Christian ethics is a branch of Christian theology that defines virtuous behavior and wrong behavior from a Christian perspective. Systematic theological study of Christian ethics is called moral theology.
Christian virtues are often divided into four cardinal virtues and three theological virtues. Christian ethics includes questions regarding how the rich should act toward the poor, how women are to be treated, and the morality of war. Christian ethicists, like other ethicists, approach ethics from different frameworks and perspectives. The approach of virtue ethics has also become popular in recent decades, largely due to the work of Alasdair MacIntyre and Stanley Hauerwas.
In the Wesleyan tradition, Christian theology (and thus Christian ethics) are informed by four distinguishable sources known as the Wesleyan Quadrilateral. The four sources are scripture, tradition, reason, and Christian experience.
According to D. Stephen Long, Jewish ethics and the life of Jesus figure prominently in Christian ethics, but "The Bible is the universal and fundamental source of specifically Christian ethics". Long also claims "Christian ethics finds its source in diverse means, but it primarily emerges from the biblical narrative".
From its beginnings, Christian ethics has also had a sometimes intimate, sometimes uneasy, relationship with Greek, Hellenistic and Roman philosophy.:16
According to Servais-Théodore Pinckaers, priest and theologian, the sources of Christian ethics are the "Scriptures, the Holy Spirit, the Gospel law, and natural law" which is seen, in the Bible, as humankind's natural moral inclination to truth and goodness which "provides the first principles of moral action".:xxi, xiii
The New Testament can be seen as both a contributor to, and a product of, early Christian ethics.:1 The earliest Christian writers depended most heavily upon the Hebrew canon, even while in the process of writing the New Testament.:1
The tremendous diversity of the Bible means that it does not have a single ethical perspective. It has a variety of perspectives which have created points of conflict for Christian ethics.:2,3 Since the New Testament became the accepted canon, Christians have, in general, seen it, and the Old Testament, as morally authoritative. Seeing it as the revealed Word of God, it is used "to teach, reprove, correct, and train in righteousness". But reason has also been a foundation for Christian ethics, right alongside revelation, and Christian ethicists have not always agreed upon "the meaning of revelation, the nature of reason and the proper way to employ the two together.":3,5
Other ethical conflicts created by the diversity of the Bible are found, for example, where the Bible strongly affirms "the goodness of created, physical, even sensual existence" yet also asserts the spiritual as transcending it.:6 "Much of the work of twenty centuries of Christian ethics has been an effort to resolve this tension.":6 Within the New Testament, there is a tension between inclusivity and exclusivity, as there is in all three of the Abrahamic religions. The God of the Bible is seen as the inclusive God of all nations and all people, yet there is also "special membership" in the exclusive community identified with Him. Christians and non-Christians have, throughout much of history, interacted on significant moral and legal questions concerning this particular conflict.:8 The value of each individual life, and the self-sacrifice necessary for the health of community, are ethical conflicts found in the nature of Grace and Law. Christian ethics requires doing justice to both sides.:9 Paul the Apostle is the source of the phrase "Law of Christ", though its meaning and the relationship between Paul and Judaism are disputed. Justice and mercy are also areas of conflicting ethics.
