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Christian Ethics: Options and Issues Paperback – September 1, 1989

ISBN-13: 978-0801038327 ISBN-10: 0801038324 Edition: 0th

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Norman L. Geisler (PhD, Loyola University of Chicago) is cofounder and former dean of Southern Evangelical Seminary. He is the author of more than sixty books, including the Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics. He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic (September 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801038324
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801038327
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #281,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Norman Geisler (PhD, Loyola University) is president of Southern Evangelical Seminary and author or coauthor of over fifty books including Decide for Yourself, Baker's Encyclopedia of Apologetics, and When Skeptics Ask.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Cameron B. Clark VINE VOICE on August 10, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book is the most current of Geisler's books on ethics and incorporates many of the points of previous works such as Ethics: Alternatives & Issues, Options in Contemporary Christian Ethics, and The Christian Ethic of Love. The book is, as the title suggests, a presentation of CHRISTIAN ethics, so the Bible is taken as the standard text for discussing certain issues such as homosexuality, abortion, war/civil disobedience, and other similar ethical issues. But scientific and rational arguments are also used in addition to Biblical exposition to reach conclusions.

The first part of the book is concerned mainly with approaches to Ethics in general and Christian Ethics in particular. After perusing the field and debunking moral relativism, Geisler concludes that the best ethical position is what he calls "Graded Absolutism." This basically means that certain situations require one to decide which of two conflicting absolutes to obey. Geisler is sure to clarify that this is different than Situation Ethics (by Joseph Fletcher and others) which states that the situation determines the rule. On the contrary, the graded nature of absolutes determines which rule to apply in a given situation. Overall, a good read which still has me thinking and referring back to the book.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Dr. J. Sarfati on July 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
Geisler writes clearly and logically to:
1) Defend Christian ethics against non-Christian ones e.g. might makes right, good = pleasure. This includes showing that Christian ethics is deontological (duty-centred) rather than teleological (end-centred), e.g. utilitarianism. In particular, it is based on God's revelation. He rightly points out that even unbelievers have a law written on their hearts (Rom. 2:14-15), so they have no excuse for neglecting this general revelation. But one weakness is that Geisler insufficiently stresses that Scripture must be the guide for interpreting general revelation and for determining whether one's conscience is right.
2) Present a good defence that the Christian position is "graded absolutism", where moral absolutes exist, but a higher absolute exempts one from following a lower absolute. His gives the ethical dilemma of not telling the truth to save lives, describes how six different views deal with this, presents both pluses and minuses, then analyses them in detail in terms of Scripture to draw his conclusion.
3) Analyses hot topics such as abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, homosexuality and "biomedical issues". He presents both sides' arguments, usually from science and Scripture, then effectively critiques the view he disagrees with. The arguments seem so effective that there's little I would change even though the book is now 12 years old. So the book is an excellent handbook for all Christians who want to argue effectively about moral issues.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By James T Humphrey II on May 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is a decent introduction to Christian Ethics. Geisler starts with survey's of various approaches to Christian ethics, and then moves into various ethical issues such as abortion, war, ecology, and other major ethical topics. In each chapter, Geisler reviews what different positions on various topics are: for, against, and somewhere-in-between. He offers Biblical and philosophical criticisms of each surveyed position. The end of each chapter contains some suggested books for further reading.
There are some draw backs to this book though. Firstly, this book sometimes seems to read more like a stero manual, especially early on. Secondly, though this book tries to be objective in its survey of various views, Geisler tends to make it very evident what he believes the proper view is, and usually reserves his personal views for the end of each chapter. Thirdly, after the first 8 or 9 chapters or so, I tended to find myself simply skimming the book, as it became pretty easy to anticipate what he was going to say... which made the book rather dry to read. Forthly, I think it would have been nice if Geisler included a chapter on birth control. Finally, I think this book is a little out of date, and probably could use more interaction with more influencial theologians on each side of the various debates.
This book makes for a good introduction to Christian ethics, though it is not exactly a page turner. Ideal perhaps for Bible college text- which is why I read it.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
Particularly the abortion section,or it seemed to me anyway,as I've gotten in some discussions over that lately. The bit where Dr.Bernard Nathanson(now anti abortion,he was one of the leading proponents in the early movement)admits that the info about "tens of thousands" of women dying in back alley "coat hanger" abortions was a fabrication rather interesting. Looked at the "further reading" section at the end of the chapter and it suggested Nathanson's "Aborting America",he also has others available from amazon,as does Norma McCorvey(the real life Jane Roe) that should prove interesting.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bobby Bambino on September 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is divided into two parts, as the title suggests; options and issues. The options section goes through different philosophical frameworks of ethics-situationism, graded absolutism, unqualified absolutism, etc. This was very helpful for me. It gave me a good idea of the most common ways that people think about ethics, as well as the vocabulary to describe them. Of the six options, three (or possibly 2) of them are compatible with a Christian worldview. This makes for an interesting read, as Christians of good faith can come away with different opinions about the best system of ethics.

The second part was different issues- abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, ecology, etc. As is common in all of Geisler's books, he describes the issue, gives the best possible arguments for and against it, and then describes what he believes to be the correct (Christian) understanding. Much of what Norm claims is backed up by scripture.

I have a few criticisms. In the Chapter on Biomedical Issues, it seems that Norm approves of sexual impurity with oneself in the context of marriage. I was quite surprised by that. He also mentioned in passing birth control but didn't say too much about it. I would have liked to see an entire chapter devoted to the topic of contraception. This would be interesting from the POV of a Protestant, especially someone so thoughtful as Norm. Contraception is something that so few Protestants ever consider, and I think if they study the issue, they will realize that contraception is at the heart of abortion and the culture of death.

All in all, this was a very good book. A few soft spots, but other than those, a great place to learn about ethical worldviews as well as some biblical and philosophical arguments.
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