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ET501:  Christian ETHICS.   Michael Beals.



DESCRIPTION: Christian discipleship is practiced amid a complex moral landscape.  A clearly articulated and biblically grounded ethical method enables the disciple to engage moral issues with insight, authority and humility.  In this introduction to Christian ethics, students will examine theological traditions for biblical ethical analysis and engage them in the critical evaluation of contemporary moral issues.


SIGNIFICANCE FOR LIFE AND MINISTRY: Equipping the saints for service both inside and outside the church is central to the task of ministry.  A key aspect of this equipping process is the cultivation of ethical discernment and the development of a theologically grounded model of moral reflection by which a disciple may examine and respond to ethical questions and challenges.  With this in view, the study of Christian ethics is a vital element in the ministry preparation of those who seek to motivate the wider people of God toward redemptive relationships within the Christian community and toward a constructive engagement with the world.


LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon successfully completing this course, students will have demonstrated their ability: (1) to integrate ethics with biblical faith; (2) to use principal skills of critical thinking and ethical articulation for reflection, discussion and academic writing; (3) to increase their capacity to teach and model Christian ethics in ministry contexts; and (4) to grow in their ability to deploy principles of ethical reasoning in the engagement of contemporary moral challenges facing the Christian community.


COURSE FORMAT: Sessions will include lectures, class discussions, evaluation of reading assignments and small group interaction.  The course will meet for 30 class hours in an two week intensive format.



Singer, Peter.  One World: The Ethics of Globalization.  Second Edition.  New Haven: Yale University Press/Nota Bene, 2004 (208 pp). ISBN: 9780300103052, $14

Stassen, Glen H. and David P. Gushee.  Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context.  Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2003 (496 pp). ISBN: 9780830826681, $35

Walzer, Michael. Thick and Thin: Moral Argument at Home and Abroad.  Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1994 (106 pp). ISBN: 9780268018979, $15

West, Cornel. Race Matters.  Boston: Beacon Press, 2001 (108 pp).ISBN: 9780807009727, $20

Yordy, Laura Ruth.  Green Witness: Ecology, Ethics and the Kingdom of God.  Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2008 (182 pp). ISBN: 9780718892210, $38.50



1. Case study evaluations during class sessions (20%). 

2. In-class reading responses examining the core content of the required course texts (40%).

3. A 12-15 page research paper engaging the Holistic Character Ethics model from Kingdom Ethics with a contemporary moral issue (40%). 




RELATIONSHIP TO CURRICULUM: Meets the M. Div. core requirement in Ethics (ETH).  Meets Seminary core for MATM, MAT, MACL.