Introduction to Christian Ethics, An, CourseSmart eTextbook, 5th Edition

By Roger H. Crook

Published by Pearson

Published Date: Nov 30, 2006

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An Introduction to Christian Ethics uses a Christian approach while encouraging students to develop a method of dealing with issues for themselves and to reach conclusions that have significance for their lives.


Roger Crook wrote this book based on his long experience teaching courses on Christian ethics to college students.  He has written a great deal of materials for college-aged young people and is able to effectively communicate with them.  The framework for his approach is the Apostle Paul's  summary statement, "For in Christ Jesus...the only thing that counts is faith working through love."  The elaboration of this theme involves an attempt to understand current issues and developments, an appropriate use of information drawn from a wide variety of sources, and an application of relevant biblical and theological concepts.


Table of Contents


Preface xi

Introduction: To the Student xiii


1 An Overview of Ethics ______________________________ 1

Definitions 3

Subject Matter 4

Assumptions 5

Cautions 7

2 Alternatives to Christian Ethics _____________________ 11

Religious Systems, 11

Judaism, 12

Islam, 14

Hinduism, 16

Buddhism, 18

Humanism, 19

Objectivism, 22

Behaviorism, 25

3 Alternatives within Christian Ethics _________________ 28

Obedience to External Authority, 28

In Roman Catholicism, 29

In Protestantism, 32

Responsibility for Personal Decisions, 35

What Am I to Do?, 36

What Am I to Be?, 38

Transforming Society, 40

Reinhold Neibuhr’s “Impossible Possibility”, 41

Paul Ramsey’s “Obedient Love”, 42

James Gustafson’s “Theocentric Ethics”, 43

Liberation Theology, 45


4 Sources of Guidance _______________________________ 53

The Bible, 55

The Christian Community, 57

The Nature of the Church, 57

The Function of the Church, 59

The Christian in the Church, 60

Personal Experience, 61

The Use of the Mind, 61

The Prompting of the Conscience, 62

The Leadership of the Spirit, 64

5 Biblical Ethics _____________________________________ 67

The Hebrew Scripture, 67

General Characteristics of Hebrew Morality, 68

The Law, The Prophets, and The Writings, 69

Jesus and the Gospels, 74

Jesus and Judaism, 74

Characteristics of Jesus’s Ethical Teachings, 77

Basic Concepts in Jesus’s Ethical Teachings, 78

The Example of Jesus, 85

The Ethical Teachings of Paul, 86

Theology and Ethics, 87

An Ethic of Responsible Freedom, 88

An Ethic of Love, 90

An Ethic of a New Life, 91

6 Faith Working Through Love ________________________ 94

Theological Premises, 94

Beliefs about God, 94

Beliefs about Humankind, 95

Beliefs about History, 96

Faith, 98

Faith and Salvation, 98

Life in the Christian Community, 100

The Instruction of Scripture, 102

Worship and Morality, 103

Love (Agape), 104

The Nature of Love, 105

The Source of Love, 106

The Demands of Love, 107

The Relationship between Love and Justice, 108

Decision, 111


7 Human Sexuality and the Marriage Relationship _____ 117

The Current Scene, 117

AChristian Interpretation of Sexuality, 120

ATheological Perspective, 120

Questions about the Relationship, 123

AChristian Interpretation of Marriage, 127

Homosexuality and the Christian Faith, 132

Contemporary Social Perspectives, 132

ABiblical Perspective, 134

Varying Christian Interpretations, 135

Homosexuality and the Christian Way of Life, 137

Living-Together Arrangements, 140

8 Life and Death: Issues in Biomedical Ethics _________ 146

Abortion, 146

Biomedical Parenting, 152

Responsible Parenting, 156

Cloning, 158

Embryonic Stem Cell Research, 162

Organ Transplants, 166

The Care of the Dying, 169

9 Christian Ethics and Ethnicity______________________ 179

Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Discrimination, 180

Changes in the Social Structure, 182

AChristian Approach, 188

Biblical Concepts, 188

Power for Social Change, 191

AStrategy for Christian Involvement, 194

10 The Status of Women______________________________ 198

Images of Women, 198

Women and the Law, 201

Women and Employment, 203

The Feminist Movement, 205

Women and the Scripture, 208

AChristian Approach to Current Issues, 213

11 Citizenship in a Democracy ________________________ 217

American Democratic Government, 217

Biblical Teachings, 222

The Hebrew Scripture, 222

The Christian Scripture, 223

The Christian as Citizen, 227

The Obligations of Citizenship, 228

The Contribution of Christians, 229

Suggestions for Involvement, 231

12 Punishment for Crime _____________________________ 235

The Concept of Punishment, 235

The Rights of Victims, 239

Capital Punishment, 241

13 War and the Quest for Peace ______________________ 248

The Bible and War, 248

Christianity and Traditional Warfare, 251

Christianity and Modern Warfare, 252

Christianity and Terrorism, 255

Christianity and Preemptive Warfare, 258

The Quest for Peace, 260

14 Work, Property, and Community _____________________267

The Context: Capitalism, 269

AChristian Perspective on Property, 271

AChristian Perspective on Work, 273

Personal Issues in an Impersonal

Economic Order, 274

Social Issues in an Impersonal Economic Order, 276

Ideals and Economics, 284

15 Ecology and Moral Responsibility____________________288

The Ecological Problem, 290

Biblical Concepts, 293

Theological Reflection, 295

Suggestions for Involvement, 299

Glossary 305

Bibliography 309


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Introduction to Christian Ethics, An, CourseSmart eTextbook, 5th Edition
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