- An area of philosophical and theological inquiry into what constitutes right and wrong, that is, morality, as well as what is the good and the good life. Ethics seeks to provide insight, principles, or even a system of guidance in the quest of the good life or in acting rightly in either general or specific situations of life. Broadly speaking, ethical systems are either deontological (seeking to guide behavios through establishment or discovery of what is intrinsically right and wrong) or teleological (seeking to guide behavior through an understanding of the outcomes or ends that ethical decisions and behavior bring about). - Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms
In my last three articles on Homosexuality there have been several responses to the issue at hand: Here is one:
Charles, February 20, 2007
I have often thought about this issue and how the local church should respond to it. When Paul speaks to his audience about sexual impurity or homosexuality, it is always in the context of "…and such were some of you". Paul is speaking to God’s chosen people, advising them to "put off" the sins of the flesh and to "put on"righteousness. Do we in the Church have any more to say about how unbelievers conduct themselves concerning sexual behavior than any other of Paul’s list of "put off’s" except when their behavior has a societal dimension, such as when giving false testimony in court or preserving life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Paul was not concerned with changing the greater culture, which is fallen. He was concerned about believers becoming sanctified for the glory of Christ.
When arguing from the pulpit against issues involving homosexuality as a rule of law for everyone we risk going beyond our area of responsibility, I think. We really are attempting to impose a standard of behavior on people for whom obedience to God’s Word is not a concern and in whom the Holy Spirit is not operative, in order to preserve a position of cultural dominence. The Church in America is mostly concerned about preserving political power and the cultural status quo rather than focusing on God’s power to change us individually, from within. Of course, to our congregants, we have every obligation to argue, as Paul did, that God’s people ought to "put off" these behaviors, even if the desires remain.
I am not saying we have no cause to preach against the policies that can have a grave impact on our society. We live in a democracy and we do have responsibilities to think Biblically in the public arena when we cast our vote. Speaking against gay marriage, for example, in light of God’s design for marriage is something we ought to do. However, when we spend time railing against a culture where homosexuality is becoming more acceptable, we are planting the seeds for a "fortress" mentality. We create an "us" vs. "them" dynamic.
All of us come to the cross with patterns of sinfulness, but, in Christ, we are called to put off the flesh. When we focus on the specific sinful behavior of others, I think we are in danger of missing the mote in our own eye and avoiding the mortification of our own flesh. The net effect is that nobody changes.
The sorry fact is that the Church looks mostly like the world because we still want what the world has to offer. We in the Church should focus more on the body and less on the world. Perhaps then, we might see changed lives and have more impact on the world.
We are in need of radical amputation, yet we will settle for a band-aid. Consider how the media reacted to the Amish community after the killing of children in school. Think how the Amish responded. Our country and world becomes more evil by the day, yet we are more like the frog in the pot of warm water. At what point do we jump out so that we are still able to pull others out before it is too late?