Sunday, Sep 21, 2008: “Ethics After Easter; Chapter 1”

St. Mark’s Adult Education Meeting Summary
“Ethics After Easter” by Stephen Holmgren
A Study Led By Rev. Deacon Mary Slenski
Sunday, September 21, 2008


                                            Ethics After Easter (1)


                                   Chapter 1- The Walk from the Font


Collect for Thursday in Easter Week


Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s Body may show forth in their lives what they profess. by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


How then shall we live? This is the question, and it’s a very Anglican question.


“Anglicans like to quote Evagrius, a Christian from the early centuries of our era, who said that someone who prays is a theologian, and a theologian is someone who prays. Thinking about the prayer that you live is the same as thinking about the faith that you live.” (p. 3)


“Christian moral theology is centered on a particular vision, the vision of God. How we view our relationship with God, and God’s involvement in our lives, begins to provide a focus for how we view ourselves, and what we will do.” (p. 3)


“For [Kenneth] Kirk, [20th C. Anglican ethicist], the duty of ‘the Christian moralist’ is to
stimulate in us the spirit of worship rather than set before us codes of conduct. ” (p. 4)
“Enabled by the Spirit, our ethics are the means by which we govern our actions, and spirituality is the means by which we grow into the presence and reality of God.” (p. 6)

General Thanksgiving


“Ethics and spirituality have this in common: each is how we live out in our daily lives our response to the saving reality of God in Jesus Christ.” (p. 8) Also, Col 3: 10.

‘” What should I do now, here in these particular circumstances?’ is very different from asking what someone should do in an unspecified generic situation.” (p. 13)


The General Thanksgiving


Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks
for all your goodness and loving-kindness’ .
to us and to all whom you have made.
We bless you for our creation,  preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies,
that With truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise,
not only With our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up our selves to your service,
and by walking before you
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, ~
to whom, With you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.

Holmgren’s Axioms for Moral Theology
1. Moral theology is about a life of holiness. After baptism, we seek to walk “in holiness and righteousness all our days.” In moral theology we seek to describe and commend a life worthy of our calling. (This axiom is the foundation of all the rest.)

2. Moral theology is properly considered under the heading of sanctification, not justification. It is part of our walk from the font. Doing good Will not save us; we do the good because we have been saved.

3. Moral theology is not the same thing as, but is intimately related to, pastoral care. Moral theology begins With the consideration of generic principles; pastoral care begins With the consideration of a particular situation. –

4. Church conventions and other legislative gatherings do not ‘make’ the church’s moral
theology. Instead, they face the challenge of applying its moral principles to community
legislation and discipline.

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