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ST755 Christian Ethics in the Lutheran Tradition

Christian Ethics is the discipline in which Systematic Theology meets pastoral care and the Christian life.

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ST755 Christian Ethics in the Lutheran Tradition

Description: Christian Ethics is the discipline in which Systematic Theology meets pastoral care and the Christian life. This course is a theological study of human agency, created, fallen, and made new in Christ. It proceeds on Lutheran assumptions such as the focus of the doctrine of original sin on the First Commandment, the bondage to sin that corrupts our choices, the incapacity even of God’s own law to bring us to live good lives. It pays special attention to the renewal of human agency through faith in Christ by the work of the Holy Spirit in Word and Sacrament, and the lifelong struggle of the new, believing person with the “Old Adam.” It likewise examines the ordering of the human field of action by God the Creator, to whom we are reconciled in Christ. We consider the neighbor God sets before us, the “holy orders” (Luther) of church, marriage/household, and civil community, and the necessity of both work and Sabbath. The course concludes with reflection on suffering and the approach of death as challenges to the believer’s renewed agency. Readings come largely from Lutheran theologians from Luther to Dietrich Bonhoeffer and more contemporary writers. Special attention is paid to Luther’s Christian Liberty as a theological template for understanding human agency theologically. The goal of the course is that pastors and leaders in the church learn to think theologically about the created setting in which human beings live and act (whether they know it or not) and the bearing of sin, law, gospel, and faith on human agency within that setting.