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Christianity demands very high ethical and moral standards from its followers. Explain this statement in relation to Pauls ethical teaching.

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Introduction

Transfer-Encoding: chunked ?Christianity demands very high ethical and moral standards from its followers.? Explain this statement in relation to Paul?s ethical teaching. [35] Most people think of Paul as a theologian, and a difficult theologian at that. Even within the New Testament there are people saying that Paul's letters were anything but easy to understand (2 Peter 3.16). But for Paul every theological argument ended with a series of ethical imperatives. In letter after letter the theological argument, however difficult it may be, ends with an ethical section which is crystal clear. In 1 Timothy the object of the letter is to show 'how one ought to behave in the household of God' (1 Timothy 3.15). The New English Bible margin translation of Titus 3.8 runs: ?Those who have come to believe in God should make it their business to practise virtue.' Paul is every bit as great and earnest an ethical teacher as he is a theologian. In examining his very high ethical and moral standards, a good place to start it how it relates to Jesus. ...read more.

Middle

The Christian is expected to behave to a very high standard in this regard. Peter Brown observes that 1 Corinthians 7 is "the one chapter that determines all Christian thought on marriage and celibacy for well over a millennium." The beliefs and practices of the Corinthian saints seem to vary greatly when it comes to matters of sexual values and conduct. Paul rebukes the church at Corinth for failing to exercise church discipline on a man living in an incestuous relationship with his father?s wife. Paul himself was celibate and he mentions he wishes everyone could be like that so they could dedicate more of their time to God, but he also teaches on morality within marriage. Paul's ethic of personal relationship is always a reciprocal ethic. This is the other side of the subordination. Paul never lays down a right without assigning a duty to it. The duty of the leader to the subordinate is every bit as clearly stated as the duty of the subordinate to the leader. The wife must be subject to her husband, but the husband must treat her with constant kindness and courtesy and consideration: ?Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved ...read more.

Conclusion

On the other hand, it could be said that Paul?s standards are reasonable, especially compared to the Sermon on the Mount which demands complete perfection. Paul was a great teacher of Christian liberty. Christian love is the control and the condition of Christian freedom. The Christian is free from the tyranny of Old Testament law, free from the obligations which governed the food and the drink of the Jew and free from a legalistic slavery. But that freedom must never be used as a licence to do anything; the believer must have some discretion. An example of this is eating meat sacrificed to idols. What a Christian eats is not of ethical importance, but Paul warns our behaviour may be a stumbling block for weaker believers. A modern example of this could be alcohol; it is not unlawful for a Christian to drink, but if he has a history of alcohol abuse he would be best refraining from it. In this way Paul?s ethics are not as black and white as the Old Testament, there is an element of relativism. Christians are justified by faith, not works. According to the theology website BeliefNet, ?Paul was perhaps Christianity's most important early convert and the first major missionary to preach the Christian gospel to non-Jewish people.? ...read more.

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