A related ethical conflict is between the love of God and the use of political force for moral ends such as upholding law. The New Testament generally asserts that all morality flows from the Great Commandment, to love God with all one's heart, mind, strength, and soul, and to love one's neighbour as oneself. In this, Jesus was reaffirming teachings of Deut 6:4–9 and Lev 19:18. He united these commands together and proposed himself as a model of the love required in John 13:12, known also as the New Commandment. Yet political authority and responsibility are also recognized as necessary and even good. Jesus says "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's" (Matthew 22:21). Other passages such as Romans 13:1,4 and 1 Peter 2.13–14 seem to indicate that "political authority, even when expressed through the power of the sword, is a part of the divine scheme of things".:11 How such opposing concepts can be reconciled has fueled debates through twenty centuries of Christian ethics.:12 There has also been enough conflict between the biblical concepts of respect for authority and teachings of equality to "provide grounds for enduring controversy".:15 The Bible says people are created in the image of God and capable of goodness and morality, and they are also naturally sinful and fallen.:88
These are the biblical reference points to which all Christian ethics has repeatedly returned.:15
Christian ethics began its development during the period of Early Christianity which is generally thought to have begun with the ministry of Jesus (c. 27-30) and ended with the First Council of Nicaea (325).:51 It emerged out of the heritage shared by both Judaism and Christianity with scholars such as J. Philip Wogaman saying that the earliest Christian writers depended heavily on the Hebrew scriptures.:1 From its beginnings, Christian ethics depended on such ancient traditions, including important legacies from Greek and Hellenistic philosophy.:1,16 Early Greek philosophers such as Thales, Heraclitus, and Democritus, Plato and Aristotle, were convinced that rationally explainable principles could be found that would bring coherence to human understanding.:17,18 The movements their views created helped set the agenda for Christian ethics.:18–21
The Council of Jerusalem, as reported in Acts 15, may have been held in Jerusalem about 50AD. Its decree, known as the Apostolic Decree, was held as generally binding for several centuries and is still observed today by the Greek Orthodox. Toward the end of the second century, more sophisticated thinking began to appear.:24 This thinking owed much to Platonism, and became increasingly dominant among orthodox Christian authors.
"The world of the earliest Christian centuries was framed by the Roman empire" where Christians had little political influence for three centuries.:23 Many aspects of Roman life conflicted with central aspects of the Christian faith, and it became necessary for the church to think through the meaning of those for Christians. Early Christian writings give evidence of "a vivid reaction to the social setting" as Christian ethics sought "moral instruction on specific problems and practices".:24 These were not sophisticated ethical analyses, but were instead the practical application of the teachings and example of Jesus to confront specific issues.:24 The Christian minority felt the pressure to defend their theology, ethics, practices and rituals in the face of legal and cultural hostility. This "age of the apologists" lasted through the second and third centuries.
After Christianity became legal in the fourth century, the range and sophistication of Christian ethics expanded and had a defining and lasting influence upon Christian thought through such figures as Augustine. :774 Augustine identified a movement in Scripture "toward the 'City of God', from which Christian ethics emerges", as illustrated in chapters 11 and 12 of the book of Genesis.
Virtues and principles
In the centuries following the fall of the Roman empire, practices of penance and repentance, and a recognition of the vices that lead to a need for them, became practical considerations.:52–56 Monks carried the practice of penance with them on their missionary journeys, using books known as penitentials which listed known sins and what should be done to remedy them.:57 These were often arbitrary personal opinions, with a lack of systemization that created more problems for the church than they solved.:57 In the 8th and 9th centuries, the Penitentials were subject to Carolingian reforms furthering the development of Christian ethics.:58
The seven Christian virtues are from two sets of virtues. The four cardinal virtues are Prudence, Justice, Restraint (or Temperance), and Courage (or Fortitude). The cardinal virtues are so called because they are regarded as the basic virtues required for a virtuous life. The three theological virtues, are Faith, Hope, and Love (or Charity).
The Bible mentions additional virtues, such as in the "Fruit of the Holy Spirit," found in Galatians 5:22-23: "By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit it is benevolent-love: joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, benevolence, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is absolutely no law against such a thing."
The medieval and renaissance periods saw a number of models of sin listing the seven deadly sins and the virtues opposed to each.
- Prudence: also described as wisdom, the ability to judge between actions with regard to appropriate actions at a given time
- Justice: also considered as fairness, the most extensive and most important virtue
- Temperance: also known as restraint, the practice of self-control, abstention, and moderation tempering the appetition
- Courage: also termed fortitude, forbearance, strength, endurance, and the ability to confront fear, uncertainty, and intimidation
- Faith: belief in God, and in the truth of His revelation as well as obedience to Him (cf. Rom 1:5:16:26)
- Hope: expectation of and desire of receiving; refraining from despair and capability of not giving up. The belief that God will be eternally present in every human's life and never giving up on His love.
