Christian ethics is a branch of Christian theology that defines virtuous behavior and wrong behavior from a Christian perspective. Systematic theological study of Christian ethics is called moral theology.
Christian virtues are often divided into four cardinal virtues and three theological virtues. Christian ethics includes questions regarding how the rich should act toward the poor, how women are to be treated, and the morality of war. Christian ethicists, like other ethicists, approach ethics from different frameworks and perspectives. The approach of virtue ethics has also become popular in recent decades, largely due to the work of Alasdair MacIntyre and Stanley Hauerwas.
Historical development of Christian ethics
In the Wesleyan tradition, Christian theology (and thus Christian ethics) are informed by four distinguishable sources known as the Wesleyan Quadrilateral. The four sources are "(1) the Bible and the Christian tradition, (2) philosophical principles and methods, (3) science and other sources of knowledge about the world, and (4) human experience broadly conceived."
According to D. Stephen Long, Jewish ethics and the life of Jesus figure prominently in Christian ethics, but "The Bible is the universal and fundamental source of specifically Christian ethics", Long also claims "Christian ethics finds its source in diverse means, but it primarily emerges from the biblical narrative.".
Childress and Macquarrie state that "Many Christian ethicists have claimed that Jesus Christ is the center of the biblical message in its entirety and the key to scripture". Other Christian ethicists "prefer a more Trinitarian rendering of the message of scripture". Some modern Christians "understand 'liberation' or deliverance from oppression to be the message of scripture".
"The Prophets ground their appeals for right conduct in God's demand for righteousness." On the other hand, "It is not... true to say that for the OT writers righteousness is defined by what God does; i.e., an act is not made righteous by the fact that God does it. Also noted as ethical guidelines adhered to by Old Testament figures is "maintenance of the family", "safeguarding of the family property", and "maintenance of the community".
New TestamentMuch of Christian ethics derives from Biblical scripture and Christianity have always considered the Bible profitable to teach, reprove, correct, and train in righteousness.
The New Testament generally asserts that all morality flows from the Great Commandment, to love God with all one's heart, mind, strength, and soul, and to love one's neighbor as oneself. In this, Jesus was reaffirming a teachings of Deut 6:4-9 and Lev 19:18. Christ united these commands together and proposed himself as a model of the love required in John 13:12, known also as The New Commandment.
Paul is also the source of the phrase "Law of Christ", though its meaning and the relationship of Paul of Tarsus and Judaism are still disputed. The Pauline writings are also the major source of the New Testament household code.
The Council of Jerusalem, as reported in Acts 15, may have been held in Jerusalem in about 50 AD. Its decree, known as the Apostolic Decree, was held as generally binding for several centuries and is still observed today by the Greek Orthodox.
Christian ethics developed during Early Christianity as Christianity arose in the Holy Land and other early centers of Christianity while Christianity emerged from Second Temple Judaism. Consequently, early Christian ethics included discussions of how believers should relate to Roman authority and to the empire.
The Church Fathers had little occasion to treat moral questions from a purely philosophical standpoint and independently of divine revelation, but in the explanation of Christian doctrine their discussions naturally led to philosophical investigations.
Writers, such as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Ambrose, Jerome, and Augustine of Hippo all wrote on ethics from a distinctly Christian point of view. They made use of philosophical and ethical principles laid down by their Greek philosopher forbears and the intersection of Greek and Jewish thought known as Hellenistic Judaism.
Under the Emperor Constantine I (312–337), Christianity became a legal religion. With Christianity now in power, ethical concerns broadened and included discussions of the proper role of the state.
Augustine in particular made use of the ethical principles of Greek philosophy and Hellenistic Judaism. He proceeded to develop thoroughly along philosophical lines and to establish firmly most of the truths of Christian morality. The eternal law (lex aeterna), the original type and source of all temporal laws, the natural law, conscience, the ultimate end of man, the cardinal virtues, sin, marriage, etc. were treated by him in the clearest and most penetrating manner. Augustine identified a movement in Scripture "toward the 'City of God', from which Christian ethics emerges", as illustrated in chapters 11 and 12 of the book of Genesis. Broadly speaking, Augustine adapted the philosophy of Plato to Christian principles. His synthesis is called Augustinianism (alternatively, Augustinism). 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.
