Christian Ethics IN A POSTMODERN WORLD
Ethics = ethos = “stall” What is normative, absolute What people ought to do It is a place of stability and permanence It refers to a set of standards
Morality = mores =shifting behavioral patterns What people do The morals of one generation and one geographical location will differ from one another. When ethics and morals is confused, the culture makes the norms. The prevailing values and norms of a local area determine such things as laws governing pornography. The norm of human behavior can be determined by statistical studies;polls;votes The behavior that is widely practiced can become a society’s ethical standard. Ethics become relativistic, a floating set of patterns.
Why Study Ethics? • Our culture has no absolute framework • Many issues present a “slippery slope” • To understand its integrated nature • To learn to defend biblical positions
Technology vs Morality • Good News…..Bad News Jet • Flying at 700mph but lost • Developments in Medical Technology outstrips our ability to understand long-range ethical ramifications
Biblical Authority • The Bible is a set of absolutes that reflects God’s character and defines human duty. • Geoffrey Bromley- “The commands of God have to be worked out in the stuff of daily life…Some guidance must be offered…” • “The canon of Scriptures are the highest court of authority for doctrine and morals.”-John J. Davis • Gordon-Cnwell Theo. Seminary • Christian Ethics is “the sense of discerning the will of God in concrete situations, and the specific duties that follow from it.
Biblical Ethics • Westminster Confession-“The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from scripture.” • “The general priniciples of Scripture are to be extended to circumstances not explicitly addressed in the canonical texts.”John J. Davis
Listening Notes: BIBLICAL ETHICS • A postmodern world does not recognize the ___________ of sc_____________. • Ethics refers to a “_________” for horses and is a place of s______ and per____________. • Morals or mores are shifting b_________ patterns. • Why do we need to study ethics as Christians? • Western culture has no _______ framework • Many issues present a “slippery _______” • To understand its integrated nature • To learn to defend B_________ P_________
Session Two-Biblical Ethics • The premise of this book is that ethics must be rooted in ethical absolutes. • God may be approached and His revelation of His character understood. • But we must examine the present culture’s basis for morality and why it is inadequate.
Ethical Options • Cultural Relativism • Situation Ethics • Behaviorism • Ethical Absolutes
CULTURAL RELATIVISM-First Ethical Option • This group argues that whatever a cultural group approves of becomes right; and whatever the group disapproves of is wrong. • Every culture develops its own moral standards. • Various historical and cultural events such as the Holocaust, Stalinism, communist, atrocities, slavery, Islamic terrorism, Nazism, etc., present difficult problems for the cultural relativist. • What may be called “good” in one society may be called “evil” in another.
Cultural Relativism • No universal moral standards • Right and wrong is relative • No objective moral standards
Cultural Relativism • Cultural relativism can lead to individual relativism • What is true for one is not necessarily true for another • Judges 17:6“Every man did what was right in his own eyes.” • This attitude leads to anarchy. • The fallacy of absolutizing culture is exposed the moment sin enters in the discussion
Situation Ethics-Second Ethical Option “Love” is the only universal absolute Any action that produces more and less pain, the greatest good for the greatest number is the loving thing to do. Example: In some cases according to Joseph Fletcher adultery and lying is justified. If a man is married to an invalid. Biblically indefensible.
Situation Ethics Case: Rahab lying to her own countrymen as to the spies. Did her higher duty to protect the spies supercede her prima facie(on first appearance) duty to tell the truth. Case: If a woman is kidnapped and her husband held hostage and she is ask to commit adultery with enemy soldiers or her husband will be killed. What is right for her to do?
Situation Ethics • Situational ethics can lead to a trivialization of serious moral principles. • There is no definite criterion for what constitutes a “loving” action. • The moral agent for situational ethics is left up to one’s own personal preference. • Who decides what is loving?
Behaviorism-A Third Ethical Option • Human behavior is a result of Genetics and the Environment • Humans are products of forces beyond their control • B.F. Skinner- “ethics are entirely based on responses to the conditioning factors of the envirnment.
Behaviorism • The result of this belief is that people are not responsible for their behavior. • This belief utilizes the manipulative conditioning techniques to maintain their control over people for right behavior. • The Bible says each human being is responsible for his own behavior. Rom.1-3 • No one is going to stand before God and blame their envirnment.
Ethical Absolutes-The Word of GodFourth Ethical Option (Christian) • God’s Word is an expression of His nature • God is concerned with internal attitudes as well as outward behavior- Mt.5:27-28 • God provides the absolute criteria for determining the value of human beings.
Chap.3- “How should a Christian Relate to Culture” Introduction 1.The Bible warns about friendship with world-James 4:4 2. The Israelites were constantly warned about gods of other countries. 3.At conversion we are set apart. Gal.6:14 4.We are to be in the world, not of it. a. James 1:27 b. I Cor.7:31 c.Rom.12:2
The Christian & Culture • The Separational Model • The Identificational Model • The Transformational Model • The Incarnational Model
The Separational Model • Argues Christians must withdraw from world • Antithesis between Kingdom of God and Kingdom of this world • Examples of Separational Model: Noah, Abram, Moses • Historical Example: Anabaptists, Mennonites, Amish • Modern Historical Example: Jesus People
The Separational Model-The Dangers • Produces Asceticism • Produces a Sacred/Secular Society • See the danger of seducing spirits that may seem to be “spiritual” I Tim. 4:3-4 • Separational philosophy is to be practiced as a correction for a brother, not the world. I Cor. 5:9-11
The Separation Model Withdrawal from the world
The Separational Model • Can lead to asceticism • Can produce a false sacred/secular dichotomy
The Identificational Model Accommodation of the world
The Identificational Model • Lives both in the kingdom and the world • Can lead to complacency • Can lead to uncritical acceptance of prevailing cultural practices/attitudes • Can lead to loss of Church’s propheticstance
The Identificational Model • Examples: Joseph in Egypt • Daniel in Babylonian Empire • Historical Example: Constantine’s Era-It was the “in” thing to be a Christian • Result: Complacency
The Transformational Model Culture transformed by Christ
The Transformational Model • Emphasis on remaking of Creation from sin’s curse • Neglect of sin’s devastation • Can promote an unbiblical optimism
The Transformational Model • Example: John Calvin in Geneva • Example: The Puritans • There is much to affirm of this model. It recognizes the power of the gospel to change lives and thus change culture. • The shortcoming is that this model promotes an unbiblical optimism, a near uptopianism.