- Charity: a supernatural virtue that helps us love God and our neighbors, the same way as we love ourselves.
Scholasticism and Thomism
A sharper line of separation between philosophy and theology, and in particular between ethics and moral theology, is first met within the works of the great Schoolmen of the Middle Ages, especially of Albertus Magnus (1193–1280), Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274), Bonaventure (1221–1274), and Duns Scotus (1274–1308). Philosophy and, by means of it, theology reaped abundant fruit from the works of Aristotle, which had until then been a sealed treasure to Western civilization, and had first been elucidated by the detailed and profound commentaries of Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas and pressed into the service of Christian philosophy.[relevant? ]
In his Summa Theologiae, Thomas locates ethics within the context of theology. For example, he discusses the ethics of buying and selling and concludes that although it may be legal (according to human law) to sell an object for more that it is worth, Divine law "leaves nothing unpunished that is contrary to virtue". The question of beatitudo, perfect happiness in the possession of God, is posited as the goal of human life. Thomas also argues that the human being by reflection on human nature's inclinations discovers a law, that is the natural law, which is "man's participation in the divine law".
Modern Christian ethics
After a couple centuries of stagnation, in the sixteenth century ethical questions are again made the subject of careful investigation. Writers include the Francisco de Vitoria, Dominicus Soto, Luis de Molina, Francisco Suárez, Leonardus Lessius, Juan de Lugo, Juan Caramuel y Lobkowitz, and Alphonsus Liguori. Since the sixteenth century, special chairs of ethics (moral philosophy) have been funded in many Catholic universities.
Among topics they discussed was the ethics of action in case of doubt, leading to the doctrine of probabilism.
With the rejection of the doctrine of papal infallibility and the Roman Magisterium as the absolute religious authority, each individual, at least in principle, became the arbiter in matters pertaining to faith and morals. The Reformers held fast to Sola Scriptura and many endeavored to construct an ethical system directly from the scriptures.
Lutheran Philip Melanchthon, in his Elementa philosophiae moralis, still clung to the Aristotelian philosophy strongly rejected by Martin Luther, as did Hugo Grotius in De jure belli ac pacis. But Richard Cumberland and his follower Samuel Pufendorf assumed, with Descartes, that the ultimate ground for every distinction between good and evil lay in the free determination of God's will, an antinomian view which renders the philosophical treatment of ethics fundamentally impossible.
In the 20th century some Christian philosophers, notably Dietrich Bonhoeffer, questioned the value of ethical reasoning in moral philosophy. In this school of thought, ethics, with its focus on distinguishing right from wrong, tends to produce behavior that is simply not wrong, whereas the Christian life should instead be marked by the highest form of right. Rather than ethical reasoning, they stress the importance of meditation on, and relationship with, God. Other important Protestant Christian ethicists include H. Richard Niebuhr, John Howard Yoder, Glen Stassen, and Stanley Hauerwas.
Charles Sheldon's 1896 book, In His Steps was subtitled "What Would Jesus Do?" and posed the question in the form of a novel. In a popular movement of the 1990s, many used the phrase "What would Jesus do?" (abbreviated WWJD) as a personal motto.[relevant? ] The question was a reminder of their belief in a moral imperative to act in a manner that would demonstrate the Love of Jesus through the actions of the adherents.
Areas of applied Christian ethics
Christian views on abortion have a complex history as there is no explicit prohibition of abortion in either the Old Testament or New Testament books of the Christian Bible. While some writers say that early Christians held different beliefs at different times about abortion, others say that, in spite of the silence of the New Testament on the issue, they condemned abortion at any point of pregnancy as a grave sin, a condemnation that they maintained even when some of them did not qualify as homicide the elimination of a fetus not yet "formed" and animated by a human soul. The Didache, a Christian writing usually dated to sometime in the mid to late 1st century, prohibits abortion in Ch 2.
