Thursday, July 15, 2010
The Scriptures & Sociology - Christianity Ethics
I started a new class last week called Christian Ethics that looks to be promising when it comes to learning how others think in a postmodern world concerning society and the humanity, and what are solutions to issues and problems on the earth. No, this class is not necessarily about politics, but about how to either "escape" or "engage" (John Stott, Issues Facing Christians Today) in the battles against evil in the present world for the cause of Christ and through the character and attributes of God grace and mercy, love and justice. Below is a short response I answered for my class regarding how Christian Ethics is different from Social Ethics that are among humanists, atheists, and other religious activists.
What is the relationship between the Bible and Christian Ethics? How does it inform the Christian on "modern day" issues?
What is the relationship between the Bible and ethics?
1. The relationship between the Bible and Christian ethics is not contrary. Even though some disagree, Christian ethics are ideally biblical morals defined in Scripture. They are the authoritative and ethical instructions found in the Word of God concerning the welfare for humanity. The Bible contains the inspired Scriptures revealing God's truth to us in order to live in communion with Him in heaven, and community among others on earth. The Bible teaches us the ethics God wants humanity to have in response to a sinful and fallen world.
The Gospel, however, is the key agent of relationship that binds the Scriptures and Sociology. The Word of God does not just speak about spiritual matters (even though it does primarily), but suggests social matters as well. Jesus had compassion on the disenfranchised, outcasts, unclean, and poor to demonstrate the social principle of the Gospel was for all humanity (especially the unrighteous, Mk 2:17) not just the righteous - "For God so loved the world...whoever believes in him will not perish (Jn 3:16), make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19), the gospel is the power of God unto salvation for the Jew and the Greek" (Rom. 1:16).
How does it inform Christians on "modern day issues?"
2. The Gospel message is about salvation communicated through the love of God and redemptive work of Christ for our sins. Understanding this message formulates a proper worldview of how to know what the right position or interpretation should be on social issues. Having a proper understanding of consistent Old Testament and New Testament principles pertaining to life in general is the way people should form biblical ethics.
Developing an answer and understanding based on Scripture (with both service and action elements for change) builds a foundation to stand upon when addressing social issues. This is how the Christian can know how to address modern issues. Engaging in social issues is a responsibility of every Christians to different degrees. However, when God's truth is under attack, Christians must take their convictions seriously and teach their biblical ethics for the glory of God and the proclamation of his Word. Christians must stand up for Biblical ethics in an unmoral world. Christians do much more good for the world when they proclaim the truth about social issues and what God's Word says about it. Christians do more harm when they do not stand up for God's truth and allow ungodly and improper civility progress in the world. When Christians stand up for God's truth with answers for social issues, they spread the message of Christianity that always points directly to the cross of Christ. Therefore, Biblical ethics is Christian ethics. They are fundamentally important for Christians to encompass and promote for the furtherance of good on earth.