Scholasticism and Thomism
A sharper line of separation between philosophy and theology, and in particular between ethics and moral theology, is first met with in the works of the great Schoolmen of the Middle Ages, especially of Albertus Magnus (1193–1280), Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274), Bonaventure (1221–1274), and Duns Scotus (1274–1308). 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." The question of beatitudo, perfect happiness in the possession of God, is posited as the goal of human life. 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."
Modern Christian ethics
After a couple centuries of stagnation, in the sixteenth century ethical questions are again made the subject of careful investigation. Writers include the Francisco de Vitoria, Dominicus Soto, Luis de Molina, Francisco Suarez, Leonardus Lessius, Juan de Lugo, Juan Caramuel y Lobkowitz, and Alphonsus Liguori. 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. The Reformers held fast to Sola Scriptura and many endeavored to construct an ethical system directly from the scriptures.
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. 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. Richard Niebuhr, John Howard Yoder, Glen Stassen, and Stanley Hauerwas.
Charles Sheldon's 1896 book, In His Steps was subtitled "What Would Jesus Do?" and posed the question in the form of a novel. In a popular movement of the 1990s, many used the phrase "What would Jesus do?" (abbreviated WWJD) as a personal motto. The question was a reminder of their belief in a moral imperative to act in a manner that would demonstrate the Love of Jesus through the actions of the adherents.
Virtues and principles in Christian ethics
The seven Christian virtues are from two sets of virtues. The four cardinal virtues are Prudence, Justice, Restraint (or Temperance), and Courage (or Fortitude). 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).
- Prudence: also described as wisdom, the ability to judge between actions with regard to appropriate actions at a given time
- Justice: also considered as fairness, the most extensive and most important virtue
- Temperance: also known as restraint, the practice of self-control, abstention, and moderation tempering the appetition
- Courage: also termed fortitude, forbearance, strength, endurance, and the ability to confront fear, uncertainty, and intimidation
- Faith: belief in God, and in the truth of His revelation as well as obedience to Him (cf. Rom 1:5:16:26)
- Hope: expectation of and desire of receiving; refraining from despair and capability of not giving up. The belief that God will be eternally present in every human's life and never giving up on His love.
- Charity: a supernatural virtue that helps us love God and our neighbors, more than ourselves.
Areas of applied Christian ethics
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, 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, 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 Didache, a Christian writing usually dated to sometime in the mid to late 1st century, prohibits abortion in Ch 2.
The Roman Catholic Church and teaches that abortion that "human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception." Accordingly, it opposes procedures whose purpose is to destroy an embryo or fetus for whatever motive (even before implantation), but admits acts, such as chemotherapy or hysterectomy of a pregnant woman who has cervical cancer, which indirectly results in the death of the fetus, is morally acceptable. The Church holds that "the first right of the human person is his life" and that life is assumed to begin at fertilization. Since the first century, the Church has affirmed that every procured abortion is a moral evil, a teaching that the Catechism of the Catholic Church declares "has not changed and remains unchangeable".
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. Conservative Protestants tend to be anti-abortion whereas "mainline" Protestants lean towards an abortion-rights stance. African-American Protestants are much more strongly anti-abortion than white Protestants. Even among Protestants who believe that abortion should be a legal option, there are those who believe that it should nonetheless be morally unacceptable in most instances.
Although scripture is mostly silent on abortion, various elements of scripture inform Christian ethical views on this topic, including Genesis 4:1; Job 31:15; Isaiah 44:24, 49:1, 5; and Jeremiah 1:5, 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" (compare list of 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. Fifty-two percent of Evangelical leaders around the world say drinking alcohol is incompatible with being a good Evangelical. Evangelicals in Asia, Africa, and also in Muslim-majority countries are decidedly against drinking.
Christian views on divorce are informed by verses in Matthew, Mark, Deuteronomy, and others. and political developments much later. In the synoptic Gospels, Jesus emphasized the permanence of marriage, but also its integrity. 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. When Jesus discusses marriage, he points out that a certain talent is needed to live together with another human being. 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. A woman and her children could easily be rejected. 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. Paul concurred but added an exception for abandonment by an unbelieving spouse.
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. Most Protestant churches discourage divorce except as a last resort, but do not actually prohibit it through church doctrine.
