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Ethics Articles

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    Hace un par de semanas estuve en Guatemala para iniciar un curso semestral en un programa doctoral en educación teológica. Este programa es singular en Latinoamérica y enseñar en él me da la oportunidad de convivir con líderes de diferentes países y también aprender de ellos. A pesar de que este doctorado se enfoca principalmente en la educación teológica formal a través de universidades y seminarios, la realidad es que todo nuestro entorno debería tener un enfoque teológico porque Dios es el creador del universo y el centro fundamental de toda la existencia. Por esto el conocimiento de Dios o educación teológica nos debería ayudar a “pensar teológicamente” sobre todas las áreas de la vida ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Columnist Joel Stein in the December 21 issue of TIME (p. 174) labeled 2015 as “The Year the Adults Gave Up" ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    I have no intention of answering this specific question. (Do you think I’m crazy?!) But since this is a truly difficult question for many Christian parents, let me offer a suggestion about gift spending that might help you in the future. I know that you’re probably reading this post too late in the season to make any changes for this upcoming Christmas, but now may be the ideal time to formulate plans for the future ...

  • Scott Rae — 

    This week in Washington, DC, the National Academy of Sciences is hosting a three-day conference- the International Summit on Human Gene Editing, to examine the implications of new gene editing technology. Through a new technology developed in the past year, gene editing is now being done.

  • Tom Finley — 

    Amos has much to say about oppression and the plight of the poor in Israel, so it is only natural that his book has become a focal point for discussions about social justice.[1] At least three aspects of the issue dealt with by Amos concern the nature of God, the role of the individual, and the role of the social system ...

  • R. Douglas Geivett — 

    Arnold Lunn was born to a Methodist minister, but he was himself agnostic and a critic of Christianity—until he was 45 years old, when he converted to the faith. Lunn died on June 2, 1974. Lunn was a professional skier and full-time enthusiast. He founded the Alpine Ski Club and the Kandahar Ski Club. He brought slalom skiing to the racing world, and he’s the namesake for a double black diamond ski trail at Taos Ski Valley. Lunn credited his agnosticism to the wholly unconvincing cause of Anglicanism. He looked in vain for persuasive arguments for the existence of God and the truth of Christianity. Later he would say that “an odd hour or two at the end of a boy’s school life might not be unprofitably spend in armouring him against the half-baked dupes of ill informed secularists” (The Third Day, xvii). He wrote in criticism of the faith and debated Christianity’s prominent defenders ...

  • R. Douglas Geivett — 

    Here are some words of exhortation that have special application to the events and conditions of our present tumultuous age: ... But whence, in this eventful day, can we draw the principles of caution, prudence and wisdom, if not from the Gospel of Jesus Christ? And can we with diligence seek these principles, and with confidence exercise them, unless we have firm faith in the truth of our Holy Religion?

  • Thaddeus Williams — 

    To see and experience something of Jesus’ emotions, let us join eighty to a hundred thousand religious pilgrims on their trek to the sacred city to worship at the Jewish Temple. It is Passover week. In order to participate in the traditional Temple offerings, people need doves or pigeons. Since worshippers need these birds, they were sold at the Temple at a premium price. You could get a more economical bird outside the Temple courts or lug one from home through the hot desert. However, every bird used in Temple rituals had to pass the rigid purity standards of the Temple’s in-house animal inspectors. Only inflated Temple-sold birds had the guaranteed certification of the scrupulous inspectors. In this way, the house of prayer had become a classic case of what economists call a “captive market.

  • Joy Mosbarger — 

    ... At one time or another, most of us have encountered situations at work that, for one reason or another, are troublesome and don’t seem to have a clear resolution. Discerning the right thing to do seems complicated, with each possibility appearing to have an equal number of strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes the issue at stake is more on the level of personal business ethics, as is the case in the story above. Sometimes the issue is one that is on a broader level and affects the business as a whole. For example, what does a business do when there is a tension between paying a higher wage or providing better benefits, and charging prices that will allow the business to remain competitive? Where is the line between marketing that allows the consumer to make a more informed decision and marketing that manipulates consumers into buying products they don’t want or need? ...

  • Scott Rae — 

    We are moving in our culture toward a view of morality that renders moral values and virtues as no more than simply matters of opinion with no force or application beyond the individual who holds such a view. The contrasts sharply with the notion of morality from a Christian worldview that insists that moral assessments are not only objective but also matters of truth and knowledge. As we celebrated MLK day a couple weeks ago, we should be reminded that King himself held that the moral values on which the civil rights movement was based, were objective and knowable by the average person in the streets. He held that they were objective truths of morality, not subjective matters of individual preference ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Newsweek decided to begin the New Year by attacking people who hold a high view of Scripture. (“The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin,” by Kurt Eichenwald, January 2-9 issue.) Their lead article on the Bible contains so many untrue or partially true assertions that it seemed to me that some sort of concise and readable response needed to be offered. But it would, literally, require a book-length critique to adequately address all the mischaracterizations, factual mistakes, and suggestive statements propounded in this single article. So I have decided to simply read through the article, select an occasional assertion from the article that needs a response, and try to offer a straightforward and hopefully fair response. None of these responses should be taken by a reader as sarcastic; my goal has been to offer sober-minded responses to particular assertions in an article that is full of inaccuracies.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    A few evenings ago, we hosted a delightful group of ten Biola students at our house for dinner. During dessert, we launched into a lively discussion about how we should celebrate Christmas as Christians. We discussed various sub-topics under this broader question, but we spent the largest portion of our time talking about how Christians should—and should not—talk to their children about Santa Claus.

