Dogma en etos : die eenheid van die Bybelse leer en lewe as begronding vir die Christelike etiek in die moderne samelewingskonteks
Saaiman, De Wet
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Due to the fact that Scripture is the authoritative Word of God (Belgic Confession. Article 5), the infallible written Word of God. is and stays the basis for Christian ethics. Scripture is not just another single source for Christian ethics among other sources, but it is the decisive source among all other sources. The question then arises - how is it possible in the ever-changing life situation of the modem day context of society? In an ever increasing secularized society places the Christian life and also the Christian ethics under more pressure. The acceptance of the authority of Scripture is therefore indispensable for Christian ethics. Scripture does however not present a text as an absolute answer for every possible or similar ethical problem. The deep-seated principles of Scripture must be exposed. From these principles norms should be derived that is applicable to the modem problem. The problem statement that follows from this culminates as the following: Can a thematic analysis of the Biblical dogma present a fundamental working foundation for Christian ethics in modem day society and serve as a corrective for the problematic approaches of a biblicistic as well as an over critical view of Scripture for the basis of ethics? The central theoretical argument of the study is the following: A thematic analysis of the Biblical dogma can indeed present a fundamental, working foundation for Christian ethics in modem day society and can serve as a corrective for the problematic approaches of a biblicistic as well as an over critical view of Scripture for the basis of ethics. In the second chapter the definitions of what could be defined as Christian ethical perspectives and principles is examined. In other words, the purpose of the chapter is to examine and to give a broad overview of the understanding of ethics, morality, morals etc. The qualified deontological approach is chosen due to the fact that normative approach with its focus on Scripture as authoritative therein plays a big role. The third chapter focuses on which view of Scripture and use of Scripture is normally applied in Reformed ethics in the use or interpretation of Scripture. Special attention is given to the authority of Scripture, view of Scripture and an attempt is made to convey the hermeneutical points of departure (axioms) in order to derive an intra-biblical use of Scripture. The chapter comes to the conclusion that even though the Christian ethicist does have in theory at his disposal a biblical-founded hermeneutical model it does not safeguard him against a faulty use or interpretation of Scripture in practice in the fourth chapter the present-day Scriptural principles that serves as basis and cadre for the interpretation of Scripture in light of the answering of Christian ethical questions is examined. In light of the present-day situation seems that although there is a sound hermeneutical axiom that serves as filters in the interpretation of Scripture in the reformed ethics, in practice either a biblicistic or a Criticism of Scripture approach to Scripture is chosen. The approaches of the fundamentalistic/biblicistic and Criticism of Scripture is examined and m e s to the conclusion that both, in their own way, does bring the authority and the message of Scripture in disrepute. In the event of the fundamentalistic and biblicistic approach the divine inspiration character of Scripture is overemphasized and all Scriptural Utterances is treated on the same level to such an instance that everything is sanctioned. In the event of the Criticism of Scripture the human fallible character is again overemphasized to the extent that the normative authority of Scripture for Christian ethics is not taken into account . The chapter comes to the conclusion mat a "third way” must be examined to circumvent the many pitfalls of either a fundamentalistic/biblicistic of Criticism of Scripture in the interpretation of Scripture in light of a modem day ethical problem. In the fifth chapter an adjudication and evaluation of the quality of the use or Interpretation of Scripture in light of capital punishment within the biblical view of a right to life is given as a representative of modem day ethical problems. In light of the principles given in Chapter 3 and 4 it is shown that Scripture is most often misused despite fair hermeneutical principles Only to reflect the ethicist own preconceived ideas. The last chapter indicates an approach that might possibly serve as an alternative/valid use or interpretation of Scripture in reformed ethics other than a typical biblicistic/fundamentalistic or Criticism of Scripture approach. The chapter draws to the conclusion that the contextual-paradigmatic approach is at this time the only capable approach of acknowledging the proper interpretation of Scripture to shed some light on the ethical problems of modem day society, without stepping into the boundaries of either a biblicistic/fundamentalistic of Criticism of Scripture interpretation of Scripture. The contextual-paradigmatic approach succeeds in preventing the ethicist to misinterpret Biblical texts that seems to be of importance to the debate of capital punishment and to make a scientific contribution lo important debates in South Africa today, especially those related to the interpretation of the Bible and its use in the development of South Africa. In this way an attempt is made to contribute towards and to provide guidelines for a healthy and responsible society and for the functioning of Christians within the current South African state. The message of the Bible must thus be established in a responsible and valid way, and communicated effectively to society.
- Theology