Category Archives: Ethics

Relating to people who identify as LGBT+, with grace and truth

There are not many issues confronting Christian churches, in western post-Christian cultures these days, which are more troubling and difficult than how the church should relate to people who identify as LGBT+. The sexual revolution has gotten more diverse in recent decades, and it has become a political force which frequently threatens both freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Within this context, Christian churches and individuals are struggling to figure out how to relate … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Ethics, Pastoral Theology | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Should our kids be playing hockey on Sunday?

Recently, I received an email message from a nephew with a question that I know many Christian parents have asked. Sabbath observance The message was short and sweet, and its questions are important. Why don’t we honour that commandment?  Is there something in the New Testament that ‘overrides’ that?  Jesus healing?  Is hockey on Sunday bad?  Going to a restaurant? My answer Hi _______, You ask an important question, and I’m very pleased that you … Continue reading

Posted in Ethics | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

A female soul in a male body?: a theological proposal

The Vanity Fair article on Bruce Jenner’s gender transition into Caitlyn Jenner has created a lot of buzz. Given the dominant perspective on sexual diversity in North American culture, much of the public response has been enthusiastically affirmative. Meanwhile, Christians are trying to figure out what to make of the stories of people with gender dysphoria. How are we to understand this theologically and to assess it morally? A Christian perspective on gender dysphoria from … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropology (theological), Ethics | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Some stimulating insights from Oliver O’Donovan

I found many profound and stimulating statements in this brief interview with Oliver Donovan, one of the greatest minds and hearts at work in Christian ethics in our time. I particularly enjoyed some comments on his use of other scholars. Here are a few to ponder:   I often feel that biblical studies get too close to the text actually to read it. But we need them, and owe an incalculable debt to them for their most important … Continue reading

Posted in Ethics, Theological method | Tagged | 1 Comment

How can people who do not love God be considered not to be sinning?

In an earlier blog post, I argued that sinners in hell reach a point at which they no longer sin. In the comment thread, Chris Wettstein has asked: “If, then, the reprobate will not be ‘sinning’ can they be said to be ‘loving God’ and ‘loving their neighbour’?” I started to write a response to Chris’s question in the comment thread, but it became too extensive for that venue, and so I decided it would … Continue reading

Posted in Eschatology, Ethics | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

A perspective on mixed-orientation marriages

Recently, I attended a city Christian Prayer Breakfast which is an annual event bringing together a large group of evangelicals. The guest speaker talked about the ministry of Christians in the community, and he mentioned how good and important it is for churches to be communities that welcome diversity. Among the kinds of diversity that he encouraged within the church was “sexual orientation.” My first thought was: “Whoops, that is ‘politically correct’ but it is … Continue reading

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Premonitions and the difficulty of discerning God’s will

In a group meeting recently, I commented on my interest in the story of the 5 people who had checked in for a Malaysian Airlines flight but then failed to board, which meant that their baggage had to be removed before the flight could depart. Eventually that plane disappeared. Why did those people not board? Did they have a premonition of danger and act to avoid it? Was their failure to board unintentional, an act … Continue reading

Posted in Divine revelation, Ethics, Providence | Tagged | 5 Comments

Is orientation sinful or can only behavior be deemed sin?

“Same-sex acts are sinful, but same-sex orientation is not.” I have often read or heard that sentiment, and it began to make sense to me, particularly in cases where the orientation was not brought about by choices made by the individual. A very helpful article by Denny Burk (“Is homosexual orientation sinful?”) has challenged me to reconsider my perspective in this regard. I’ll outline Burk’s perspective here, for your consideration, before I make some concluding … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropology (theological), Ethics, Hamartiology | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

The pain of raising children

In a small group with which we meet weekly, I mentioned recently the concern I often hear expressed about the departure of younger people from the church. “Millennials” are frequently mentioned in this regard, and some studies have indicated that it pertains  particularly to those who have attended university. Later in the week, a group member shared their pain as parents because their own children, though having professed faith when young, were no longer involved … Continue reading

Posted in Ethics, Family | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Is Proverbs 31 describing the ideal wife?

I have often heard Proverbs 31 cited as a biblical description of the ideal wife, particularly in Mother’s Day sermons. John Walton and Andrew Hill have another take on what is going on in that passage (Old Testament Today, 2nd edition, p. 380), which looks right, so I’m happy that Louis McBride brought it to my attention in a blog post today. Walton and Hill note a problem that has been created by the reading … Continue reading

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