Sunday, Oct 12, 2008: “Ethics After Easter; Chapter 4”

St. Mark’s Adult Education Meeting Summary
“Ethics After Easter” by Stephen Holmgren
A Study Led By Rev. Deacon Mary Slenski
Sunday, October 12, 2008


                                            Ethics After Easter (1)


                                       Chapter 4- The Book of Scripture


Proper 15 The Sunday closest to August 17


Almighty God, you have given your only Son to be for us a sacrifice for sin, and also an example of godly life: Give us grace to receive thankfully the fruits of his redeeming work, and to follow daily in the blessed steps of his most holy life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


This chapter explores “the distinctiveness of Christian ethics with regard to the Book of Scripture, addressing some of the issues raised for moral theology by the person of Jesus, his teaching and example, as well as by the church’s ongoing experience of the Risen Christ and the leading of the Holy Spirit.” (p. 68)


From the Catechism (BCP, p 853)


Q. What is the Old Testament?
A. The Old Testament consists of books
written by the people of the Old Covenant, 
under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit,
to show God at work in nature and history.


Q. What is the New Testament?
A. The New Testament consists of books
written by the people of the New Covenant,
under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit,
to set forth the life and teachings of Jesus and
to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom for all people.

“The Anglican reading of scripture is as much a corporate activity, shaped by history and disciplined by consensus, as an individual one… .scripture and the tradition of reasoned reflection based upon and shaped by it.” (p. 65)


“We know for example, that by the world “scripture” Paul meant the Hebrew Bible, our Old Testament, and he probably never imagined that in a short while the very letter in which he wrote those words would itself be seen as part of scripture.” (p. 62-63)


How might the Bible be used for ethics?
-as a mirror to our true human condition
-as a bookend that can keep upright an unruly shelf of books
-as a map of best route to our destination (p. 73)


Holmgren’s Axioms for Moral Theology


10. Anglicans distinguish between moral knowledge, which is revealed to everyone
through the Book of Nature, and saving knowledge, which is mediated through the
“special revelation” of the Book of Scripture. Saving knowledge shapes life after
baptism in such a way as to leave both continuity and discontinuity between the moral
knowledge possessed by Christian and that of other people and traditions.


(1) Stephen Holmgren, Ethics after Easter, The New Church’s Teaching Series Volume 9, (Cambridge, MA: Cowley Publications, 2000).