Applying Ethics

Seminary class digs into the deep issues of life and service

By Bryce McMinn

ARE YOU CRUEL FOR OPPOSING assisted suicide? Is it sexist to believe only men should be pastors? Is it bigoted to oppose gay marriage?

Maybe a doctor just gave you a grim prognosis for your mother’s survival after she had a massive stroke, and wants to know what treatment (if any) you want him to pursue. Maybe your son is using drugs and he doesn’t believe it’s wrong. After all, states are legalizing marijuana now. Maybe your Facebook friend is bashing “Christian homophobes” for not baking cakes for gay weddings. Maybe a family member is living with her boyfriend and they’re coming for Christmas dinner. What’s the biblical response?

The AFLC’s Free Lutheran Seminary emphasizes the biblical concept of the pastor as preacher and teacher, and the congregation as a priesthood of believers (I Peter 2:9-12). The pastor isn’t the only priest in the congregation. Neither the leadership of the congregation nor the activity of ministering are solely his responsibility. The congregation isn’t passively instructed by the pastor and taught all they need to know. All Christians should actively participate in ministry and/or the leadership of the congregation. The pastor isn’t the only one with a holy calling. God intends for the gifts He has given you to be used for active works of service toward the building up of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12).

Last fall in Dr. James Molstre’s class, “Christian Ethics,” we discussed many of the pressing ethical dilemmas of our day (abortion, assisted suicide, homosexuality, gender issues, cohabitation, etc.), searching the Word of God and developing a biblical framework to use when confronting those issues.

But this process of developing a biblical framework for dealing with ethical dilemmas isn’t something only pastors should know how to do. Pastors are not to be alone in lovingly preaching, teaching, and guiding sinners through the Word to the cross of Christ. It’s a great idea to speak with your pastor, asking him for guidance on how the Word of God deals with various issues. It’s an even better idea to also learn from your pastor and from other godly members of the congregation how to develop a biblical framework for dealing with these challenges yourself by examining the Word of God. When you can do that, you can actively teach and guide others.

This is a calling not only for pastors, but for every Christian. It’s especially a calling for parents and grandparents to guide their children and grandchildren (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). Notice that God, in this passage of commands, does not say that your pastor alone is responsible, but you are responsible: “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts” (vs. 6).

Your pastor is a critically important guide, preacher, and teacher. You, too, are intended by God to know the Word of God, to have a biblical framework for dealing with ethical dilemmas, and to actively minister to others and make disciples in His name.

“He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

Bryce McMinn, AFLTS middler, is a member of Ruthfred Lutheran, Bethel Park, PA.

This article first appeared in Kinship Magazine, Winter 2018 Edition.

Kinship is a magazine of the Free Lutheran Schools. Stay up to date on latest news, student stories, classroom highlights, and fun tidbits about life on the AFLBS and AFLTS campus.

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