The opening paper should have been given by Jonathan Burndside. In his absence Stephen Clark prepared a paper outlined below with the question s that were discussed in the six discussion groups. I am sorry I can't give any more than that.
Using the Bible Ethically: An Introduction to Contemporary Challenges
Stephen Clark, Minister, Freeschool Court Evangelical Church, Bridgend
I Using the Bible ethically in a multicultural world: identifying the issues
2. Christian living in the world
3. Matters of public and/or government policy
4. The ethical use of the Bible
II General principles
1. The importance of general revelation
2. The purposes and ends of government or ‘the powers that be’
3. On ‘reading the Bible 'ethically’
III Application of general principles
2. Christian living in the world
(i) Freedom of moral choice
(ii) Work and issues of conscience
(iii) Law and public policy
3. The ethical use of the Bible
1) How does one give a biblical account and explanation of the following:
a) that most people have a sense of good and evil, of right and wrong;
b) that people’s ideas of right and wrong, and good and evil, may differ so widely,
c) that some people appear to be devoid of all moral sense?
2) Is it the task of the church to pronounce upon moral issues to the world without reference to the gospel? Support your answer from Scripture and explain the implications of your view.
3) Can you identify any issues which some Christians regard as moral but upon which Scripture is either silent or says less than some claim? [Stephen has in mind post-1967 understandings of when life begins according to the Bible - not sure about this]
4) Some Christians believe remarriage after divorce is not permissible; other Christians believe that in certain circumstances scripture does allow remarriage.
a) What issues might arise, and how can they be resolved, where those in pastoral oversight in a church take differing views on this?
b) What issues might arise and how should they be resolved where neighbouring churches take a different view?
5) Is there a ‘one size fits all’ approach to evangelising those who espouse moral relativism? (i.e. Is the Tim Keller approach referred to in the paper the only approach to such people?) Support your answer from Scripture.
6) How should pastors approach the subject of preaching on passages which raise profound ethical questions and dilemmas? (e.g. Abraham offering Isaac; the wiping out of the Canaanites)?
7) Advise a church member in the following situations:
a) the member is a Sunday School teacher who works in a law firm in your town. His boss has told him to do the necessary legal work to apply for a licence for an ‘adult shop’. What principles will guide you in your counsel? [In answering this Stephen saw no problem with the work but continuing as a Sunday School teacher may be an issue]
b) A member as an employment lawyer who is instructed by a longstanding client of the firm, who is gay, to represent him in a ‘gay rights’ case against a Christian charity. What principles will guide you in your counsel?
c) A member is a tax lawyer who had been instructed by someone in the entertainment industry wither respect to a claim by HMRC for considerable underpayment of income tax. During the consultation with the client the member discovers that her ‘profession’ is the oldest one in the world – prostitution. What principles should guide the church member in this situation?