Fortress Press

Spirit Ethics: Scripture and the Moral Life

Spirit Ethics

Scripture and the Moral Life

Paul Jersild (Author)


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How can Christians responsibly derive moral guidance from the Bible on pressing issues of personal and social morality today?

Jersild's book sets the context for a study of Scripture and the moral life in a postmodern, pluralist society with its impact on biblical studies. The ethical contents and authority of Scripture are addressed, and a "Spirit ethics" is proposed as a way of developing a biblically based Christian ethics. Christians cannot simply adopt a once-and-for-all set of rules nor simply cite Bible verses against the latest sins. "Absolutely essential," says Jersild, "is the ongoing engagement of the church with the moral environment of society and the issues that this raises for the church." Jersild applies his model fruitfully and persuasively to three pressing and perplexing issues: assisted suicide, homosexuality, and genetic programs.
  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • ISBN 9780800632328
  • Format Paperback
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 160
  • Publication Date January 1, 2000

Table of Contents


1. Postmodernism and Christian Ethics

Responding to the Postmodern Challenge
Absolute Commands vs. Universal Ideals
Jesus Christ and Moral Responsibility

2. The Church in a Pluralist Society

The Dislocation of Bible and Church
Interpreting the Tradition in a Changing Society
The Current Debate Concerning Church and Society

3. Determining "What the Bible Says"

The Biblical Critic under Attack
From Text to Reader
The Church and Biblical Authority

4. The Ethical Content and Authority of the Bible

Types of Ethical Content in Scripture
The Distinctive Ethical Content of Scripture
The Ethical Authority of Scripture
Scriptural Authority and Moral Decision Making

5. Spirit Ethics and a Responsible Church

An Ethics of the Spirit
Spirit Ethics and Ethical Theory
Spirit Ethics and Social Ethics
Spirit Ethics and Biblical Vision

6. Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

Christian Convictions Relating to Death
Medical Technology and the "Sanctity of Life"
Euthanasia and "Allowing to Die"
From Euthanasia to Assisted Suicide

7. Homosexuality

The Current Scene Concerning Homosexuality
The Authority of Scripture and Homosexuality
The Impact of the Tradition
Seeking a Viable Stance
Objections and Alternative Approaches

8. Genetics and the Future of Humanity

The Question of Eugenics
Genetic Testing and Screening
The Human Genome Project
Genetics, Human Identity, and the Human Future
Concluding Reflections

Index of Biblical Passages
Index of Subjects and Names