Request your free, three-month trial to Tabletalk magazine. You’ll receive the print issue monthly and gain immediate digital access to decades of archives. This trial is risk-free. No credit card required.Try Tabletalk Now
Already receive Tabletalk magazine every month?
Verify your email address to gain unlimited access.
The word ethic is derived from the Greek word ethos, meaning moral character or custom. When we use the word ethic, we are speaking of a moral standard as to what is right and wrong. When we speak of the Christian ethic, we are referring to the established moral standard—according to creedal, confessional, and orthodox Christianity—founded on sacred Scripture, which is our only infallible guide for faith and life.
The church’s standard doesn’t change because God’s Word doesn’t change, and because God’s Word doesn’t change the Christian ethic doesn’t change. It is for that reason we do not speak of a Christian ethic but the Christian ethic—one established, authoritative, unchanging ethic that guides Christians in every culture, in every generation, and in everything we think, say, and do every day of our lives. The Christian ethic is the standard that we cannot change but that changes us, informs us, and directs us in all of life. That is why we are unwavering as to what is right and uncompromising as to what is wrong. And that is precisely one of the reasons the world hates us, because the world hates our unwavering and uncompromising Christian ethic.
The world loves compromise, and the degree to which a society prizes compromise and tolerance of evil will determine how much ethical change that society will be forced to endure. Without an unchanging standard of right and wrong, a society cannot retain a consistent ethical standard. And if there is no ethical standard of right and wrong, there cannot exist any ethic except that might makes right. The world has only perceptions of right and wrong based on constantly changing sentiments and sympathies. That is the reason the world’s definitions of right and wrong often entirely contradict one other. For the only standard the world has is itself.
The church’s standard doesn’t change because God’s Word doesn’t change, and His Word doesn’t change because He doesn’t change. Nevertheless, many professing Christians and many churches, both throughout history and today, so want to obtain seeming influence in the world that they push the world’s agenda of compromise and tolerance within the church. The evidence of this is that in many churches today it is considered worse to judge evil than to do evil. And those of us who know that we live and breathe before the face of God know that to compromise the Christian ethic is to compromise the unchanging faith once delivered to the saints.