Sexual morality and Celibacy
In his early writings, Paul described marriage as a social obligation that has the potential of distracting from Christ. Sex, in turn, is not sinful but natural, and sex within marriage is both proper and necessary. In his later writings, Paul made parallels between the relations between spouses and God's relationship with the church. Paul encouraged both celibate and marital lifestyles
While Jesus made reference to some that have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven, there is no commandment in the New Testament that Jesus' disciples have to live in celibacy. The general view on sexuality among the early Jewish Christians was quite positive.
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." Assuming everyone will marry, they focus their discussion on refraining from premarital sex and focusing on the joys of a future marriage. 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" and homosexuality is discussed in the New Testament, 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.
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. Notable Christian pacifists include Martin Luther King, Jr., Leo Tolstoy, and Ammon Hennacy.
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 commitment to pacifism and rejection of military service is attributed by Allman and Allman to two principles: "(1) the use of force (violence) was seen as antithetical to Jesus' teachings and service in the Roman military required worship of the emperor as a god which was a form of idolatry."
The first conscientious objector in the modern sense was a Quaker in 1815. The Quakers had originally served in Cromwell's New Model Army but from the 1800s increasingly became pacifists. A number of Christian denominations have taken pacifist positions institutionally, including the Quakers and Mennonites.
Wealth and Poverty
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". Professor David W. 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". Elizabeth S. 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". She concludes that, "Here are religious doctrines that on their face claim that it is all right to mercilessly punish people for the wrongs of others and for blameless error, that license or even command murder, rape, torture, slavery, ethnic cleansing, and genocide. We know such actions are wrong."
Regarding Christianity and slavery, Harvard Divinity School's Jacob K. Olupona states that "Christianity was deeply culpable in the African slave trade, inasmuch as it consistently provided a moral cloak for the buying and selling of human beings."
Elizabeth S. Anderson says that those who accept "biblical inerrancy ... must conclude that much of what we take to be morally evil is in fact morally permissible and even morally required". She provides a number of examples to illustrate "God's moral character" such as: "Routinely punishes people for the sins of others ... punishes all mothers by condemning them to painful childbirth", punishes four generations of descendants of those who worship other Gods, kills 24,000 Israelites because some of them sinned (Numbers 25:1–9), kills 70,000 Israelites for the sin of David in 2 Samuel 24:10–15, and "sends two bears out of the woods to tear forty-two children to pieces" because they called someone names in 2 Kings 2:23–24. She goes on to note commands God gave to men in the Bible such as: kill adulterers, homosexuals, and "people who work on the Sabbath" (Leviticus 20:10; Leviticus 20:13; Exodus 35:2, respectively); to commit ethnic cleansing (Exodus 34:11-14, Leviticus 26:7-9); commit genocide (Numbers 21: 2-3, Numbers 21:33–35, Deuteronomy 2:26–35, and Joshua 1–12); and other mass killings. Finally, the Bible can be interpreted to condone the practice of slavery, the rape of female captives during wartime, polygamy, and the killing of prisoners.
Blackburn notes morally suspect themes in the Bible's New Testament as well. He notes some "moral quirks" of Jesus: that he could be "sectarian" (Matt 10:5–6), racist (Matt 15:26 and Mark 7:27), placed no value on animal life (Luke 8: 27–33), and believed that "mental illness is caused by possession by devils". He also did not repudiate any of the more brutal portions of the Old Testament. Anderson notes the Christian apologist argument that the Jesus of the New Testament is "all loving". She states, however, that the New Testament has some morally repugnant lessons as well: "Jesus tells us his mission is to make family members hate one another, so that they shall love him more than their kin (Matt 10:35–37)", "Disciples must hate their parents, siblings, wives, and children (Luke 14:26)", children who "curse their parents ... must be killed", and Peter and Paul elevate men over their wives "who must obey their husbands as gods" (1 Corinthians 11:3, 14:34–5, Eph. 5:22–24, Col. 3:18, 1 Tim. 2: 11–2, 1 Pet. 3:1) in the New Testament household code.
Responses to criticism
Biblical views on slavery
While the Bible has been criticized as condoning slavery, numerous scholars of the Bible including Craig L. Blomberg, Gary M. Burge et al., Paul Copan, and Anthony C. Thiselton have responded by criticising comparisons made between slavery as it is described in the Bible and the Atlantic slave trade noting that there have been large differences in the treatment of servants and slaves throughout history, in the willingness of people to offer services as slaves, in the circumstances of people prior to their service, and in the extent to which slavery practices were racialised or based on skin colour. It is debatable whether or not it should be considered wrong to condone slavery practices that meet the descriptions provided by Paul within letters that were written to people of Colossae and Ephesus, such as slavery practices which correspond with the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth where greatness and leadership are exemplified by having the very attitude a servant or slave.
