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RS Ethics Christian Moral Action

In English

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harry challinor

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Theonomous Christian Ethics

The belief that ethics are governed by God’s laws or commands.

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35 questions
Theonomous Christian Ethics
The belief that ethics are governed by God’s laws or commands.
How does Saint Paul regard scripture?
“All scripture is inspired by God'
The belief that the Bible is the revealed word of God and that the writers of the Bible were directly inspired by God.
What does biblicism lead to
From this point of view, the Bible is infallible and if there are problems with understanding a Biblical text, the problem lies with us and not the text.
Judaism and God
In the Bible, God revealed Himself to Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses. He initiated a special relationship between Himself and the descendants of these tribal leaders. This concept is referred to as a Covenant.
In the Bible are God’s special promises. An agreement was made with humans which requires special behaviour from those people who accept God’s promises. Imagine God as a King who offers protection and a special relationship in return for loyalty and certain behaviours.
The Sermon on the Mount
Many Christians see Jesus’ teachings as re-interpreting the ancient ethical laws. He translates them into an ‘inner law of love’.
(Matthew 5: 48)
“Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Heteronomus Christian Ethics
Ethics are governed by several sources of authority or law.
The sources of authority for Roman Catholics include:
Natural Law The Magisterium (including the Bible) Liberation Theology
The Magisterium
The official teaching authority of the Church, invested in the Pope and his Bishops.
EXAMPLE OF THE Magisterium
Encyclicals: Pope writes letters which contain teachings about ethical issues. An example is Humanae Vitae (1968) which teaches that contraception is wrong
Liberation Theology
Is concerned with the economic, social, and political conditions which exploit marginalised people. An ethics “from below” which is suspicious of top-down models of theology. It has been strongly criticised by the Church’s Magisterium.
What are the sources of authority for Protestants?
Bible Reason Conscience Church Tradition
Autonomous Christian Ethics
Ethics are self-governed.
Bonhoeffer’s challenge to the church
‘it’s not “how can I be good?” it is “how can I do good”’
Bonhoeffer asked ‘What Is the Will of God?’, his answer
‘…this will of god can only be clear the moment of action’ (‘No Rusty Swords’, 1965)
What types of thought does Bonhoeffer challenge
Challenges Autonomous way of thought; he should not listen to the individual, but theonomous (God’s authority), or heteronomous (the church’s authority)
St. Paul against bonhoffer
‘let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is not authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted from God’
Jesus against Bonhoeffer
‘give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s’
Christianity requires us to DO, rather than to BE.
It’s not enough to “be a Christian”. You have to act – to do something
Bonhofer on cheap grace
“Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance”
What examples of “cheap grace” might Bonhoeffer have witnessed in Nazi Germany?
The Church in Germany was failing to challenge Nazi behaviour. The Church administered baptism but did not require a significant change in behaviour. The Mass was celebrated despite the considerable hypocrisy evident in Nazi society.
Why did Bonhoeffer reject cheap grace
Cheap grace is to be rejected because it is empty and does not require a person to change.
Why did Bonhoeffer accept costly grace
Costly grace is the mark of true Christian discipleship because it expects a person to sacrifice themselves (as Christ did on the Cross).
Bonhoeffer: the world and god
Christianity is grounded in the everyday world. It is not an otherworldly institution. The Incarnation affirms this because God entered the everyday world in the flesh.
Bonhoeffer argued that Christianity was grounded in action.
He was influenced by John Calvin and Karl Barth who believed that the meaning of Christianity is in action.
Bonhoffer: ethics decisions always involve...
Conflict arises from knowing good and evil. Action arises from the need to distinguish between them.
Bonhoffer: Ethics is action. Action is liberating – it sets us free
Action is prompted by conscience. Conscience is the experience of disunity with oneself, with other people, and with God. Conscience is therefore the moment of self-knowledge.
Bonhoffer: Love overcomes disunity.
Agape is not a human attitude. Agape is revealed in God’s love for humanity. God’s love for humanity is expressed in Jesus Christ.
Bonhoffer: love overcomes disunity quote
“Only in Jesus Christ do we know what love is, namely, in His deed for us.” (Ethics)
Bonhoffer: Sacrifice and Suffering
Bonhoeffer adopts a “theology of crisis”. The paradox is that the world is in a crisis that God judges BUT that God sends his Son to redeem that world from the crisis. Bonhoeffer saw that this “costly grace” would probably lead to his death. He did not, however, seek martyrdom or suffering. He affirmed the Christian life and continued to stand against the evil around him. Bonhoeffer focused on his ACTION in resistance to Nazi wickedness.
Bonhoffer: solidarity
Bonhoeffer wrote, “The Church and the Jewish Question” in 1933. He publicly rejected the claim that punishment of the Jews was God’s work for their rejection of Christ. He called Kristelnacht (1938), “godless violence.” Christian life is to be there for other people.