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A christian worldview essays from a reformed perspective

He presents hardly a single portion of ethics to us but what he does present is enriched with his keen philosophical commentaries. Later writers followed in his footsteps. A sharper line of separation between philosophy and theology, and in particular between ethics and moral theology, is first met within the works of the great Schoolmen of the Middle Ages, especially of Albertus Magnus — , Thomas Aquinas — , Bonaventure — , and Duns Scotus — Philosophy and, by means of it, theology reaped abundant fruit from the works of Aristotle, which had until then been a sealed treasure to Western civilization, and had first been elucidated by the detailed and profound commentaries of Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas and pressed into the service of Christian philosophy.

In his Summa Theologiae , Thomas locates ethics within the context of theology. For example, he discusses the ethics of buying and selling and concludes that although it may be legal according to human law to sell an object for more that it is worth, Divine law "leaves nothing unpunished that is contrary to virtue.

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Thomas also argues that the human being by reflection on human nature's inclinations discovers a law, that is the natural law, which is "man's participation in the divine law. The meaning of the word love can be imprecise, so Thomas Aquinas defined "love" for the benefit of the Christian believer as "to will the good of another. After a couple centuries of stagnation, in the sixteenth century ethical questions are again made the subject of careful investigation. Since the sixteenth century, special chairs of ethics moral philosophy have been funded in many Catholic universities.

Among topics they discussed was the ethics of action in case of doubt, leading to the doctrine of probabilism. With the rejection of the doctrine of papal infallibility and the Roman Magisterium as the absolute religious authority, each individual, at least in principle, became the arbiter in matters pertaining to faith and morals. Lutheran Philipp Melanchthon , in his " Elementa philosophiae moralis ", still clung to the Aristotelian philosophy strongly rejected by Martin Luther , as did Hugo Grotius in De jure belli et pacis.

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But Richard Cumberland and his follower Samuel Pufendorf assumed, with Descartes , that the ultimate ground for every distinction between good and evil lay in the free determination of God's will, an antinomian view which renders the philosophical treatment of ethics fundamentally impossible. In the 20th century some Christian philosophers, notably Dietrich Bonhoeffer , questioned the value of ethical reasoning in moral philosophy. In this school of thought, ethics, with its focus on distinguishing right from wrong, tends to produce behavior that is simply not wrong, whereas the Christian life should instead be marked by the highest form of right.

Rather than ethical reasoning, they stress the importance of meditation on, and relationship with, God. Other important Protestant Christian ethicists include H. In a popular movement of the s, many used the phrase " What would Jesus do? The seven Christian virtues are from two sets of virtues.

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The cardinal virtues are so called because they are regarded as the basic virtues required for a virtuous life. The three theological virtues , are Faith , Hope , and Love or Charity. Christian views on abortion has a complex history as there is no explicit prohibition of abortion in either the Old Testament or New Testament books of the Christian Bible. While some writers say that early Christians held different beliefs at different times about abortion, [23] [24] [25] others say that, in spite of the silence of the New Testament on the issue, they condemned abortion at any point of pregnancy as a grave sin, [26] a condemnation that they maintained even when some of them did not qualify as homicide the elimination of a fetus not yet "formed" and animated by a human soul.

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that "human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. Since the twentieth century Protestant views on abortion have varied considerably, with Protestants to be found in both the "anti-abortion" and "abortion-rights" camps. African-American Protestants are much more strongly anti-abortion than white Protestants.

Although scripture is mostly silent on abortion , various elements of scripture inform Christian ethical views on this topic, including Genesis ; Job ; Isaiah , , 5; and Jeremiah , among others. Current views on alcohol in Christianity can be divided into moderationism, abstentionism, and prohibitionism. Abstentionists and prohibitionists are sometimes lumped together as " teetotalers ", sharing some similar arguments. However, prohibitionists abstain from alcohol as a matter of law that is, they believe God requires abstinence in all ordinary circumstances , while abstentionists abstain as a matter of prudence that is, they believe total abstinence is the wisest and most loving way to live in the present circumstances.

Some Christians, including Pentecostals , Baptists and Methodists , today believe one ought to abstain from alcohol.

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Fifty-two percent of Evangelical leaders around the world say drinking alcohol is incompatible with being a good Evangelical. Christian views on divorce are informed by verses in Matthew, Mark, Deuteronomy, and others [37] and political developments much later. In the synoptic Gospels , Jesus emphasized the permanence of marriage , but also its integrity.


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In the book of Matthew Jesus says "Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. Not having assets of their own, women needed to be protected from the risk of their husbands' putting them on the street at whim. In those times marriage was an economic matter. Restriction of divorce was based on the necessity of protecting the woman and her position in society, not necessarily in a religious context, but an economic context.