In modern times almost all Christians reject the permissibility of harsh, unfair and unjust forms of slavery which are neither capable of meeting nor surpassing the relationships between employers and their employees in modern times.
- Aristotelian ethics
- Brotherly love (philosophy)
- Buddhist ethics
- Choose the right
- Christian Morals
- Christian pacifism
- Christian philosophy
- Christian values
- Christian vegetarianism
- Christian views on the old covenant
- Council of Jerusalem
- Ethics in religion
- Ethics in the Bible
- Good works
- Jewish ethics
- Such as Hebrews 8:6 etc. See also Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Epistle to the Hebrews". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.: "The central thought of the entire Epistle is the doctrine of the Person of Christ and His Divine mediatorial office.... There He now exercises forever His priestly office of mediator as our Advocate with the Father (vii, 24 sq.)."
- Childress & Macquarrie 1986, p. 88
- Long 2010, p. 13
- Long 2010, pp. 23–24
- Childress & Macquarrie 1986, p. 59
- Long 2010, p. 31
- Childress & Macquarrie 1986, p. 434
- Childress & Macquarrie 1986, pp. 437
- Childress & Macquarrie 1986, pp. 435–436
- Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics: "There is no 'Christian ethics' that would deny the authority of the Bible, for apart from scripture the Christian church has no enduring identity". Childress & Macquarrie 1986, p. 60
- Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics: Christian churches have always considered it a part of their calling to teach, reprove, correct, and train in righteousness, and they have always considered the Bible 'profitable' for that task. With virtually one voice the churches have declared that the Bible is an authority for moral discernment and judgment. And Christian ethicists—at least those who consider their work part of the common life of the Christian community—have shared this affirmation.Childress & Macquarrie 1986, p. 57
- Karl Josef von Hefele's commentary on canon II of Gangra notes: "We further see that, at the time of the Synod of Gangra, the rule of the Apostolic Synod with regard to blood and things strangled was still in force. With the Greeks, indeed, it continued always in force as their Euchologies still show. Balsamon also, the well-known commentator on the canons of the Middle Ages, in his commentary on the sixty-third Apostolic Canon, expressly blames the Latins because they had ceased to observe this command. What the Latin Church, however, thought on this subject about the year 400, is shown by St. Augustine in his work Contra Faustum, where he states that the Apostles had given this command in order to unite the heathens and Jews in the one ark of Noah; but that then, when the barrier between Jewish and heathen converts had fallen, this command concerning things strangled and blood had lost its meaning, and was only observed by few. But still, as late as the eighth century, Pope Gregory the Third (731) forbade the eating of blood or things strangled under threat of a penance of forty days. No one will pretend that the disciplinary enactments of any council, even though it be one of the undisputed Ecumenical Synods, can be of greater and more unchanging force than the decree of that first council, held by the Holy Apostles at Jerusalem, and the fact that its decree has been obsolete for centuries in the West is proof that even Ecumenical canons may be of only temporary utility and may be repealed by disuse, like other laws."
- Long 2010, pp. 27–28
- Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica, "Of Cheating, Which Is Committed in Buying and Selling." Translated by The Fathers of the English Dominican Province. pp. 3 Retrieved June 19, 2012
- Thomas Aquinas (1920), "First Part of the Second Part (Prima Secundæ Partis)", Summa Theologica, English Translation by the Fathers of the English Dominican Province (second and revised ed.), Kevin Knight at NewAdvent.org (2008)
- "St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II, 26, 4, corp. art". Newadvent.org. Retrieved 2010-10-30.
- Sheldon, C. (1896). In His Steps. First published by the Chicago Advance in serial form.
- "Cardinal Virtues of Plato, Augustine and Confucius". theplatonist.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04.
- Pickar, C. H. (1981) . "Faith". The New Catholic Encyclopedia. 5. Washington D.C. p. 792.
