Sacredness of Life and the Ethics of Justice: An Appreciative Evangelical Response to David Gushee’s Post-Evangelical Approach

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Lee Spitzer


In his new book, Introducing Christian Ethics: Core Convictions for Christians Today, Gushee revisits theological positions he and Glen H. Stassen originally articulated in Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context. Correlated with Gushee’s move toward a post-evangelical perspective, the new publication reframes his earlier evangelical positions and proposes post-evangelical positions for conversation by the church. This article offers an appreciative yet critical response to Gushee’s evolving understanding of sacredness of life and justice ethics, in light of selected traditional evangelical and Baptist core convictions and justice concerns. Three specific areas of conversational concern are highlighted. First, the implications of Gushee’s rejection of capacity to frame a definition of the image of God in human beings and replacement of it with an allegiance to God’s command. Second, the article considers Gushee’s concept of the moral status of human worth and introduces the theme of personality into the discussion of imago Dei. Third, that sacredness of life convictions inevitably influence justice ethics. Gushee’s earlier work centred on Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust. The article considers how personality as an integral aspect of imago Dei impacts the ethical discussion of Christian justice concerns in relation to the Holocaust and racism.

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Author Biography

Lee Spitzer

Revd Dr Lee B. Spitzer ministered as the General Secretary of the American Baptist Churches USA from 2017–2019, and now in retirement serves as the Historian for the Baptist World Alliance and as an Affiliate Professor of Church History for Northern Seminary, Chicago, USA.