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that "human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception". Accordingly, it opposes procedures whose purpose is to destroy an embryo or fetus for whatever motive (even before implantation), but admits acts, such as chemotherapy or hysterectomy of a pregnant woman who has cervical cancer, which indirectly results in the death of the fetus, is morally acceptable. Since the first century, the Church has affirmed that every procured abortion is a moral evil, a teaching that the Catechism of the Catholic Church declares "has not changed and remains unchangeable".
Since the twentieth century Protestant views on abortion have varied considerably, with Protestants to be found in both the "anti-abortion" and "abortion-rights" camps. Conservative Protestants tend to be anti-abortion whereas "mainline" Protestants lean towards an abortion-rights stance. African-American Protestants are much more strongly anti-abortion than white Protestants. Even among Protestants who believe that abortion should be a legal option, there are those who believe that it should nonetheless be morally unacceptable in most instances.
Although scripture is mostly silent on abortion, various elements of scripture inform Christian ethical views on this topic, including Genesis 4:1; Job 31:15; Isaiah 44:24, 49:1, 5; and Jeremiah 1:5, among others.
Current views on alcohol in Christianity can be divided into moderationism, abstentionism, and prohibitionism. Abstentionists and prohibitionists are sometimes lumped together as "teetotalers", sharing some similar arguments. However, prohibitionists abstain from alcohol as a matter of law (that is, they believe God requires abstinence in all ordinary circumstances), while abstentionists abstain as a matter of prudence (that is, they believe total abstinence is the wisest and most loving way to live in the present circumstances).
Some Christians, including Pentecostals, Baptists and Methodists, today believe one ought to abstain from alcohol. Fifty-two percent of Evangelical leaders around the world say drinking alcohol is incompatible with being a good Evangelical. Evangelicals in Asia, Africa, and also in Muslim-majority countries are decidedly against drinking.
Christian views on divorce are informed by verses in Matthew, Mark, Deuteronomy, and others and political developments much later. In the synoptic Gospels, Jesus emphasized the permanence of marriage, but also its integrity. In the book of Matthew Jesus says "Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so." When Jesus discusses marriage, he points out that a certain talent is needed to live together with another human being. Not having assets of their own, women needed to be protected from the risk of their husbands' putting them on the street at whim. In those times marriage was an economic matter. A woman and her children could easily be rejected. Restriction of divorce was based on the necessity of protecting the woman and her position in society, not necessarily in a religious context, but an economic context. Paul concurred but added an exception for abandonment by an unbelieving spouse.
The Catholic Church prohibits divorce, but permits annulment (a finding that the marriage was never valid) under a narrow set of circumstances. The Eastern Orthodox Church permits divorce and remarriage in church in certain circumstances. Most Protestant churches discourage divorce except as a last resort, but do not actually prohibit it through church doctrine.
Sexual morality and celibacy
Modern Christian sexual morality rejects adultery, extramarital sex, prostitution, and rape. Christian views on the moral benefits of celibate and marital lifestyles has varied over time.
In his early writings, Paul described marriage as a social obligation that has the potential of distracting from Christ. Sex, in turn, is not sinful but natural, and sex within marriage is both proper and necessary. In his later writings, Paul made parallels between the relations between spouses and God's relationship with the church. Paul encouraged both celibate and marital lifestyles.
While Jesus made reference to some that have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven, there is no commandment in the New Testament that Jesus' disciples have to live in celibacy. The general view on sexuality among the early Jewish Christians was quite positive.
During the first three or four centuries, no law was promulgated prohibiting clerical marriage. Celibacy was a matter of choice for bishops, priests, and deacons.
Protestantism has rejected the celibate (unmarried) life for preachers since the Reformation. Many evangelicals prefer the term "abstinence" to "celibacy". Assuming everyone will marry, they focus their discussion on refraining from premarital sex and focusing on the joys of a future marriage. But some evangelicals, particularly older singles, desire a positive message of celibacy that moves beyond the "wait until marriage" message of abstinence campaigns. They seek a new understanding of celibacy that is focused on God rather than a future marriage or a lifelong vow to the Church.
