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Nt Presentation

  1. 1. New Testament Ethics A Closer Look
  2. 2. New Testament vs. Hebrew Bible <ul><li>Christianity has provided observers with a moral compass that emphasizes love, compassion, and faith. </li></ul><ul><li>This conception of morality, however, radically differs from the deed – based understanding of ethics that preceded it in the Hebrew Bible. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Ethical Inconsistencies <ul><li>Perhaps most eloquently clarified in Paul’s letter to the Romans. </li></ul><ul><li>Paul suggests that the Mosaic Torah is merely intended to demonstrate that, because of humanity’s inescapable sinful nature, it will forever fall short of ethical acceptability. </li></ul><ul><li>The New Testament solves this problem by indicating that mankind’s imperfection is compensated for via Jesus’ sacrificial death. </li></ul>
  4. 4. An Appropriate Evaluation <ul><li>We must consider an author’s theology and Christological understanding of Jesus, his works, and sayings, in order to construct an accurate ethical model. </li></ul><ul><li>Each canonical scribe maintains a different Christology, thus, their ethical emphases will pertain to different subjects. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Canonical Works in Need of Ethical Consideration <ul><li>The Synoptic Gospels </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mark </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Matthew </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Luke </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Gospel of John </li></ul><ul><li>The Letters of Paul </li></ul>
  6. 6. The Gospel of Mark <ul><li>Primary Emphasis: Suffering for the Kingdom. </li></ul><ul><li>The ethic of suffering in Mark’s gospel would lead us not to expect too much specific teaching material. </li></ul><ul><li>Nonetheless, some of the key human moral experiences do appear in Mark’s narrative. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I.e: sexuality, family, money, possessions, violence and power of the state </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. The Gospel of Mark Continued <ul><li>Mark’s ethical considerations are directly bound to the story of Jesus. </li></ul><ul><li>Mark’s ethical vision emphasizes the in-breaking kingdom of God. </li></ul><ul><li>This radical vision of the kingdom also dominates Mark’s account of how Jesus handles the law. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Strengthens certain lawful requirements such as divorce </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disregards food purity laws </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In all cases, this is the effect of Mark placing the double love command at the center of Jesus’ teaching </li></ul>
  8. 8. Overall Ethic of Mark’s Gospel <ul><li>For Mark, following Jesus entails imitating his deeds and words, seeking to obey his ethical teachings while emulating his lie of self-sacrifice in a loving acceptance of others. </li></ul>
  9. 9. The Gospel of Matthew <ul><li>Mathew contains what many consider to be the quintessence of Jesus’ teaching, the Sermon on the Mount; however, a closer look at Jesus’ deeds and words reveal much more ethical material. </li></ul><ul><li>True righteousness is shown in Jesus’ interpretation of the law throughout the narrative of his activities. </li></ul><ul><li>Matthew’s account of Jesus’ of “higher righteousness” is evident in His challenging his audience to express God – like love that will be a radiating light for the entire world (Mt. 5:15-16, 43-48) </li></ul>
  10. 10. Matthew’s Perception of the Law <ul><li>Matthew’s account emphasizes that Jesus does not come to abolish God’s previous Law, but to fulfill it (Mt. 5:17 – 20). </li></ul><ul><li>However, the author maintains that the Law’s primary focus is justice, mercy, and faithfulness (Mt. 23:23). </li></ul><ul><li>In this context, the major moral experiences of human life, such as marriage and the family, wealth, violence, power, are brought under this true interpretation of the law. </li></ul>
  11. 11. The Gospel of Luke <ul><li>Luke’s biographical narrative contains substantial amounts of ethical material, particularly about wealth and the poor, women and the marginalized, marriage and the family, peace and violence and how one is to relate to the state. </li></ul><ul><li>Luke’s portrait of Jesus as the ‘friend of sinners’ leads into his account in both the gospel and Acts of the mixed and inclusive community of those who wish to become disciples and to follow Jesus’ words and deeds, teaching and example. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Compassion: A Pillar of Luke’s Gospel <ul><li>Luke’s narrative places ethical importance on forgiveness and compassion to all. </li></ul><ul><li>When Luke describes forgiveness and love of enemies, he emphasizes compassion as the attitude which motivates persons. Those who love their enemies exemplify God’s mercy” (6: 35-36). </li></ul><ul><li>Luke suggests the importance of these considerations through the parable of the prodigal son who is welcomed home by a compassionate father, and the Good Samaritan, who cares for the Jewish “enemy.” </li></ul>
  13. 13. The Gospel of John <ul><li>Many people seem to think that John has no moral teachings and little relevance for Christian ethics today. </li></ul><ul><li>However, a biographical approach to his gospel provides a narrative rich with the divine love that enters the world through Jesus’ sacrificial example. </li></ul>
  14. 14. The Gospel of John Continued <ul><li>In John’s Gospel, Jesus stresses that his followers should “keep my commandments” (John 15:10-17). </li></ul><ul><li>However, he never specifies what those commandments might be. </li></ul><ul><li>Apart from his “new commandment” to love one another (John 13:34, 15:12), there is practically no comment regarding family, marriage, violence, or power, as in the Synoptic Gospels. </li></ul>
  15. 15. The Letters of Paul <ul><li>For Paul, the ethical life of Christians must express their newfound identity as individuals who live in Christ’s holy spirit. Thus, ethical considerations are founded upon the believing community’s desire to be holy, blameless, and favorable in God’s eyes. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Paul and the Law <ul><li>The claim that Christians become righteous not through perfect Torah observance, but through Christ’s sacrificial death, is central to Paul’s conception of morality (Rom. 6: 15-23). </li></ul><ul><li>The superiority of God’s gift of salvation demonstrates Paul’s belief that Torah regulation ultimately threatens the gospel message’s purpose of bringing salvation to Jews and Gentiles alike. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Paul and Authority <ul><li>Possibly because he believes that the Day of Judgment will soon arrive, Pauline tradition maintains that the good order of society is best maintained through proper submission and obedience to superiors, especially political authority (Rom. 13: 1-7). </li></ul>
  18. 18. Synthesizing the Canonical Works <ul><li>Although conceptions of appropriate ethical behavior substantially vary within the New Testament’s composition, various aspects are consistent. </li></ul><ul><li>These aspects include worship, communal relationships, the sharing of wealth, sexual morality, and unconditional love. </li></ul>

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