A Biblical Christian Worldview by Jerald Caldwell

The Catholic Church prohibits divorce, but permits annulment a finding that the marriage was never valid under a narrow set of circumstances. The Eastern Orthodox Church permits divorce and remarriage in church in certain circumstances.

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Modern Christian sexual morality rejects adultery , [42] extramarital sex , [43] prostitution , [44] and rape. In his early writings, Paul described marriage as a social obligation that has the potential of distracting from Christ.

watch Sex, in turn, is not sinful but natural, and sex within marriage is both proper and necessary. While Jesus made reference to some that have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven, [49] there is no commandment in the New Testament that Jesus' disciples have to live in celibacy. During the first three or four centuries, no law was promulgated prohibiting clerical marriage.

Celibacy was a matter of choice for bishops, priests, and deacons. Today, the Roman Catholic Church teachings on celibacy uphold it for monastics and priests. Protestantism has rejected the celibate unmarried life for preachers since the Reformation. Many evangelicals prefer the term "abstinence" to "celibacy. But some evangelicals, particularly older singles, desire a positive message of celibacy that moves beyond the "wait until marriage" message of abstinence campaigns. They seek a new understanding of celibacy that is focused on God rather than a future marriage or a lifelong vow to the Church.

Within Christianity there are a variety of views on the issues of sexual orientation and homosexuality. The many Christian denominations vary in their position, from condemning homosexual acts as sinful , through being divided on the issue, to seeing it as morally acceptable. Even within a denomination, individuals and groups may hold different views. Further, not all members of a denomination necessarily support their church's views on homosexuality.

In the Bible, procreative marriage is presented as "the norm" [53] and homosexuality is discussed in the New Testament, [54] but in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries whether or not the Bible condemns homosexuality, and whether the various passages apply today, have become contentious topics. In modern times, Christian organizations reject any permissibility of slavery, [55] [56] [57] [58] but Christian views on slavery did vary both historically. In the eighteenth and nineteenth century debates in the UK and the US, passages in the Bible were used by both pro-slavery advocates and abolitionists to support their respective views.

Christian pacifism is the position that any form of violence is incompatible with the Christian faith. Christian pacifists state that Jesus himself was a pacifist who taught and practiced pacifism , and that his followers must do likewise. Jesus opposed use of violence in his statement that " all who will take up the sword, will die by the sword ", which suggested that those who perpetrate violence will themselves face violence.

Historian Roland Bainton described the early church as pacifist — a period that ended with the accession of Constantine. In the first few centuries of Christianity, many Christians refused to engage in military combat. In fact, there were a number of famous examples of soldiers who became Christians and refused to engage in combat afterward. They were subsequently executed for their refusal to fight.

The first conscientious objector in the modern sense was a Quaker in A number of Christian denominations have taken pacifist positions institutionally, including the Quakers and Mennonites. Pacifist and violence-resisting traditions have continued into contemporary times. In the 20th century, Martin Luther King, Jr. There are a variety of Christian views on poverty and wealth. At one end of the spectrum is a view which casts wealth and materialism as an evil to be avoided and even combatted.

At the other end is a view which casts prosperity and well-being as a blessing from God. Some Christians argue that a proper understanding of Christian teachings on wealth and poverty needs to take a larger view where the accumulation of wealth is not the central focus of one's life but rather a resource to foster the "good life". Miller has constructed a three-part rubric which presents three prevalent attitudes among Protestants towards wealth.

According to this rubric, Protestants have variously viewed wealth as: 1 an offense to the Christian faith 2 an obstacle to faith and 3 the outcome of faith. American theologian John B. Cobb has argued that the "economism that rules the West and through it much of the East" is directly opposed to traditional Christian doctrine. Cobb invokes the teaching of Jesus that "man cannot serve both God and Mammon wealth ". He asserts that it is obvious that "Western society is organized in the service of wealth" and thus wealth has triumphed over God in the West.

Simon Blackburn states that the " Bible can be read as giving us a carte blanche for harsh attitudes to children, the mentally handicapped, animals, the environment, the divorced, unbelievers, people with various sexual habits, and elderly women". Anderson , a Professor of Philosophy and Women's Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor , states that "the Bible contains both good and evil teachings", and it is "morally inconsistent".

We know such actions are wrong. Blackburn notes morally suspect themes in the Bible's New Testament as well. He also did not repudiate any of the more brutal portions of the Old Testament. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


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  • HISTORICAL FOUNDATIONS OF CHRISTIANITY;
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  • How does a “Reformed” Christian view God, Creation and Humanity?.
  • Scripturalism: A Christian Worldview?
  • Bible Curriculum for Christian Schools - Summit Ministries.
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