Within our lifetimes developments in technology have brought staggering changes to the way people can be conceived, born, healed or die. And prospects for the future are as mind-boggling as what has already happened. Ethics intends to set forth what ought to be, not what is. But it should help us evaluate the rightness or wrongness of what is and tells us how to act in light of it. Unfortunately changes in what is in modern life have far outdistanced reflection upon how we ought to live in such a time. This seems to be especially true among Christian ethicists, though even secular ethicists disagree about how we should live in this changing world. Into this culture, Drs. Feinberg have written the 2nd edition of the classic Ethics For A Brave New World that addresses topics such as moral decision making and the Christian, abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, birth control, homosexuality, genetic engineering, stem cell technology, divorce and remarriage, the Christian and war and the Christian and the secular state.
The authors take their queue not from secular philosophy but from the Word of God. Christians are commanded to love their neighbors. In fulfilling that obligation one will undoubtedly consider whether a specific act in a particular situation is just and benevolent to the neighbor– to do so seems necessary in view of what it means to love someone. But what makes the loving act morally good is not that it is benevolent or just but that God commanded it. What makes an act an act of love is at least in part that it exemplifies benevolence and justice. What makes such a loving act moral is that it obeys God’s command to love. The authors contend that the “example of Christ ought to compel us. It is unthinkable that while on earth Christ never confronted a situation where two duties conflicted so as to make it impossible to do both. In fact Scripture says he was tempted in all points as we are (Heb. 4.15), and since we face such situations, he must have, too” (39). Since Christ was without sin as the God-man by the grace of God and through the empowering work of the Holy Spirit Christians living as sojourners in a sinful world as saints and sinners will confront moral decisions and through them develop a biblical worldview and increasingly reflect God and His glory by obeying God and His Word in an increasingly hostile and pagan culture.
Ethics For A Brave New World 2nd Edition is essential reading for anyone who wishes to engage the moral collapse of contemporary culture with truth of God’s Word. Readers of this book will come away informed about the issues, conversant with the debates that swirl around these challenges, and equipped and inspired to engage them in a way that glorifies God. This will be a resource I turn to often whenever I’m writing or thinking through ethical issues. I highly recommend this book for Bible College, seminary students for use in their training for future ministry and for Pastors, Sunday school teachers and Professors as they prepare to engage an increasingly hostile culture and proclaim the truth of God’s Word to it.
Authors: John S. Feinberg and Paul D. Feinberg
Publisher: Crossway Books (2012)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Crossway Books book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”