Posted By Jennie Chancey on August 27, 2011
There’s a thoughtful, cogent piece on so-called “narrative ethics” by Sarah Flashing over at The Center for Women of Faith in Culture:
“Christianity isn’t a list of rules, it’s a relationship” is how the cliché goes and I’ve never been very fond of it. While I agree that Christianity is about the transformative power of the gospel in the real lives of God’s children and not about keeping ice-cold rules without any practical meaning or relevance, in a very real sense a false dichotomy has been created between our “story” and what it means to live in a way that pleases God (ethics)….
We can have a qualified agreement with Charon that “moral principles do not suffice to fulfill ethical duties toward the sick” because this work should encompass a ministerial component obvious to so many of us engaged in theological ethics. We should listen, we should discuss, but eventually we do need to advise and this involves the communication of moral principles as understood through scripture. As Christians with particular theological commitments, no good reason exists to avoid sharing ethical principles derivative of our theology in answering difficult life and death questions.
Read the entire piece at THIS LINK. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on new ideas developing within Christendom, especially when they are really old, failed systems coming back in new guises. “Narrative ethics” is just a newer, friendlier term for “situational ethics” and denies the efficacy of Scripture to address moral questions and give us principles that do not shift with opinion. The logical fallacy at the root of this is that we cannot both hold to unchanging moral principles and treat people as human beings in need of love, comfort, and support when faced with difficult ethical choices. Scripture gives us the only sure (transcendent) foundation for making ethical choices in the first place. If we reject that, we only end up hurting ourselves and others and dragging society down a long, painful road to moral degradation. That some choices we face are difficult and heart-wrending doesn’t excuse us from choosing rightly. Instead, it should motivate us to trust God’s Word even more as we accept our finiteness and stop elevating our own feelings above His law.