Ethics

The Interconnectedness of Philosophy, Theology, & Worldview

A worldview is the perspective through which one views the world. By definition, a biblical worldview is derived exegetically from the pages of the Bible. Philosophy and theology have long been perceived as rivals in worldview, but if we define those terms lexically and through a Scriptural lens, then we find no friction between the two disciplines. In fact, the two are complementary.

Philosophy as a discipline is recognized as “the systematic and critical study of fundamental questions that arise both in everyday life and through the practice of other disciplines.”* Philosophy the discipline is often confused with philosophy as a worldview. The discipline is informed by the worldview (or the perspective by which the philosopher is viewing philosophy), but the discipline is distinct from worldview.

For example, many of the early Greek philosophers set out to find answers to life’s great questions using only naturalistic evidences. To their credit, they were in part motivated by a desire to move away from superstition and unwarranted belief in a pantheon that was hardly explanatory. The naturalistic worldview of these thinkers shaped much of what we understand as philosophical inquiry, but it is important to note that it was their worldview that was naturalistic, not the discipline of philosophy itself.

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From the Archives: Why Vote for the Lesser of Two Evils

(First posted in Dec., 2011)

A recurring question in the American political experience is this: ”Should people of conscience vote for the lesser of two evils?” The question is of interest to all who care about right and wrong but carries special interest for Christians, since their aim is to do all things in obedience to Christ.

My thesis is simple. In a vote between two evils, Christians ought to back the lesser of the two.

For the purposes of this essay, I’m assuming readers already believe Christians ought to vote. My aim is to present three arguments for voting for the candidate who is least evil, whether the office is President of the United States, U.S. Senator or Village Clerk.

1. Such a vote is the lesser of two evils.

The first argument for voting for the lesser of evils is in the proposition itself: less evil. Who can be against that? Here’s the argument one statement at a time:

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Eternal Security and Christian Living

Practice is from position, never to position. The ethical mandates of the New Testament are decisively clear that believers are to walk in the richness of the position we have been given (Eph 1:3), and that the position is actually necessary for the walk (Heb 11:6). Never is a believer warned that their position as a child of God is in danger because of their walk.

Certainly there are warning passages. Hebrews 4:1 warns us to fear lest we “may seem to have come short” of entering His rest. Hebrews 4:11 prescribes diligence so that “no one will fall.” In the same context, the writer exhorts, “let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:16). Why else would we need continuing grace and mercy if we were without sin in our practice?

Later, the writer reminds, “we are not of those who shrink back to destruction (Heb 10:39). There is no future of destruction for believers because “the believing one has eternal life” (Jn 6:47). Once eternal life is given, then by definition, it is eternal. Any end to it would make it something other than eternal.

The warnings, then, are not about loss of position, but about loss within that position. One whose practice is lacking will suffer loss—even losing reward—but that person is still secure in position (1 Cor 3:12-15).

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The Basis and Mandate of Christian Ethics

The simplicity of Paul’s ethical mandate for believers is unmistakable in 1 Corinthians 10:31: “Whatever then you eat or you drink or whatever you do—all unto God’s glory you are to do.” In that context Paul challenges the Corinthian believers specifically to handle freedoms pertaining to eating and drinking in a such a way as to contribute to the purpose for all activity: to glorify God.

If God’s own purpose in His activities is His own glory (e.g., Eph 1:6, 12, 14), then it should come as no surprise that the stated singular purpose in our activities is that we should likewise glorify Him. This is the ought of Christian ethics: that we should glorify God, and it is important that we also understand the is upon which the ought is grounded.

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