Life Library — Christian Ethics

Life Ministry   •   The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod


  • Addressing Issues of Moral Complicity — Should a mother consent to having her child immunized with a vaccine that was developed many years ago from aborted fetal tissue? Should a student use an anatomy atlas that includes drawings that likely used hundreds of dissected cadavers from the Nazi death camps as models? Should a woman who is imminently dying of intractable heart failure consent to a heart transplant if she knows the new heart has been retrieved from a young man who was murdered a few hours ago? The common thread in these scenarios is the question of moral complicity. Does scripture or Christian tradition teach us anything about moral complicity?

  • Can War Be Just? — Current discussions of an unprovoked “first strike” against another country challenge the historic just-war doctrine. Is severely menacing behavior acceptable as legitimate basis for initiating an act of self defense? Never is the issue whether war is good. The issue is whether war is in all cases entirely avoidable.

  • Could You Be Addicted? — Whether some addictions may be more dangerous or less dangerous to our well-being, every kind of addiction seriously harms life to one degree or another. Christians can and do recover from addictions. Jesus is our freedom-giving Savior and Lord.

  • God’s Gift of Life — Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison reminds us to follow God’s Word as stated in 1 Tim. 6:18: “I shall love all and treasure God’s gift of life, womb to tomb.”

  • Human Ethics and Animal Rights — It seems incongruous that even as we freely kill unborn humans made in the image of God in demonstration of “a woman’s right to choose,” we find ourselves defending the helpless non-human creature that we apparently value more than an unborn human child.

  • Loving the Abused — It's important for victims to be accepted in a nonjudgmental atmosphere, one in which they can learn to trust people. Congregations can help victims and perpetrators of abuse by reaching out to those in your community with Christian love and trust.

  • Pro-Life Penalty — The state acts as God’s agent when it kills those who have been killed.

  • The Appeal of Ethical Relativism — This article gives replies to someone who rejects the idea of morality and is based on reason rather than revelation. But sometimes a discussion with someone who does not share the faith can continue on the basis of what Martin Luther called “civil righteousness.”

  • The Intrusion of Psychology Into Christian Theology — Modern psychology is not an innocent helping-discipline to carelessly borrow from the left-hand kingdom and merge with pastoral theology. There are theories and techniques in psychology that grossly distort Christian truth and inflict grave spiritual damage. Christian pastors should be primarily concerned with theology, not psychology.

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