Within Christianity there are a variety of views on the issues of sexual orientation and homosexuality. The many Christian denominations vary in their position, from condemning homosexual acts as sinful, through being divided on the issue, to seeing it as morally acceptable. Even within a denomination, individuals and groups may hold different views. Further, not all members of a denomination necessarily support their church's views on homosexuality. In the Bible, procreative marriage is presented as "the norm".
In modern times, Christian organizations reject any permissibility of slavery, but Christian views on slavery did vary both historically. In the eighteenth and nineteenth century debates in the UK and the US, passages in the Bible were used by both pro-slavery advocates and abolitionists to support their respective views.
Violence, war, and pacifism
Christian pacifism is the position that any form of violence is incompatible with the Christian faith. Christian pacifists state that Jesus himself was a pacifist who taught and practiced pacifism, and that his followers must do likewise. Notable Christian pacifists include Martin Luther King Jr., Leo Tolstoy, and Ammon Hennacy.
Jesus opposed use of violence in his statement that "all who will take up the sword, will die by the sword", which suggested that those who perpetrate violence will themselves face violence. Historian Roland Bainton described the early church as pacifist – a period that ended with the accession of Constantine.
In the first few centuries of Christianity, many Christians refused to engage in military combat. In fact, there were a number of famous examples of soldiers who became Christians and refused to engage in combat afterward. They were subsequently executed for their refusal to fight. The commitment to pacifism and rejection of military service is attributed by Allman and Allman to two principles: "(1) the use of force (violence) was seen as antithetical to Jesus' teachings and service in the Roman military required worship of the emperor as a god which was a form of idolatry."
The first conscientious objector in the modern sense was a Quaker in 1815. The Quakers had originally served in Cromwell's New Model Army but from the 1800s increasingly became pacifists. A number of Christian denominations have taken pacifist positions institutionally, including the Quakers and Mennonites.
Wealth and poverty
There are a variety of Christian views on poverty and wealth. At one end of the spectrum is a view which casts wealth and materialism as an evil to be avoided and even combatted. At the other end is a view which casts prosperity and well-being as a blessing from God. Some Christians argue that a proper understanding of Christian teachings on wealth and poverty needs to take a larger view where the accumulation of wealth is not the central focus of one's life but rather a resource to foster the "good life". Professor David W. Miller has constructed a three-part rubric which presents three prevalent attitudes among Protestants towards wealth. According to this rubric, Protestants have variously viewed wealth as: (1) an offense to the Christian faith (2) an obstacle to faith and (3) the outcome of faith.
American theologian John B. Cobb has argued that the "economism that rules the West and through it much of the East" is directly opposed to traditional Christian doctrine. Cobb invokes the teaching of Jesus that "man cannot serve both God and Mammon (wealth)". He asserts that it is obvious that "Western society is organized in the service of wealth" and thus wealth has triumphed over God in the West.
Simon Blackburn states that the "Bible can be read as giving us a carte blanche for harsh attitudes to children, the mentally handicapped, animals, the environment, the divorced, unbelievers, people with various sexual habits, and elderly women". He notes morally suspect themes in the Bible's New Testament as well. He notes some "moral quirks" of Jesus: that he could be "sectarian" (Matt 10:5–6), racist (Matt 15:26 and Mark 7:27) and placed no value on animal life (Luke 8: 27–33).
Elizabeth S. Anderson, a professor of philosophy and women's studies at the University of Michigan, states that "the Bible contains both good and evil teachings", and it is "morally inconsistent". She concludes that, "Here are religious doctrines that on their face claim that it is all right to mercilessly punish people for the wrongs of others and for blameless error, that license or even command murder, rape, torture, slavery, ethnic cleansing, and genocide. We know such actions are wrong." To Anderson, Peter and Paul elevate men over their wives "who must obey their husbands" (1 Corinthians 11:3, 14:34–5, Eph. 5:22–24, Col. 3:18, 1 Tim. 2: 11–2, 1 Pet. 3:1) in the New Testament household code.