The Incarnational Model In the world but not of the world
The Incarnational Model • Robert Webber in THE SECULAR SAINT- proposes a synthesis of all three • Separated from the evils of culture • Identified with the people and culture of the world • Seeking to transform culture from the inside out
The Incarnational Model • This is the Jesus Model • Jesus was in and amongst the world, but never of the world • Jesus never sought a political or religious position or solution. • Jesus sought to solve the problem of the world by dealing with sin within. • Jesus wanted to transform world from the inside then out.
How does one live the Incarnational Model? • He lives in a tension. He identifies good structures and seeks to transform bad structures • Believer should know God’s Word and the mind of Christ then chose the course that best represents God’s Will. • Our tolerance must be based on God’s word and principles in God’s word.
Some Principles to Consider • The Principle of Expediency (helpful;good for the situation or profitable) I Cor.6:12 • The Principle of Enslavement-I Cor.6:12 • The Principle of Example- I Cor. 8:9 • The Principle of Edification- I Cor.10:23 • The Principle of Exaltation- I Cor.10:31 • The Principle of Evangelism- I Cor.10:22-23
Lesson 4- ABORTION • Review of Chapter 3- How should a Christian relate to culture? • The Separational Model • The Identificational Model • The Transformational Model • The Incarnational Model
The Abortion Crisis in America • Some call it a Modern Holocaust! An Exaggeration? Example: Bonnie • Alan Guttmacher Institute-Some 1.3 million abortions occur each year in US. • Only 2% say they are seeking an abortion because of rape, incest or anticipated birth defects. • ¾ of the women interviewed say the abortion would interfer with their work, school or other responsibilities; 2/3 say they cannot afford another child. • There about 247,000 teenage abortions yearly and 150,000 abortions are in the second trimester of pregnancy.
History of Abortion • Abortion was common in Ancient world. • Abortion was common in China(2727-2696 BC) • In his REPUBLIC Plato wrote that “ill concieved embryros should not be brought to birth.” • The Hippocrates oath forbid abortions. • The Code of Hammurabi had prohibitions against abortions. • Tertullian in 2nd Century said “it is not lawful to destroy what is in the womb.” • Augustine condemned abortion in no uncertain terms • In 1803 a part of the British law said abortion was illegal
The History of Abortion In U.S. • On January 22, 1973 the Supreme Court handed down a ruling in the ROE vs Wade case that gave the United States abortion on demand. (Jane Roe is now a Christian and protests against abortion) • There was nothing in the Constitution that established the right of abortion, so the court set a precedent that did not deal with the Constitution instead declared that there is a right of privacy of women to have an abortion.
History of Abortion In U.S.- Other Cases • July 1, 1976 - Planned Parenthood vsDanforth -Parents or the father are not allowed to veto an abortion. • June 30, 1980- Harris vs McRae- States may cut off funds for “medically necessary” abortions. • June 15, 1983 – The court struck down an array of local ordinances designed to place restrictions on abortions. • 1992- the Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood vs.Casey upheld a PA. That required informed consent, a 24 hr waiting period and parental consent for minors.
Abortion Roe v. Wade, 1973, U.S. Supreme Court • Implied right of privacy • Point of viability of the fetus • Health of the mother • When does life begin?
Four Types of Abortion- U.S. • Therapeutic Abortion -For sake of Mother’s health • Psychiatric Abortion -For sake of Mother’s mental health • Social Abortion - For economic reasons • Ethical Abortion - In case of rape, incest.
Methods of Abortion • Dilation and cutterage -The developing child is cut to pieces with a sharp curette • Suction method -Skull and bones crushed by physician before removing them by suction. • Saline method – Surgeon injects a salt solution and then removes baby in 24 hrs. • Chemical method - (RU486)-Causes the women to abort a recent fertilized egg. • Partial birth abortion – The physician partially delivers a living fetus before killing the fetus and completing the delivery
Serious Abortion Complications • Some Clinics concerned more about money than health of Mother. Chicago Sun-Times reporters • Some women were not pregnant • Record Keeping was shoddy. • The greatest complication in clinics-a live baby • Example: Dr. Waddill in Ca.- Was seen choking a 2.5 lb baby after it was born alive.
Why is Abortion Wrong? • Unborn life is of great value to God Exodus 21:22-24 • Messiah was called by God from the womb Isaiah 49:1,5 • Jeremiah was called from the womb Jeremiah 1:5 • John the Baptist was called from the womb Luke 1:15 • Life begins at conception Psalm 139
Ethical Questions Relating to Abortion • Is the fetus a human being? • Is the fetus a person? • How do the rights of the fetus relate to the rights of the mother?
Chapter 5Euthanasia From two Greek words meaning “good death”
Euthanasia a.k.a. “mercy killing” which is taking a person’s life or allowing a person to end his/her own life to end pain/suffering from a disease or other physical condition.