Session 2: Hot Button Issues ()Dennis R. Wiles, August 11, 2014
Part of the Summer Bible Study 2014 series, preached at a Evening Service service
Dennis R. Wiles
So, What Are We Supposed to Do?
Christian Living in a Post-Christian Context
SUMMER BIBLE STUDY
August 10-13, 2014
SESSION 2: HOT BUTTON ISSUES
Abortion, Euthanasia, Human Sexuality, War, Poverty, Wealth, Health Care, Politics, Marriage, Divorce, Gender Issues, Materialism, Homosexuality, Civil Disobedience, Capital Punishment, Economics, Medical Ethics . . .
SUNDAY: CHRISTIAN ETHICS 101
MONDAY: STATE ISSUES
TUESDAY: BIOMEDICAL ISSUES
WEDNESDAY: FAMILY AND HUMAN SEXUALITY ISSUES
Christian Ethics – the study of what is right or wrong for Christians
Conservative Evangelical Christian Ethics
-Revelation is the guide for determining right and wrong
-Grows out of the Person of God
-Absolute truth exists
-Deals with what “ought” to be done – is prescriptive in nature
-Is both Deontological (duty driven) and Teleological (eschatological)
-Utilitarianism – what works is the highest good
-Situationism – love is the highest good
-Absolutism – moral absolutes exist and must be recognized
Constructing a Christian Ethic
-Authority of God’s revelation
-Community of Faith
-Witness of the Holy Spirit
-Integration of sound theology
-Wisdom and mature judgment
-Integration of applied study and reflection
Value of Government/Governing Authorities
1. Civil authority has been established by God – Romans 13:1-2
2. Civil authority orders society – Romans 13:3-5
3. Civil authority is to be generally recognized by Christians – Romans 13:6-7
4. Jesus recognized the role of the State – Matthew 22:15-22
5. No one form of government is set forth in Scripture as ideal.
Institutional Relationship between Church and State
1. IDENTIFICATION – Official State Church
2. DOMINIATION – Two Swords view of Roman Catholicism
3. SEPARATION – Built upon the principles of soul competency and religious liberty
A democratic, free society poses potential problems for followers of Jesus. The will of the majority may conflict with Christian principles and values. Social norms may develop that are antithetical to a Biblical worldview.
Further, the complexity of vast, human societies and pluralistic realities present Christians with an array of options on various issues. War, poverty, economic policies, civil disobedience, education, capital punishment, prison reform, protection of minorities – are just a few of the complicated issues that require mature ethical perspectives that result in sound decision-making.
Considerations for Conservative Evangelical Christians
1. Governments can be instruments of both good and/or evil.
2. Political involvement is always an option – but is never the ultimate answer to humanity’s deepest needs.
3. Civil Disobedience is sometimes necessary – Acts 4:18-20.
4. Support for and involvement in war requires the war to be just and defensible. Complete passivism has more historical support than complete activism.
5. The dignity of human life is rooted in the conviction that all human beings are created in the Image of God – Genesis 1:26.
6. Public policies that are oppressive in nature and violate basic human rights must be analyzed, addressed and altered.
Proposed Ethical Posture for Conservative Evangelical Christians
2. Thoroughly Biblical
6. Compassionate and Passionate
9. Redemptive and Restorative