"Evangelicals should think more about ethics, because it is fundamental to Scripture and relatively neglected among us compared to, for example, our interest in church growth, evangelism, missions, and doctrine," says David Gushee, professor of ethics at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee.
"This neglect relates directly to our moral sloppiness," he continues, "both in our attitudes and our behaviors, resulting in a disastrous indistinctness from the world. Every evangelical seminary has biblical scholars, theologians, preaching professors, and church historians. Every seminary should have ethicists."
David comes by his passion for ethics honestly. His father was a public policy analyst at the Congressional Research Service in Washington D.C., and many a dinner conversation was spent on ethical issues. After David's conversion at age 16, he found himself divorcing biblical teachings for "the real world around me," but at Southern Seminary, "the combination of moral/political awareness plus Christian faith found a synthesis in the discipline of Christian ethics."
Today, many years later, he finds himself consistently drawn to issues "at the intersection of faith, values, and public policy, to marriage and family issues, and to human-rights issues such as genocide. But I am also an ethics generalist who cares about any morally significant issue."
And what are the greatest ethical challenges for evangelicals today? "To develop a much more rigorous and thoughtful morality to go with our rigorous and thoughtful doctrinal and exegetical work. I dream of evangelical churches offering serious and sustained reflection on both personal and social ethics and then consistently emphasizing this non-negotiable dimension of the Christian ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more