This article considers how the Word of God is to be used in ethics. It highlights the difficulties that exist in this endeavour, and then proceeds into a discussion on hermeneutics. It provides and analyzes a definition of ethics by Klaas Schilder. From there it considers a number of wrong uses of Scripture, such as biblicism. At its conclusion this chapter calls for maturity and discernment in how the Scriptures are to be used in our ethical reflection.
The Ten Commandments occupy a special place in Scripture, and so it is little surprise that they gradually formed an integral part of the instruction in the church, also in its ethics. This article considers their special place, and how some have challenged their key position in the church. The author clarifies that the law is not a way of salvation, but instead a norm for life.
This article considers the place of the conscience in ethics. It evaluates a medieval distinction between synteresis (the light of nature) and conscientia (conscience). It also considers a more modern, philosophical view of the conscience, which in turn it rejects. It explains that even a good conscience does not justify us before God. Nevertheless, God can and does make claims on the conscience.
This article considers the question of compromise in ethical issues. It identifies the marks of a compromise: first, there has to be a conflict; second, compromise must be unavoidable; third, long-suffering plays a role; fourth, there can be no compromise without our suffering on account of it. At the same time, there are limitations to a compromise, which the author spells out.
Often a Christian is faced with more than one viable option when having to make an important decision. But sometimes the decision involves a dilemma, wherein choosing the one thing might mean you are sinning by neglecting the other. This article discusses this matter, which is often called a clash of obligations. It considers whether God would command conflicting things. It goes on to show that it is not possible to obey a command of God and at the same time run afoul of the great commandment of love.
This article explains the difference between personal ethics and social ethics, and between philosophical ethics and Christian ethics. It also notes the difference between dogmatics and ethics. Finally, the author weighs in on whether it makes a difference if we talk about Christian or biblical ethics.
This article reflects on what it means that there are Christian morals, in contrast to those of the world. It acknowledges that there are many things that Christians do in the same way as non-Christians, as all have the law written on their heart. But it is the inner man that is different among Christians and non-Christians, which then allows us to speak of a Christian lifestyle in contrast to a worldly lifestyle.
This article considers the area of casuistry in ethics. The article explains the history of casuistry, including its place in Protestantism. It also mentions a number of objections that are raised against any form of casuistry. In the end, the author makes a plea for its retention, even if it has a limited role in ethics.