30-year-old professional Christine is burnt out and in need of a holiday. She’s always wanted to go on a cruise, but is also keenly aware that her church is currently behind budget and struggling to pay staff.
18-year-old Jin feels called to the mission field. He is interested in studying music at university, but his parents want him to pursue medicine, and he wonders if becoming a doctor would be more helpful for mission work.
60-year-old Lindsay is concerned about his best mate, Nikolaj: Nikolaj seems to be going through a rough patch, what with the sudden death of his wife, getting retrenched and developing arthritis in his hips. Lately he’s been asking Lindsay big questions about pain, suffering and why a good God would allow such things to exist. Lindsay isn’t quite sure how to respond: he’s keen to point his friend to Jesus, but struggles to find helpful things to say.
Have you ever found yourself in situations like this? Have you ever struggled to know what to do or say? Deep down, you feel like you should know, because you were created by God for the good works he has prepared for you. But the way forward is not always clear.
This is where it’s useful to think about ethics. I know what you’re thinking: “Ethics? How is that useful? Isn’t that another one of those nebulous concepts armchair philosophers like to throw around?” But the core of the idea is that it’s a moral framework that helps us figure out how to live.
As Christians, our knowledge of God’s plans and purposes as revealed in his word means we already have a moral framework to draw from. For us, right and wrong is determined by God’s will: we know lying is wrong because he said, “You shall not bear false witness” (Exod 20:16); we know that loving others is good because he said, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Lev 19:18).
But Christianity is not a set of rules—as if what to do or how to think is going to be exactly the same for every situation. Christianity is about relationship—relationship with our creator and King. As CCL Director Tony Payne writes:
moral demand on us is, in one sense, simple and universal: love God and love your neighbour. No-one is exempt from this, and no-one has a higher obligation than anyone else. It’s a truth that addresses every one of us identically. And yet the landscape in which we live out this singular command is complex and varied, and as individuals we are complex and varied. (The Briefing #343, April 2007)
The purpose of the Centre of Christian Living is to help you figure out how to live out that command— how to bring biblical ethics to everyday issues—how to live as a Christian in the world. All our events, podcast episodes and web content is geared towards this.
However, our 25 May event is slightly different: whereas in the past, our speakers have addressed specific everyday issues, this special half-day course aims to help you think biblically about any issue, whatever it might be. Tony Payne and Chase Kuhn will outline a simple framework for bringing the Bible’s view of reality to how we should live in the day to day. In other words, it’s a course on how to do Christian ethics.
We hope you will join us. Find out more about “A very short course in Christian ethics”.
This article is reproduced with permission from the Autumn issue of Moore Matters.