Situational ethics, made popular in the 1960s, teaches that “all we need is love.” Loving is how we should be, but it does not tell us what to do. A biblical ethic, which can provide real guidance, begins with the light of Scripture. But how applicable is the Bible’s moral standard to the complex issues we face today, such as stem cell research, euthanasia, racism, gambling, and environmental care? And how does a person use Scripture in making or evaluating ethical decisions?
Trusted Bible scholar and teacher Walter Kaiser answers these questions by connecting 18 tough ethical issues with 18 key teaching Scriptures—including, for example, poverty with Isaiah 58, genetic engineering with Genesis 1:26–30 and 2:15–25, substance abuse with Proverbs 23:29–35, cohabitation with 1 Thessalonians 4:1–8, and war with Deuteronomy 20:1–20 and Romans 13:1–7. Through authoritative teaching from Scripture, suggested expositional outlines, and insights from years of teaching this material at Gordon-Conwell and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Kaiser demonstrates how to connect Scripture to ethical issues and train congregations to think biblically about ethics. The result is a vital text for teaching pastors, a stimulating resource and guide for preaching, and a foundation for developing Bible studies.
This series of studies will prove an invaluable tool to any Christian leader and will leave every thinking believer, even if not in agreement with all Dr. Kaiser’s conclusions on every issue, sharing the Jubilee Centre’s desire to explore further the continued relevance of biblical principles to the social, economic, and political questions facing modern society.
—John Hayward, executive director, Jubilee Centre, Cambridge, England
In today’s churches, many ethical pronouncements are made without firm biblical grounding, and many biblical sermons are preached without concrete application to the issues of the day. This book will help preachers and teachers speak to the ethical challenges facing the church from an informed perspective rooted in sound biblical theology and solid scholarship. I heartily recommend it.
—John Jefferson Davis, professor of systematic theology and Christian ethics, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
Walt Kaiser is the right person to write this book. The work reveals a lifetime of experience in the Scriptures, in the classroom, and in churches. Kaiser’s strategy of working primarily with one or two focal texts in relation to each ethical issue addressed is a unique and valuable aspect of the book. His close adherence to the biblical text offers a fine model for expository preaching and teaching. This work will serve well as a textbook for college- and seminary-level ethics courses and as a trustworthy guide for pastors, lay leaders, and all ministry professionals who desire to apply faithfully the texts of Scripture to many of today’s crucial ethical issues. I highly recommend this superb volume and expect it will have a long and useful life.
—Robert V. Rakestraw, emeritus professor of theology, Bethel Seminary
Many people feel overwhelmed by the number and complexity of the moral questions we face. And with people knowing less of God’s Word, the need for accurate biblical guidance for navigating today’s ethical dilemmas has never been greater. Thankfully, Walter Kaiser fills the void by clearly pointing us back to our biblical roots for moral guidance and by unpacking the meaning and implications of central teaching passages from the Bible. Kaiser has done it again!
—David K. Clark, executive vice president and provost, Bethel Seminary
Too many Christian preachers think that Christian preaching can only be done from the gospel reading or the writings of St. Paul. Kaiser demonstrates how genuine Christian preaching can be inspired by Old Testament passages as well. Here he focuses his attention more specifically on passages that deal with ethical matters. . . . His critical approach to the biblical material and his method of recontextualization will enlighten even those who might not agree with his theological stand.
—The Bible Today
Walter Kaiser’s latest contribution to biblical studies is a refreshingly new approach to Christian ethics—preached and taught. . . . The range is considerably wider than many evangelical books on ethics. . . . This is a helpful book, not least in the assistance it offers in preaching from the ethical material in Scripture.
—Reformed Theological Journal