The Divine Imperative: A Study in Christian Ethics

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James Clarke & Co., 2003 - Religion - 732 pages
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One of the major works of the great German theologian Emil Brunner, The Divine Imperative deals with what we ought to do. People are unconvinced that there is an inviolable moral obligation governing human life because they do not believe that the 'good' can be precisely and clearly known. Haven't some generations called bad what others have called good' Aren't moral standards relative' Doesn't religion lack uniform and practical moral guidance' Brunner discusses the moral confusion we face. He analyses the nature of the Good, showing why the Christian faith as understood by the Protestant Reformers provides the only true approach and answer to the ethical problem. Philosophical ethics, whether ancient or modern, cannot correctly define the Good, because the Good is regarded either as too abstract and absolute or as too concrete and relative. Christianity, by contrast, sees the moral problem as one of responsibility between humans who are created so as to respond to God. He created men for responsive fellowship with Him, establishing orderly ways of acting in the world. Correct understanding of the nature of society, family, state, economic life, is needed to discern one's duty. Because Brunner's analysis is at once fundamental and comprehensive, this book remains a fresh and compelling treatment of the moral problem. It offers a provocative discussion and solution of a perennial human problem.
 

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Contents

AUTHORS PREFACE TO THE GRRICAN EDITION
9
THE PROBLEM
17
Ethics
34
The Deepening of the Problem by the Deepening of
44
SECTION nTHE CHRISTIAN MESSAGE AND NATURAL
51
v11 The Christian Interpretation of the Contradiction
61
vnr Justification by Grace alone as the Removal of
68
The Definition of the Christian Ethic
82
INTRODUCTION 391
291
xxvn1 Religious and Moral Practice as Limiting Cases
308
MARRIAGE
340
CHAPTER XJDOL Individual Problems connected with Marriage
356
SECTION 3THE COMMUNITY OF LABOUR
384
xxxrv The Nature and the Task of the Economic Order
395
The Christian in the Present Economic Order
416
xxxv1 The Nature of the State
440

Past and Present
94
The Divine Command as Gift and Demand
114
The New Man as Created and Claimed by God
152
SECTION 3THE NEIGHBOUR
188
The Calling
198
xx1 The Natural Orders and the Kingdom of God
208
xx11 Service as an Office and as a Personal Relation
220
SECTION 4THE WORKS OF LOVE
234
xxrv The Hallowing of the Means by the End
249
Autonomy Natural Law and Love
261
xxv1 Success and Progress
280
CHAPTER xxxv11 The Acting Christian in the Acting State
460
SECTION 5THE COMMUNITY OF CULTURE
483
xxx1x Science
491
Art
499
The Free Forms of Community
517
SECTION 6THE COMMUNITY OF FAITH
523
XLTV The Church in Action
539
The Action of the Church
555
NOTES AND APPENDICES
569
INDEX
725
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