Graded Absolutism and "Christian Ethics: Contemporary Issue and Options" Book Review

Graded Absolutism and "Christian Ethics: Contemporary Issue and Options"
A review of "Christian Ethics: Contemporary Issue and Options" by Norman L. Geisler.
# 152797 | 1,465 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2012 | US
Published on Apr 30, 2013 in Religion and Theology (Christianity) , Literature (General)

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This paper discusses how the book, "Christian Ethics: Contemporary Issues and Options", has been a significant voice in the evangelical discussion about ethics. In particular, the paper looks at Geisler's unique approach to a view of ethics he terms "graded absolutism". The paper further examines how Geisler offers a fundamentally flawed ethical paradigm that is wholly unsatisfying how its position is simply untenable. The paper concludes that although Geisler may be a significant voice, he is not the voice of biblical reason in the matter of ethics.


From the Paper:

"Conflicting absolutism, on the other hand, freely admits that, while there are absolutes, there will be conflicts among them and the agent must choose the lesser of the two evils; however, as Geisler points out, in this system: "there is a way out of the dilemma. It is not a way to avoid sin; by the nature of the case, sin is unavoidable. Rather, it is a way to avoid bearing the guilt of the sin for long" by confessing the sin and receiving forgiveness of God. Finally, there is the system of graded absolutism, which is the view that Geisler promotes. This view holds, with conflicting absolutism, that there are indeed real conflicts among God's moral laws. However, unlike conflicting absolutism, Geisler's system removes the guilt of sin that attends the disobedience of the "lesser" law, or the law that the agent choose to disobey in order to obey the "greater" one."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Disbrey, Claire. Wrestling with Life's Tough Decisions. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2007.
  • Geisler, Norman L. Christian Ethics: Contemporary Issue and Options. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010.
  • Gill, David W. Doing Right: Practicing Ethical Principles. Downers Grove: IVP, 2004.
  • Reuschling, Wyndy Corbin. Reviving Evangelical Ethics: The Promises and Pitfalls of Classic Models of Morality. Grand Rapids: BrazosPress, 2008.

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