norms, and the variety of critical issues it seeks to address.

2. To develop a holistic framework for understanding the scope and content of Christian ethical decision making.
3. To understand some of the reasons for the social and ecclesiastical controversies surrounding ethical issues and learn to relate responsibly to both arenas of controversy. 4. To encourage personal moral growth, analytical thinking, and obedient discipleship as one loves the Lord with all one’s heart, soul, mind and strength. 5. To gain skills and insights necessary as a Christian to serve in constructive, corrective, and redemptive ways in relation to the issues taken up in the course. Course Requirements

1. Class Attendance/ Participation—Students are required to attend and participate in all class sessions for the entire meeting times. The instructor will carefully monitor the in-class participation of each student and this will factor into the student’s final grade. 2. Assigned Readings- Some of the reading material is covered in class. However, there are elements that will not be brought out in class but are still essential to gaining an understanding of the material and successfully completing the course. Therefore, the reading provides a rich and necessary component of the learning experience. a) Textbook Reading- The students will be responsible for reading the assigned sections of the course textbooks stated below.

b) Reading Handouts- Students are also responsible for reading all handouts and essays passed out in class by the instructor. There will be some topics not fully discussed in the textbooks. These essays serve as a necessary supplement to the material discussed in class and in the assigned texts.

Students are to indicate if they have completed the reading assignments for the course by attaching a statement to the final projects to be turned in for the course. 3. Book Review/Interaction Essay—Each student is to write a combined book review of both Carroll R. and Hoffmeier’s textbooks on immigration and Christian ethics. In the first part of the assignment, students are to summarize the basic thrust of each text, then highlight each book’s strengths and some of the issues perceived to be missing based on their stated...
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