4. Ethics = ethos = “stall”
A. What is normative, absolute
B. What people ought to do
C. It is a place of stability and
D. It refers to a set of standards
5. Morality = mores =
shifting behavioral patterns
A. What people do
B. The morals of one generation and one geographical
location will differ from one another.
C. When ethics and morals is confused, the
culture makes the norms.
D. The prevailing values and norms of a local area
determine such things as laws governing
E. The norm of human behavior can be
determined by statistical studies;polls;votes
F. The behavior that is widely practiced can
become a society’s ethical standard. Ethics
become relativistic, a floating set of patterns.
6. Why Study Ethics?
1. Our culture has no absolute framework
2. Many issues present a “slippery slope”
3. To understand its integrated nature
4. To learn to defend biblical positions
7. Biblical Authority
• The Bible is a set of absolutes that reflects
God’s character and defines human duty.
• Geoffrey Bromley- “The commands of God
have to be worked out in the stuff of daily
life…Some guidance must be offered…”
• “The canon of Scriptures are the highest court
of authority for doctrine and morals.”-John J.
• Gordon-Cnwell Theo. Seminary
• Christian Ethics is “the sense of discerning the
will of God in concrete situations, and the
specific duties that follow from it.
8. • The premise of this book is that ethics must
be rooted in ethical absolutes.
• God may be approached and His revelation
of His character understood.
• But we must examine the present culture’s
basis for morality and why it is inadequate.
10. CULTURAL RELATIVISM-
First Ethical Option
• This group argues that whatever a cultural group
approves of becomes right; and whatever the group
disapproves of is wrong.
• Every culture develops its own moral standards.
• Various historical and cultural events such as the
Holocaust, Stalinism, communist, atrocities, slavery,
Islamic terrorism, Nazism, etc., present difficult
problems for the cultural relativist.
• What may be called “good” in one society may be
called “evil” in another.
12. Cultural Relativism
• Cultural relativism can lead to individual
• What is true for one is not necessarily true
• Judges 17:6 “Every man did what was right
in his own eyes.”
• This attitude leads to anarchy.
• The fallacy of absolutizing culture is
exposed the moment sin enters in the
13. Situation Ethics-Second Ethical Option
“Love” is the
only universal absolute
Any action that produces more and less pain,
the greatest good for the greatest number
is the loving thing to do.
Example: In some cases according to Joseph
Fletcher adultery and lying is justified.
14. Situation Ethics
Case: Rahab lying to her own countrymen as to
the spies. Did her higher duty to protect the
spies supercede her prima facie(on first
appearance) duty to tell the truth.
Case: If a woman is kidnapped and her husband
held hostage and she is ask to commit adultery
with enemy soldiers or her husband will be
killed. What is right for her to do?
15. Situation Ethics
• Situational ethics can lead to a trivialization
of serious moral principles.
• There is no definite criterion for what
constitutes a “loving” action.
• The moral agent for situational ethics is left
up to one’s own personal preference.
• Who decides what is loving?
16. Behaviorism-A Third Ethical Option
o Human behavior is a result of
Genetics and the Environment
oHumans are products of forces
beyond their control
oB.F. Skinner- “ethics are entirely
based on responses to the
conditioning factors of the
• The result of this belief is that people are not
responsible for their behavior.
• This belief utilizes the manipulative conditioning
techniques to maintain their control over people
for right behavior.
• The Bible says each human being is responsible
for his own behavior. Rom.1-3
• No one is going to stand before God and blame
18. Ethical Absolutes-The Word of God
Fourth Ethical Option (Christian)
• God’s Word is an expression of His
• God is concerned with internal attitudes
as well as outward behavior- Mt.5:27-28
• God provides the absolute criteria for
determining the value of human beings.
19. Chap.3- “How should a Christian
Relate to Culture”
1.The Bible warns about friendship with
2. The Israelites were constantly warned
about gods of other countries.
3.At conversion we are set apart. Gal.6:14
4.We are to be in the world, not of it.
a. James 1:27 b. I Cor.7:31 c.Rom.12:2
20. The Christian & Culture
• The Separational Model
• The Identificational Model
• The Transformational Model
• The Incarnational Model
21. The Separational Model
• Argues Christians must withdraw from world
• Antithesis between Kingdom of God and
Kingdom of this world
• Examples of Separational Model: Noah,
• Historical Example: Anabaptists, Mennonites, Amish
• Modern Historical Example: Jesus People
22. The Separational Model- The Dangers
1. Produces Asceticism
2. Produces a Sacred/Secular Society
3. See the danger of seducing spirits that
may seem to be “spiritual” I Tim. 4:3-4
4. Separational philosophy is to be
practiced as a correction for a brother,
not the world. I Cor. 5:9-11
26. The Identificational Model
• Lives both in the kingdom and the world
• Can lead to complacency
• Can lead to uncritical acceptance of
prevailing cultural practices/attitudes
• Can lead to loss of Church’s prophetic stance
27. The Identificational Model
• Examples: Joseph in Egypt
• Daniel in Babylonian Empire
• Historical Example: Constantine’s Era-It
was the “in” thing to be a Christian
• Result: Complacency
29. The Transformational Model
• Emphasis on remaking of Creation
from sin’s curse
• Neglect of sin’s devastation
• Can promote an unbiblical optimism
30. The Transformational Model
• Example: John Calvin in Geneva
• Example: The Puritans
• There is much to affirm of this model. It
recognizes the power of the gospel to change
lives and thus change culture.
• The shortcoming is that this model
promotes an unbiblical optimism, a near
32. The Incarnational Model
• Robert Webber in THE SECULAR
SAINT- proposes a synthesis of all three
• Separated from the evils of culture
• Identified with the people and culture of
• Seeking to transform culture from the
33. The Incarnational Model
• This is the Jesus Model
• Jesus was in and amongst the world, but never of
• Jesus never sought a political or religious position
• Jesus sought to solve the problem of the world by
dealing with sin within.
• Jesus wanted to transform world from the inside
34. How does one live the Incarnational
• He lives in a tension. He identifies good
structures and seeks to transform bad
• Believer should know God’s Word and the
mind of Christ then chose the course that
best represents God’s Will.
• Our tolerance must be based on God’s word
and principles in God’s word.
35. Some Principles to Consider
• The Principle of Expediency (helpful;good
for the situation or profitable) I Cor.6:12
• The Principle of Enslavement-I Cor.6:12
• The Principle of Example- I Cor. 8:9
• The Principle of Edification- I Cor.10:23
• The Principle of Exaltation- I Cor.10:31
• The Principle of Evangelism- I Cor.10:22-23