Christian Ethics

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“Ethics deals with what is morally right and wrong. Christian Ethics deals with what is morally right and wrong for a Christian.” -Norman Geisler (Christian Ethics: Options and Issues, 17)

Christian Ethics: Contemporary Issues & Options, Second Edition by Norman L. Geisler In this thorough update of a classic textbook, noted Christian thinker Norman Geisler evaluates contemporary ethical options (such as antinomianism, situation ethics, and legalism) and pressing issues of the day (such as euthanasia, homosexuality, and divorce) from a biblical perspective. The second edition is significantly expanded and updated, with new material and charts throughout the book. There are new chapters on animal rights, sexual ethics, and the biblical basis for ethical decisions, as well as four new appendixes addressing drugs, gambling, pornography, and birth control. The author has significantly updated his discussion of abortion, biomedical ethics, war, and ecology and has expanded the selected readings, bibliography, and glossary. Christian ethics is well summarized by Colossians 3:1-6: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.” When we say that the Christian believes that God exists, we mean something significantly different from what many modern people mean when they make that statement. The Christian believes in a God who is really there, a God who exists as an objective reality — not simply one who exists as a mere postulate. A postulate is something that is assumed to be true even when there is no proof that it is true; it is simply something assumed as a basis for reasoning. Modern theology, for instance, often tells man that God cannot be proved, that He must be accepted purely on faith, and it therefore reduces God to nothing more than a postulate. The Christian’s faith in God, however, unlike the faith of modern man, is a rational faith. When modern man says that he believes in God and yet says that God cannot be proved, he is accepting the idea of God as a faith-assumption. He has no rational basis for his belief in God, but he merely chooses to assume, against all the evidence, that God is. The Christian’s faith is instead grounded in reality. He believes in God, not because he chooses to believe in Him on the basis of a faith-assumption, but because he knows God is really there; the evidences for His existence are overwhelming.

While more than just a list of “do’s” and “don’ts,” the Bible does give us detailed instructions on how we should live. The Bible is all we need to know about how to live the Christian life. However, the Bible does not explicitly cover every situation we will face in our lives. How then is it sufficient for the all the ethical dilemmas we face? That is where Christian ethics comes in. Science defines ethics as “a set of moral principles, the study of morality.” Therefore, Christian ethics would be the principles derived from the Christian faith by which we act. While God’s Word may not cover every situation we face throughout our lives, its principles give us the standards by which we must conduct ourselves in those situations where there are no explicit instructions. The term "Christian ethics," as I shall use it, means a systematic study of the way of life exemplified and taught by Jesus, applied to the manifold problems and decisions of human existence. It therefore finds its base in the last of these frames of reference, and in the other five only as they are consistent with the sixth and exist as applications or implications of the moral insights of Jesus. This is not to claim...
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