- Aristotelian ethics
- Brotherly love (philosophy)
- Buddhist ethics
- Choose the right
- Christian Morals
- Christian pacifism
- Christian philosophy
- Christian values
- Christian vegetarianism
- Christian views on the Old Covenant
- Council of Jerusalem
- Ethics in religion
- Ethics in the Bible
- Good works
- Such as Hebrews 8:6 etc. See also Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.: "The central thought of the entire Epistle is the doctrine of the Person of Christ and His Divine mediatorial office ... There He now exercises forever His priestly office of mediator as our Advocate with the Father (vii, 24 ff)."
- https://www.academia.edu/539377/A_Brief_Look_at_MacIntyres_Virtue_Ethics_and_Theological_Application[dead link]
- Wesleyan Quadrilateral, the Archived 2 February 2017 at the Wayback Machine – A Dictionary for United Methodists, Alan K. Waltz, Copyright 1991, Abingdon Press. Revised access date: 13 September 2016
- Long 2010, p. 13 harvnb error: multiple targets (3×): CITEREFLong2010 (help)
- Childress & Macquarrie 1986, p. 88
- Long 2010, pp. 23–24 harvnb error: multiple targets (3×): CITEREFLong2010 (help)
- Wogaman, J. Philip (1993). Christian Ethics A Historical Introduction. Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 9780664251635.
- Pinckaers, Servais (1995). Noble, Mary Thomas (ed.). The Sources of Christian Ethics (paperback). Catholic University of America Press. ISBN 9780813208183.
First published in 1985 as Les sources de la morale chrétienne by University Press Fribourg, this work has been recognized by scholars worldwide as one of the most important books in the field of moral theology.
- Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics: "There is no 'Christian ethics' that would deny the authority of the Bible, for apart from scripture the Christian church has no enduring identity". Childress & Macquarrie 1986, p. 60
- Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics: Christian churches have always considered it a part of their calling to teach, reprove, correct, and train in righteousness, and they have always considered the Bible 'profitable' for that task. With virtually one voice the churches have declared that the Bible is an authority for moral discernment and judgment. And Christian ethicists—at least those who consider their work part of the common life of the Christian community—have shared this affirmation Childress & Macquarrie 1986, p. 57
- Kenney, John Peter. "Patristic philosophy". In Craig, Edward (ed.). The Shorter Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Taylor & Francis. p. 773. ISBN 9781134344086.
- Long, D. Stephen (2010). Christian Ethics: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199568864.
- Wogaman, J. Philip (1993). Christian Ethics A Historical Introduction. Westminster/John Knox Press. ISBN 9780664251635.
- Karl Josef von Hefele's commentary on canon II of Gangra Archived 20 December 2016 at the Wayback Machine notes: "We further see that, at the time of the Synod of Gangra, the rule of the Apostolic Synod with regard to blood and things strangled was still in force. With the Greeks, indeed, it continued always in force as their Euchologies still show. Balsamon also, the well-known commentator on the canons of the Middle Ages, in his commentary on the sixty-third Apostolic Canon, expressly blames the Latins because they had ceased to observe this command. What the Latin Church, however, thought on this subject about the year 400, is shown by St. Augustine in his work Contra Faustum, where he states that the Apostles had given this command in order to unite the heathens and Jews in the one ark of Noah; but that then, when the barrier between Jewish and heathen converts had fallen, this command concerning things strangled and blood had lost its meaning, and was only observed by few. But still, as late as the eighth century, Pope Gregory the Third (731) forbade the eating of blood or things strangled under threat of a penance of forty days. No one will pretend that the disciplinary enactments of any council, even though it be one of the undisputed Ecumenical Synods, can be of greater and more unchanging force than the decree of that first council, held by the Holy Apostles at Jerusalem, and the fact that its decree has been obsolete for centuries in the West is proof that even Ecumenical canons may be of only temporary utility and may be repealed by disuse, like other laws."
