In this contemporary classic originally published in 1963, Paul Lehmann answers the central question posed time and again to Christians throughout the ages: "What am I as a believer in Jesus Christ and a member of his church to do?" As one of the ethicists who contributed to the 1960s' "situation ethics" debate, Lehmann argues that while principles for moral action can be rules of thumb, there are no absolute moral norms beyond the general norm of love. Intending a double meaning in his "contextual ethics," he insists that in moral decision making, Christians must simultaneously examine the situation at hand and the theological context of the faith. Lehmann contends that Christians are to act in every situation in ways that are consistent with God's humanizing purposes, but what that means changes from context to context and requires strong faith-shaped discernment.
Paul L. Lehmann taught for many years at Harvard Divinity School and Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
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