  • Andy Draycott — 

    Readers of this blog may be interested in the short article I have written over at Reformation 21. The gist of my claim is that the person of Jesus Christ shapes our primary ethical response to torture and our attitude to its perpetration by our authorities. Person, that is, over procedure, particularly over fear based consequentialist reasoning that might allow in extremis the ends of security to justify the means of torture. I very minimally offer that the health of our moral imaginations as Christian citizens is attested to in our habits of corporate prayer.

  • Mitch Glaser — 

    Perhaps the real question our friends are asking is this: “What impact does our faith as Messianic Jews have on our support of Israel?” This is a fair question, and it is a reasonable assumption that most Jews who believe in Jesus support the Jewish state.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    One of the qualifications for an overseer/elder/pastor (all the same office in the Bible) is that he be “free from the love of money” (1 Tim. 3:3). Now suppose that you are on an elder board and seeking to know whether a new candidate for the office is in fact free from the love of money, how can you figure it out? Here are five useful diagnostic questions.

  • Scott Rae — 

    Dr. Scott Rae tackles the question, "What is the appropriate role for business to play in society?"

  • Scott Rae — 

    Though the New Testament is not a textbook on economics, it was immersed in a particular economic environment and much of the New Testament teaching had implications for economic life. In the New Testament, Jesus takes up right where the Old Testament prophets left off. Care for the poor was just as important to Jesus as it was to the prophets. When the followers of John the Baptist (who was in prison at the time) asked Jesus if He was indeed the Messiah who was to come, He answered in terms that could have been taken right out of the prophets. He put it like this, “Go back to John (the Baptist) and tell him what you have seen and heard—the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are being raised to life and the good news is being preached to the poor” (Matt. 11:4-5). The evidence that Jesus was who He claimed to be was not only that He did miracles, but who were the beneficiaries of those miracles were: the poor, marginalized and vulnerable. Similarly, when He spoke of final judgment and what would separate His true followers from the pretenders, He made it clear that how someone treats the poor is a critical indication of a person’s spiritual maturity. This is likely what Jesus meant when He said that, “I tell you the truth, when you did it to the least of these my brothers, you were doing it to me” (referring to feeding the hungry and taking in the needy, Matt. 25:40).

  • Moyer Hubbard — 

    This is the second post in a series of blogs dealing with gun control from a Christian perspective. In the first installment (“Seek the Welfare of the City”), I sketched the general theological case for sane restriction on guns, particularly assault weapons, and applied biblical principles to common objections. Now I will begin looking at biblical texts used by Christian gun advocates to support their view that Scripture supports unrestricted access to lethal weaponry for private individuals. In this installment I examine Luke 22:36, where Jesus tells his disciples, “And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.”

  • Scott Rae — 

    From the beginning, we learn that God created the world and called it good, making the material world fundamentally good (Gen. 1:31). He further entrusted human beings with dominion over the earth—giving them both the privilege of enjoying the benefits of the material world, but also the responsibility for caring for the world. We also learn that, from the beginning, God has implanted His wisdom into the world and given human beings the necessary tools to uncover His wisdom and apply it for their benefit (Proverbs 8:22-31). God set human beings free to utilize their God-given intelligence, initiative and creativity in discerning and applying what the wisdom He embedded into the world—this is all a part of the responsible exercise of dominion over creation that brings innovation and productivity to benefit humankind.

  • The Good Book Blog — 

    Scott Rae, professor of Philosophy of Religion and Ethics at Talbot, just released the new book, Doing the Right Thing: Making Moral Choices in a World Full of Options. He kindly took some time to answer a few questions about the book.

  • Moyer Hubbard — 

    This is the first of a series of blogs dealing with gun control from a Christian perspective. In this first installment, I sketch the general theological case for sane restriction on guns, particularly assault weapons, and apply biblical principles to common objections. In subsequent (shorter) posts, I will respond to alleged “biblical” arguments used by gun advocates, who claim that Scripture supports unrestricted access to lethal weaponry for private individuals. [I have slighly modified this post in the wake of the horrible tragedy at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.]

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    Literally. This morning I was jogging on the beach and came across four people: (1) a minister, (2) photographer, (3) a young man in a tux, and (4) a young lady in a wedding dress. I think the ceremony had just ended, because they were signing the marriage license as I ran by. What was sad was that there was not another person in sight.

  • John McKinley — 

    “Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body” (1 Cor 6:18 NASB). Why is sexual sin singled out as uniquely damaging to the body in a way that other physical actions are not? Substance abuse, gluttony, cutting—these are all harmful acts to the body, but they do not do what sexual misconduct does, according to Paul. Typical responses from students to explain this exception are that sex involves the whole person, or maybe because it involves someone else. The same could be said for illegal drug use, so there must be something more.

  • John McKinley — 

    In response to the ongoing revelations of widespread cheating in professional sports, my earlier blog explored the idea of cheating as compared to New Testament ethics. So much for why athletes should not cheat, and what they should pursue instead. The doping problems in sport raise another question: what is someone responsible to do when she becomes aware of others' cheating? This question extends beyond sport to daily life evils that are preventable if someone in our lives would just speak up once in a while.

  • John McKinley — 

    Slowly, more top professional cyclists that were rivals of Lance Armstrong are mumbling confessions of the same carefully-worded sort that Lance released last January. Some have been coerced by teams or government inquiries (as with the handful of Americans who testified to their own doping as part of implicating Lance Armstrong). The latest is Jan Ullrich, the German cyclist who placed second to Lance three times in the Tour de France. Like many others, Ullrich used the same worn out excuse that “everybody was doing it,” and that his joining the “medical program” was just a way to play on a level field. What are we to think of these things?