Christian Ethics Free Course: Introduction
Introduction: Should the church take any interest in the great moral questions which confront society? Or should church leaders see their role merely as supplying a ‘religious’ dimension to life – conducting baptisms, weddings and funerals; providing church services and marking the passing of the seasons with appropriate festivals? ”Let the scientists, sociologists and politicians deal with the real world” some would say.
Or again, is the role of the church simply to preach the gospel in the power of the Spirit? If men and women repent and believe in sufficient numbers and with enough miracles taking place, then all society’s problems will be solved. Or will they? The O1d Testament prophets continually preached against religion which had no concern for the daily plight of men and women. Isaiah cries: "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” (Isa 58:6-7)
Jesus addressed all the great issues of His day in the course of His gospel ministry. Kingdom power would be revealed in Good Samaritans, in prison visitors, in those who gave to the poor, in new marriage ethics, political attitudes and protection of the weak.
All the New Testament letters reflect this concern that the good news should touch every aspect of life. Indeed, Paul sees a day coming when God will reconcile all things through His Son.
The Cross is the great road-junction of life, the meeting place of heaven and hell, life and death, justice and injustice, the rich and the poor, men and women, religion and politics.
Obey the signals and we drive up Reconciliation Road: disobey them and we crash.
Preaching the gospel of the kingdom involves bringing the government of God into every department of life. Concern for society, its values and practices, is a central part of the church’s mission. We are called to bring God’s reconciliation to God’s world and this course is about just that. In these 10 studies we will consider some of the main issues of our day, the biblical principles which apply to them and some of the practical things we can do about them.
Ethics is a vast field and this is only the merest introduction to it, but hopefully it will help us as Christians to understand and face up to the social, ethical, medical and cultural issues around us and thus will both stimulate our concern and set us thinking along the right lines.