Christian Ethics As Level Essays

Biblical Essays
CHRISTIAN ETHICS – A CLOSER LOOK

Ethics is concerned with character and conduct. It is concerned with evaluation of conduct, determining if such conduct is right or wrong measured by certain standards. Ethics, therefore, is interested in the standards, or norms, which regulate our judgments and guide our actions.

Christian ethics is the science of morals conditioned by Christianity, having its foundation in the revelation of God through Christ (2 Tim. 3:14-17). Moral philosophy and Christian ethics are both rational; they both appear to the mind or reason of man (Is. 1:18; Rom. 12:2). However, there is a great difference: The speculative thinker finds his facts in the moral world at large, while the Christian discovers his facts in scripture and more particular the New Testament (Ps. 119:105; 2 Pet. 1:21; Luke 1:4; John 20:30-31).

The Christian religion has two main elements: dogmatics and ethics; or, doctrine (2 John 9), and morals (Gal. 5:19-21). Christian dogmatics, or doctrine (1 Tim. 6:3-5), supplies the Christian with life principles and standards. Christian ethics or morals, keeps Christian dogmatics or doctrine from becoming mere ritualism, legalism, or profitless speculation (Rom. 6:17-18).

Today, we need a closer look at Christian ethics, because we are in a period in which ethics has been severed from positive foundations. The world is in a crisis of ethics. Religious sanctions have been discarded, and in many places replaced by lack of obligation to any fixed standard of social behavior. Most of the world has moved from an ethical position based upon relative absolutes to a position of absolute relatives. In such a social society, modern man seldom seeks more than social approval, and sometimes only individual approval, for his answers. For instance, solving marriage problems based on social approval; preparing income tax returns based on individual approval. As a result, the value of human life and the worth and dignity of the individual, has sunk to depths not realized since the dark ages. A few examples: barbarism in Nazi concentration camps; slave labor camps under Soviet totalitarianism; scientific frenzy and devotion to weapons of wholesale destruction beginning at Hiroshima and continuing with refinements until now; racial intolerance to the point of violence; terrorism; etc.; etc. For the first time since the Christian era, relative, subjective ethics looms as the approved procedure for society, and the results are drastically clear. Man, left alone, will work out his own destruction (Judg. 17:6).

Obviously, biblical, historical, Christian ethics was departed from in bringing these conditions into society. Therefore, logic, reason, and necessity prompt us to return quickly to the lofty standards of Christian ethics. This can be done only as we move from the social world of relative truth and realize there is absolute truth divinely given to man for his well-being: the Bible. Only as we set out minds and hearts to the task of living this truth and practicing this doctrine of ethical living will we be able to avoid disaster.

Christian ethics recognizes the biblical view of sin. To the ancient Greeks, sin was simply a defect, or shortcoming – a missing of the mark. To others, sin is “a transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). In other words, to a Christian, sin is the violation of a divinely revealed way of life given for our good – specific, definite; usually resulting from a choice of self in preference to God; or rebellion against God.

Christian ethics recognizes man’s responsibility before God. He is capable of either choosing (Josh. 24:14-15) or rejecting the good as revealed in Christ, God’s Son. But in rejecting the good, he also knows that “evil communications corrupt good morals” (Matt. 7:26-29).


    

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Colour code: Blue – Main argument Red – Argument against Orange- Critical analysis Purple – Scholars Situation ethics is the Christian ethic advanced by Joseph Fletcher which puts agape (unconditional) love as the teleological aim of moral decision-making. Fletcher proposed that Christianity could no longer depend upon the strict legalism established throughout Church history. Instead, … Continue reading Situation Ethics – “The rejection of absolute rules by situation ethics makes moral decision-making entirely individualistic and subjective.” (40 marks)

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Colour code: Blue – Main argument Red – Argument against Orange- Critical analysis Purple – Scholars Conscience is elusive in its definition but at the core of most descriptions there is the notion of an inner sense of right, wrong and guilt. Throughout history there has been much debate concerning the origin of the conscience … Continue reading Conscience – “The conscience requires God.” Discuss. (40 marks)

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Colour code: Blue - Main argument Red - Argument Against Orange- Critical analysis Purple - Scholars Philosophical argumentation aims to use reason as the basis of debate in an attempt to avoid fallacies such as an appeal to emotion or common opinion. When presenting a logical argument, there are two methods of obtaining knowledge used … Continue reading Arguments based on reason- A priori reasoning is more persuasive when providing arguments for God’s existence. Discuss (40 marks)

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Religious experiences can be defined in many forms. A religious experience usually refers to experiences where you are in contact or receive information passed from God. Some experiences can be personal, or others non-personal such as the word of God through passages in the Bible. Near death, and conversion experiences are all forms of religious experiences … Continue reading Religious experience- Does religious experience provide a basis for belief in God or a greater power? (40 marks)

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Natural theology is the name given to attempts to discover truths about the existence and nature of God by using human experience and human reason. For most Christian thinkers, natural theology has played an important part in supporting and developing Christian belief systems. The Bible offers the view that the natural world demonstrates truths about … Continue reading Knowledge of God’s existence- Discuss critically the view that Christians can discover truths about God using human reason. (40 marks)

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Augustine’s starting point is the account of creation in Genesis 1-3. He taught that in the beginning humans lived in harmony alongside God.  It was a time when the human body, will and reason were all in complete co-operation with each other. The human will comprised cupiditas (self-love) and caritas (generous love) which were both … Continue reading Augustine on human nature- “Humans can never be morally good through their own efforts”. Discuss. (40 marks)

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‘Son of God’ is a title used for Jesus in the New Testament and in the early Church. In the Old Testament, this phrase was used to describe the King of Israel, but in the Gospels it highlights Jesus’ unique relationship with God and for the evangelists it is the preeminent title for Jesus. Mark … Continue reading The person of Jesus Christ- Assess the view that Jesus’ resurrection proves he was the Son of God. (40 marks)

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