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Showing posts from April, 2020

A theological ethic, part 5 (conclusion)

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This is the fifth and concluding post in a series adapted from "What is a Theological Ethic?" a lecture by GCS President Dr. Gary Deddo.For other posts in the series, click a number: 123, 4.

Last time we saw that our calling as followers of Jesus is first to worship God (and no other), then out of that relationship of worship (loving God), to love our neighbors (sharing in God's love for them). By worshiping only God, we avoid a form of idolatry that is common in our day -- the collapsing of the first Great Commandment (to love God) into the second (to love neighbor). Let's look further at how a theological ethic protects us from this idolatry. We begin with Jesus' example. Jesus' example of sacrificial giving Throughout his life on earth, Jesus showed perfect love by sacrificially giving of himself. He first gave himself in faithful, even joyful obedience to his Father. Then, as part of his worship of the Father, Jesus gave sacrificially of himself to us.…

A theological ethic, part 4

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This is the fourth in a series of posts adapted from "What is a Theological Ethic?," a lecture given by GCS President Dr. Gary Deddo. For the other posts in the series, click a number: 1, 2, 35.
Worship only GodLast time, we noted the danger of collapsing the first great command (to love God) into the second (to love neighbor). Though doing so is common in our modern/post-modern world, as followers of Jesus we must understand that it is a form of idolatry, which God strictly forbids. We are to worship only God, and no other -- a command Israel, sadly, never fully obeyed (as pictured below), despite years of being chastened by wilderness wandering and exile in Babylon.


Though the two great commands go together, they are radically different in that the two objects of love (God and neighbor) are very different and so cannot be interchanged and must not be confused. Why is this so important? Because God is not a human being (even though the eternal Son of God, without ceasing …

A theological ethic, part 3

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This is the third in a series of posts adapted from the lecture "What is a Theological Ethic?" by GCS president Dr. Gary Deddo. For other posts in the series, click a number: 1, 2, 45.

Developing, then living out an ethic that is God-centered (theocentric) rather than human-centered (anthropocentric) is a great challenge. Why? Because the worldview (mindset) so prevalent in our modern/post-modern West is fundamentally anthropocentric, leading to an ethic that is largely pragmatic, utilitarian and even hedonistic. So how do we as Christians, in this cultural setting, develop, then live out a truly theological ethic? A good place to begin is in the Gospel of Matthew.

Theological ethics and the great commandments According to Jesus, these two commands summarize the central and controlling will of God for humankind as presented in Holy Scripture ("the law and the prophets" is a reference to the Hebrew scriptures, what we refer to as the Old Testament). Much can be sa…