- Long 2010, pp. 27–28 harvnb error: multiple targets (3×): CITEREFLong2010 (help)
- Barbara Aland, Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger and Allen Wikgren, The Greek New Testament, 4th ed. (Federal Republic of Germany: United Bible Societies, 1993, c1979)
- "Cardinal Virtues of Plato, Augustine and Confucius". theplatonist.com. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
- Pickar, C. H. (1981) . "Faith". The New Catholic Encyclopedia. 5. Washington D.C. p. 792.
- Catechism of the Catholic Church n. 2087
- Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica, "Of Cheating, Which Is Committed in Buying and Selling." Translated by The Fathers of the English Dominican Province. pp. 3  Archived 27 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 19 June 2012
- Thomas Aquinas (1920), "First Part of the Second Part (Prima Secundæ Partis)", Summa Theologica, English Translation by the Fathers of the English Dominican Province (second and revised ed.), Kevin Knight at NewAdvent.org (2008)
- "St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I–II, 26, 4, corp. art". Newadvent.org. Retrieved 30 October 2010.
- Sheldon, C. (1896). In His Steps Archived 7 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine. First published by the Chicago Advance in serial form.
- When Children Became People: the birth of childhood in early Christianity by Odd Magne Bakke
- "Abortion and Catholic Thought: The Little-Told History" Archived 18 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine
- Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood by Kristin Luker, University of California Press
- Jeffrey H. Reiman, Abortion and the Ways We Value Human Life (Rowman & Littlefield 1998 ISBN 978-0-8476-9208-8), pp. 19–20
- Daniel Schiff, Abortion in Judaism (Cambridge University Press 2002 ISBN 978-0-521-52166-6), p. 40
- Didache "English translations of the Didache at Early Christian Writings"
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2270 Archived 8 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine
- David F. Kelly, Contemporary Catholic Health Care Ethics (Georgetown University Press 2004 ISBN 978-1-58901-030-7), p. 112
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2271 Archived 14 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine
- McGrath, Alister E.; Marks, Darren C. (2004). The Blackwell companion to Protestantism. John Wiley & Sons. p. 294. ISBN 978-0-631-23278-0. Retrieved 5 January 2012.
- Olson, Laura R. (1 June 2000). Filled with spirit and power: Protestant clergy in politics. SUNY Press. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-7914-4589-1. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
- Childress & Macquarrie 1986, p. 2
- Kenneth Gentry (2001). God Gave Wine. Oakdown. pp. 3ff. ISBN 0-9700326-6-8.
- "Global Survey of Evangelical Protestant Leaders". Pew Forum. 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
[E]vangelical leaders are divided over the consumption of alcohol. About four-in-ten (42%) say it is compatible with being a good evangelical, while 52% say it is incompatible. Leaders from sub-Saharan Africa are especially likely to oppose alcohol use; 78% of them say it is incompatible with being a good evangelical, as do 78% of evangelical leaders who live in Muslim-majority countries.
- Childress & Macquarrie 1986, p. 161
- e.g., Matthew 5:31–32, Matthew 19:3–9, Mark 10:2–12, Luke 16:18, see also Expounding of the Law#Divorce
- Henry Chadwick, The Early Church, ISBN 978-0140231991
- Jonathan Hill, What Has Christianity Ever Done for Us?: How It Shaped the Modern World 978-0830833283
- See Timothy (now Archbishop Kalistos) Ware, The Orthodox Church Archived 17 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine
- Childress & Macquarrie 1986, p. 10
- 1Corinthians 6:9–10:
- Catechism of the Catholic Church 2355 Archived 24 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine
- Catechism of the Catholic Church 2356 Archived 24 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine
- Will Deming, Paul on marriage and celibacy: the hellenistic background of 1 Corinthians 7. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 2003; 2nd edition.
- "Husbands love your wives even as Christ loved the church. Husbands should love their wives as their own bodies" Ephesians 5:25–28
- 1Corinthians 7:1–16
- Matthew 19:12
- Geels, Antoon & Roos, Lena. Sexuality in world's religions. University press, Lund, Sweden 2010.
