Chapter

Ethical Reflection and Instruction

Gerald McKenny

in The Analogy of Grace

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780199582679
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722981 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199582679.003.0007
Ethical Reflection and Instruction

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How and by whom is it decided which among the possible courses of action available to the agent in a situation of choice is the one that God commands? This question is made both difficult and urgent by Barth's rejection of casuistry, that is, the rational procedure of specifying a general norm drawn from scripture, reason, or tradition in light of particular circumstances. Barth argues that the command of God comes to us already specified and calls only for our obedience. He seems thereby to deny that there are any rational constraints on what God might command or on what we might take to be God's command. This chapter examines Barth's portrayal of the encounter of human beings with the command of God as a prayerful hearing that includes the rational evaluation of possible courses of action and is preceded by instruction which offers approximate knowledge of what God will command based on the revealed history of God's encounter with humanity.

Keywords: deliberation; casuistry; moral practices; prayer; divine—human encounter; voluntarism; moral reason; boundary case; self‐examination; ethical instruction; prophetic ethos

Chapter.  34499 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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