- Catechism of the Catholic Church n. 2087
- When Children Became People: the birth of childhood in early Christianity by Odd Magne Bakke
- "Abortion and Catholic Thought: The Little-Told History" Archived February 18, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
- Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood by Kristin Luker, University of California Press
- Jeffrey H. Reiman, Abortion and the Ways We Value Human Life (Rowman & Littlefield 1998 ISBN 978-0-8476-9208-8), pp. 19-20
- Daniel Schiff, Abortion in Judaism (Cambridge University Press 2002 ISBN 978-0-521-52166-6), p. 40
- Didache "English translations of the Didache at Early Christian Writings"
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2270 Archived October 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
- David F. Kelly, Contemporary Catholic Health Care Ethics (Georgetown University Press 2004 ISBN 978-1-58901-030-7), p. 112
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2271 Archived November 14, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
- McGrath, Alister E.; Marks, Darren C. (2004). The Blackwell companion to Protestantism. John Wiley & Sons. p. 294. ISBN 978-0-631-23278-0. Retrieved 5 January 2012.
- Olson, Laura R. (1 June 2000). Filled with spirit and power: Protestant clergy in politics. SUNY Press. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-7914-4589-1. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
- Childress & Macquarrie 1986, p. 2
- Kenneth Gentry (2001). God Gave Wine. Oakdown. pp. 3ff. ISBN 0-9700326-6-8.
- "Global Survey of Evangelical Protestant Leaders". Pew Forum. 2011. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
[E]vangelical leaders are divided over the consumption of alcohol. About four-in-ten (42%) say it is compatible with being a good evangelical, while 52% say it is incompatible. Leaders from sub-Saharan Africa are especially likely to oppose alcohol use; 78% of them say it is incompatible with being a good evangelical, as do 78% of evangelical leaders who live in Muslim-majority countries.
- Childress & Macquarrie 1986, p. 161
- e.g., Matthew 5:31-32, Matthew 19:3-9, Mark 10:2-12, Luke 16:18, see also Expounding of the Law#Divorce
- Henry Chadwick, The Early Church, ISBN 978-0140231991
- Jonathan Hill, What Has Christianity Ever Done for Us?: How It Shaped the Modern World 978-0830833283
- See Timothy (now Archbishop Kalistos) Ware, The Orthodox Church
- Childress & Macquarrie 1986, p. 10
- 1Corinthians 6:9-10:
- Catechism of the Catholic Church 2355 Archived July 24, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
- Catechism of the Catholic Church 2356 Archived July 24, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
- Will Deming, Paul on marriage and celibacy: the hellenistic background of 1 Corinthians 7. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 2003; 2nd edition.
- "Husbands love your wives even as Christ loved the church. Husbands should love their wives as their own bodies" Ephesians 5:25-28
- 1Corinthians 7:1-16
- Matthew 19:12
- Geels, Antoon & Roos, Lena. Sexuality in world's religions. University press, Lund, Sweden 2010.
- Henry Chadwick, The Early Church, ISBN 978-0140231991
- Celibacy. Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2009. Archived 31 October 2009.
- Colon, Christine, and Bonnie Field. Singled Out: Why Celibacy Must Be Reinvented in Today's Church. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos, 2009.
- Childress & Macquarrie 1986, p. 580
- Childress & Macquarrie 1986, p. 272
- Colm McKeogh, Tolstoy's Pacifism, Cambria Press, 2009, ISBN 1-60497-634-9.
- Roland Bainton, quoted in Robin Gill, A Textbook of Christian Ethics, 3rd ed, Continuum, 2006, ISBN 0-567-03112-8, p. 194.
- "No known Christian author from the first centuries approved of Christian participation in battle; citations advocating pacifism are found in → Tertullian, → Origen, Lactantius, and others, and in the testimonies of the martyrs Maximilian and Marcellus, who were executed for refusing to serve in the Roman army. Grounds for opposition to military service included fear of idolatry and the oath of loyalty to Caesar, as well as the basic objection to shedding blood on the battlefield.", Fahlbusch, E., & Bromiley, G. W. (2005). Vol. 4: The encyclopedia of Christianity (2). Grand Rapids, Mich.; Leiden, Netherlands: Wm. B. Eerdmans; Brill.
- Allman, Mark; Allman, Mark J. (2008). Who Would Jesus Kill?: War, Peace, and the Christian Tradition. Saint Mary's Press.