- Celibacy Archived 14 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine. Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2009. 31 October 2009.
- Colon, Christine, and Bonnie Field. Singled Out: Why Celibacy Must Be Reinvented in Today's Church. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos, 2009.
- Childress & Macquarrie 1986, p. 580
- "Mennonite Church USA". Retrieved 11 February 2016.
Preamble: To join with other Christian denominations in a united voice against the evil of human trafficking, we present this statement of our opposition to all forms of human slavery.
- "Pope Francis". Archived from the original on 16 February 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
Inspired by our confessions of faith, today we are gathered for an historic initiative and concrete action: to declare that we will work together to eradicate the terrible scourge of modern slavery in all its forms.
- "Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury". Archived from the original on 16 February 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
At a time when faiths are seen wrongly as a cause of conflict is a sign of real hope that today global faith leaders have together committed themselves publicly to the battle to end modern slavery.
- "Southern Baptist Convention". Retrieved 11 February 2016.
...Be it further resolved, that we lament and repudiate historic acts of evil such as slavery from which we continue to reap a bitter harvest...
- Colm McKeogh, Tolstoy's Pacifism, Cambria Press, 2009, ISBN 1-60497-634-9.
- Roland Bainton, quoted in Robin Gill, A Textbook of Christian Ethics, 3rd ed, Continuum, 2006, ISBN 0-567-03112-8, p. 194.
- "No known Christian author from the first centuries approved of Christian participation in battle; citations advocating pacifism are found in → Tertullian, → Origen, Lactantius, and others, and in the testimonies of the martyrs Maximilian and Marcellus, who were executed for refusing to serve in the Roman army. Grounds for opposition to military service included fear of idolatry and the oath of loyalty to Caesar, as well as the basic objection to shedding blood on the battlefield.", Fahlbusch, E., & Bromiley, G. W. (2005). Vol. 4: The encyclopedia of Christianity (2). Grand Rapids, Mich.; Leiden, Netherlands: Wm. B. Eerdmans; Brill.
- Allman, Mark; Allman, Mark J. (2008). Who Would Jesus Kill?: War, Peace, and the Christian Tradition. Saint Mary's Press.
- The New conscientious objection: from sacred to secular resistance Charles C. Moskos, John Whiteclay Chambers – 1993 "The first conscientious objector in the modern sense appeared in 1815. Like all other objectors from then until the 1880s, he was a Quaker. The government suggested exempting the pacifist Quakers, but the Storting, the Norwegian "
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- Evangelium Vitae
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- King, Jr., Martin Luther; Clayborne Carson; Peter Holloran; Ralph Luker; Penny A. Russell (1992). The papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-07950-7.
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- Miller, David W. "Wealth Creation as Integrated with Faith: A Protestant Reflection" Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Views on the Creation of Wealth 23–24 April 2007
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- Anderson, Elizabeth (2007). "If God Is Dead, Is Everything Permitted?". In Hitchens, Christopher (ed.). The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever. Philadelphia: Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0-306-81608-6.
- Blackburn, Simon (2001). Ethics: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-280442-6.
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- De La Torre, Miguel A., Doing Christian Ethics from the Margins, Orbis Books, 2004.
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- al-Faruqi, Ismail Ragi. Christian Ethics: an Historical and Systematic Analysis of Its Dominant Ideas. McGill University Press, 1967. N.B.: Written from an Islamic perspective.
- Hein, David. "Christianity and Honor." The Living Church, 18 August 2013, pp. 8–10.
- Christian Ethics Reading Room, Online Literature, Tyndale Seminary
- Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics – Institute based in Cambridge, England. KLICE triannually publishes Ethics in Brief, issues of which can be read here.
- Catholic Encyclopedia: Ethics
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- Three Good Deeds, Collection of resources focused on the Judeo-Christian values of caring for the environment, yourself and others
- Compassion in Judaism, Collection of resources dedicated to the Jewish perspective on the values of compassion and loving-kindness