The book that I have chosen to do my book review on is Introducing Christian Ethics, written by Henlee H. Barnette. This book deals with many Christian ethical decisions based on biblical foundations that are applied to various major problems. Some of the major problems pertain to the self, marriage and family, race relations, economic life, and political life. This book provides assistance to those in need of ethical guidance. This type of guidance is in great need as world and Christian ethical aspects are becoming a growing concern.
In writing this book, Barnette had a specific purpose for his readers to obtain. Barnette’s purpose of this volume is to provide an introduction to Christian ethics which gives more attention to the biblical basis and the role of the Holy Spirit than is usually given in current texts on the subject. Barnette also hope for both college and seminary students who have had no orientation in Christian ethics will find the book helpful. The book is broken down into two parts, each with its own specific area of study for the readers. In Part One Barnette focuses on the basic principles of Christian morality. Within this section the nature and scope of Christian ethics are discussed followed by the examination of the ethical content of the Old Testament, also pointing out the ethics of the law, the prophets, and the sages. Part One is concluded by the ethical teachings of Jesus, Paul, and other New Testament writers paying special attention to the role of the Holy Spirit in morality.
Part Two of the book is centered on the problems of Christian Ethics. In this section the responsibility to the self and to society are examined. There are many suggestions as to the task of the church in relation to social issues, which appear in most chapters of Part Two.
After reading Introduction to Christian Ethics I believe that Barnette did indeed accomplish his purpose. Barnette was able to introduce Christian ethics in a very effective manner. Not only did he give a great introduction to Christian ethics, but he also backed his writing up with scripture and research allowing him to convey his message with a strong biblical basis. Barnette also gives special attention to the role of the Holy Spirit in this book. In chapter ten, Barnette discusses the role of the Holy Spirit in Christian ethics, entitling it Ethics of the Holy Spirit.
As a college student with no prior experience in the study of Christian ethics this book was very helpful. The information that was presented was very well researched and backed by scripture. This in turn helped to implement a strong biblical emphasis on the subject. The material covered by Barnette can be very tough to not only write about but also to learn. The author set the book up nicely in order for the reader to learn and understand the material relatively easily. Barnette broke the book down into two separate parts. Each part is broken down into several chapters allowing the reader to learn quite effortlessly as the book progresses. This layout of the book made for an extensive yet understandable introduction to Christian ethics.
In this book Barnette elaborates on some very interesting points about Christian ethics. I agree with the points that he has written about. Scripture and very knowledgeable research back up these points. Many of the views and points that Barnette makes in this book, I myself already shared. However, there were some views that he makes that I have learned and come to agree with.
One of the views that Barnette and I already shared before I read the book was that of the «highest good» in Christian ethics. The «highest good» in Christian ethics is not happiness but instead seeking to determine the nature and purpose of God’s will for human action. This in turn will bring true happiness. Another view that I shared with Barnette is that of the difference of Christian ethics and philosophical ethics. There are four fields of study closely related to Christian ethics: Theology, sociology, psychology and philosophy. There are many similarities in common with these fields and there are also some differences. The difference between Christian Ethics and philosophical ethics is that Christian ethics begins with revelation from God and philosophical ethics begins with human reason.
One of the views that Barnette makes that I have learned and come to agree with is that of the «personal» and «social» gospel. Barnette states, «There is no such thing as a ?personal’ gospel as over against a ?social’ gospel. There is but one gospel which is both personal and social. Personal regeneration and social reconstruction are demanded by the gospel.» Although this is the first instance that I have heard of the «personal» vs. the «social» gospel, I agree with Barnette’s thinking on the subject. Another view that I have learned and come to agree with is that of the relation of the 10 Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount. The 10 commandments are the cornerstone of Hebrew ethics, standing in the same relation to the religion of Israel as the Sermon on the Mount does to Christianity.
This book is a well-written book that accomplishes the purpose intended by the author. Henlee H. Barnette discusses many views and points on the subject of Christian ethics and related fields. I agree with the well researched and scriptural based views that he presents throughout the entirety of the book. I do not recall disagreeing with any of the points and that Barnette expresses in his writing. I thoroughly enjoyed the book Introducing Christian Ethics, and gained a great introductory perspective on the subject of Christian ethics.