When ever I study ethics, I’m left with a question: What is the role of government in all of this?
To answer this I’m setting up a directed study. Meaning I present a professor, in this Case Glen Stassen, with a list of questions I would like to answer, and together we make a reading list. (about 2000 pages) I do the readings, and the research, we talk about it, and a 30 page paper latter, I get a grade. In this case I’ll be doing it in conjunction with 2 other people.
In order to better understand the role of government and ethics in relationship to the church, the state, and the people, I will be doing an analysis of Western political thought since 1600, and its affect on America and Christianity in America. Specifically, I would like to focus on the practical implications for Christ followers in this paradigm.
Here are some questions I would like to answer during this directed study.
Regardless of what I think on a given issue, what is the role of the church and the state?
How should a Christian politician conduct himself?
How should a pastor/elder conduct herself in relationship to the State?
By what criteria should we decide when to advocate for legislation/judicial action?
And when should persuasion proceed or even negate legislation?
This last question is of particular interest to me.
In order to answer these questions we’ll be looking at some more theoretical stuff, the likes of Lock and such, and then seeking to apply what we have learned to the contemporary setting.