Biblical Authority in Christian Ethics

3592 WordsDec 2, 200915 Pages
Justin Collett Christian Ethics What does it mean for the Bible to have authority in Christian ethics? Sitting comfortably and dying on a cross are not concepts often joined together. Yet our culture conditions individuals to pursue fulfillment and comfort. Martin Luther King, Jr. remarked that our preachers like to preach “nice little soothing sermons on how to relax and how to be happy” or “go ye into all the world and keep your blood pressure down and I will make you a well-adjusted personality.” However, “My Bible tells me that Good Friday comes before Easter,”1 and the cross is not a piece of jewelry you wear but something you die on. But when I am honest, the idea of lowering my blood pressure often captures the depth of my…show more content…
These distinctions are not simply semantics or the splicing of conceptual hairs. They are important to the foundational claims of Biblical authority. II. The Bible and Biblical Authority What is the Bible and why is it authoritative? The what and the why each give rise to the other. Historical criticism revealed that the formation of the Bible took place over many years and even centuries. The following is a gross oversimplification: Oral traditions and pieces of parchment were passed from generation to generation, and the gradual collection and arrangement, editing, and revising of these different parts eventually formed individual books. Books that held essential truths and stories and histories became more central and popular to the communities that espoused them. These books were thought of as authoritative because the communities through the years affirmed their value, truth, and centrality for their faith, and as a result the books shaped the lifestyles of the communities. It could be said that the communities strived to be obedient to the expectations, the calling, the personal sacrifice, and identity formation held within the books. Such books were compiled into canon, but the important note is that communities affirmed the authority of the books through the processes of their formation. The Bible is held by the Christian community to be the Living Word of God. God inspired the actual writings of Scripture, though the scope of inspiration differs

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