- The New conscientious objection: from sacred to secular resistance Charles C. Moskos, John Whiteclay Chambers - 1993 "The first conscientious objector in the modern sense appeared in 1815. Like all other objectors from then until the 1880s, he was a Quaker.4 The government suggested exempting the pacifist Quakers, but the Storting, the Norwegian "
- Speicher, Sara and Durnbaugh, Donald F. (2003), Ecumenical Dictionary: Historic Peace Churches
- "Members of several small Christian sects who try to literally follow the precepts of Jesus Christ have refused to participate in military service in many nations and have been willing to suffer the criminal or civil penalties that followed."Encyclopædia Britannica 2004 CD Rom Edition — Pacifism.
- Evangelium Vitae
- "Orthodoxy and Capital Punishment". Incommunion.
- King, Jr., Martin Luther; Clayborne Carson; Peter Holloran; Ralph Luker; Penny A. Russell (1992). The papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-07950-7.
- Liacopulos, George P. (2007). Church and Society: Orthodox Christian Perspectives, Past Experiences, and Modern Challenges. Somerset Hall Press. p. 88. ISBN 9780977461059.
- Miller, David W. "Wealth Creation as Integrated with Faith: A Protestant Reflection" Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Views on the Creation of Wealth April 23–24, 2007
- Cobb, Jr., John B. "Eastern View of Economics". Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved 2011-04-10.
- Blackburn 2001, p. 12
- Anderson 2007, p. 336
- Anderson 2007, p. 337
- Olupona, Jacob (2014). African Religions: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 95. ISBN 978-0-19-979058-6.
- Anderson 2007, pp. 336–337
- Leviticus 25 39-55
- Deuteronomy 21 10-14
- Blackburn 2001, pp. 11–12
- Anderson 2007, p. 338
- Blomberg, Craig L. (2009). Jesus and the Gospels [New Testament Introduction and Survey Volume 1] (2nd ed.). Nottingham: Apollos (Inter-Varsity Press). p. 66. ISBN 9781844745746.
Unlike pre-Civil War America, the Roman world allowed slaves to own property, earn money, and often save enough to buy their own freedom. A slave in a wealthy household was sometimes more prosperous than most freedmen and exercised important responsibilities , including managing his master's estate and teaching his children. At the opposite end of the socioeconomic spectrum were large numbers of slaves who worked in appalling condition in various mines throughout the empire.
- Burge, Gary M.; Cohick, Lynn H.; Green, Gene L. (2009). The New Testament in Antiquity: A Survey of the New Testament Within its Cultural Contexts. Michigan: Zondervan. p. 359. ISBN 9780310244950.
Slavery was not racial, however, as it was in the New World, nor were they necessarily uneducated. Some slaves were tutors and paedagogues (cf. Gal. 3:24). They cooked, cleaned, built buildings and roads, cut and styled hair, did laundry, made clothes, and even managed financial affairs.
- Copan, Paul (2011). Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God. Michigan: Baker Books. pp. 124–157. ISBN 9780801072758.
- Thiselton, Anthony C. (2009). The Living Paul: An Introduction to the Apostle and his Thought. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK). p. 39. ISBN 9780281061105.
It was possible to rise high, and to earn enough pocket-money to begin life again as honoured freedman or freedwoman, perhaps in one's thirties. For this reason, some who fell on hard times deliberately sold themselves into slavery, alongside prisoners captured in war, or people who had committed crimes. If they were fortunate, the master's name and reputation would guarantee them a better status and higher security against thieves or kidnappers than ever they could have had as poor free-men, left to rely simply on their own resources.
- Adi, Hakim (2012). "Africa and the Transatlantic Slave Trade". BBC. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
enslavement of Africans [in the Atlantic slave trade] was justified by the ideology of racism - the notion that Africans were naturally inferior to Europeans
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (2001). "Slavery and Racism". United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Durban, South Africa. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
The racial nature of this triangular [Atlantic slave] trade between Africa, Europe and the Americas also sets it apart. The [Atlantic slave] trade was supported by a racist ideology that saw white people as being the most perfectly developed and blacks as being at the bottom of the ladder.
- McQuilkin, R; Copan, P (2014). "Labor and Management, Work and Leisure". An Introduction to Biblical Ethics: Walking in the Way of Wisdom (3rd ed.). Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic (an imprint of InterVarsity Press). pp. 448–49. ISBN 9780830828180.
[T]he principles enunciated for slave-owner relationships are so humanitarian in their protection of the oppressed that they are easily transferable to labor-management relationships in the ... era in which we live, an era brought about through the influence of New Testament teaching. For example, in his letters to the churches at Ephesus (Eph 6:5-9) and Colossae (Col 3:22-4:1), Paul gives principles for both the employer and the employee ... Employees are to work "from the heart," humble in attitude, fearful before God of wronging their employer. Employers are to be humbly fearful of wronging their employees. Furthermore, both are to relate honestly with one another, without hypocrisy ... The atmosphere and attitude at work is to be cordial and even cheerful ... Paul says that this means the worker will work diligently and faithfully. And he says of the owner, "in like manner" ... Managers must not threaten. They have power over the welfare and livelihood of their employees ... employers must not use their power to coerce ... Furthermore, all working arrangements, including pay, must be just. Unsafe working conditions ... are certainly unjust.
- Capes DB; Reeves R; Richards ER (2007). Rediscovering Paul: an introduction to his world, letters and theology. Illinois: InterVarsity Press. p. 224. ISBN 9781844742424.
The advice to masters is brief but weighty: "Masters [kyrioi], treat your slaves justly and fairly, for you know that you also have a Master [kyrion] in heaven" (Col 4:1). The play on words is intentional. The apostle hopes to shape the behavior of the slave owners by appealing to the lordship of Jesus. They might be called "lords" or "masters" on some human level, but he reminds them that they were ultimately servants of a heavenly Lord who expected justice and fairness ... [Moreover,] Paul introduced his teachings with the challenge: "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts" (Col 3:15).
- Marshall, Chris (2005). "Jesus and Justice". The little book of biblical justice. Pennsylvania: Good Books. p. 60. ISBN 9781561485055.
Jesus taught ... community to turn prevailing patterns of power and greatness upside down ... there is to be no hierarchy of status ... (Matthew 23:8-12) ... there is to be no domination of the weak by the powerful, no lording it over one another ... (Mark 10:42-43) ... Leadership is servanthood (Luke 22:26).
- The Apostle Paul. Colossians 3:22-4:1, ESV Bible. Crossway.
Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality. Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
- The Apostle Paul. Ephesians 6:5-9, ESV Bible. Crossway.
Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.
- Picirilli, Robert E.; Outlaw, W. Stanley; Ellis, Daryl, eds. (1990). The Randall House Bible Commentary: 1 Thessalonians Through Philemon. TN: Randall House Publications. p. 387. ISBN 0892651431.
Paul ... Jesus ... the apostles ... dealt with it [slavery] in the most effective way possible, at the time, by instructing both slaves and masters in the proper conduct and relationships toward one another. Where these instructions were followed, the harshness of the master-slave relation was eliminated and only the employer-employee relationship finally remained. Because of this, most of what is said to masters and slaves in the N.T. can and should be applied to employer-employee relationships in our own time.
- Anderson, Elizabeth (2007). "If God is Dead, Is Everything Permitted?". In Hitchens, Christopher. The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever. Philadelphia: Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0-306-81608-6.
- Blackburn, Simon (2001). Ethics: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-280442-6.
- Childress, James F.; Macquarrie, John, eds. (1986). The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press. ISBN 0-664-20940-8.
- Long, D. Stephen (2010). Christian Ethics: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-956886-4.
- De La Torre, Miguel A., "Doing Christian Ethics from the Margins," Orbis Books, 2004.
- Doomen, Jasper. "Religion's Appeal", Philosophy and Theology 23, 1: 133-148 (2011)
- al-Faruqi, Ismail Ragi. Christian Ethics: an Historical and Systematic Analysis of Its Dominant Ideas. McGill University Press, 1967. N.B.: Written from an Islamic perspective.
- Hein, David. "Christianity and Honor." The Living Church, August 18, 2013, pp. 8–10.
- Christian Ethics Reading Room, Online Literature, Tyndale Seminary
- Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics - Institute based in Cambridge, England. KLICE triannually publishes Ethics in Brief, issues of which can be read here.
- Catholic Encyclopedia: Ethics
- Catholic Encyclopedia: Moral Theology
- "Thomas Aquinas: Moral Philosophy". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
- Three Good Deeds, Collection of resources focused on the Judeo-Christian values of caring for the environment, yourself and others
- Compassion In Judaism, Collection of resources dedicated to the Jewish perspective on the values of compassion and loving-kindness