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Should We Talk About Ethical Issues?

by Richard Mansel

This was published on Forthright on May 3, 2005. It may be of use to you in your culture wars. 

Many believe it is a waste of time to study ethical issues such as abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, cloning, etc. Is this a valid complaint?

As Christians, we are in a time of extraordinary challenges both ethically and morally. These ethical issues all involve sin. Euthanasia, Abortion and Cloning involve murder, which is condemned throughout Scripture ( Exodus 20:13; Exodus 9:6). Homosexuality involves sinful sexual relationships that are likewise condemned throughout God’s Word ( Romans 1:26,27; Hebrews 13:4).

We are commanded to condemn sin in all its forms. Paul taught in 2 Timothy 4:2 that we should “Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season” (NKJV) We are told to “preach the whole counsel of God” ( Acts 20:27). Paul said, “woe unto me if I do not preach the gospel!” ( 1 Corinthians 9:16).

Sin is a reproach to God and separates men from God ( Proverbs 14:34; Isaiah 59:1,2). Paul said, “Therefore, watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears” ( Acts 20:31). Clearly we are to preach against sin. The question then becomes, are there certain sins we should speak out against and others we should ignore?

There are two reasons why we would avoid speaking out against certain sins. First, we would avoid speaking out because we would be afraid of offending those who practice certain sins. However, that shows that we fear men rather than God (Matthew 10:28). It also shows that we do not love souls enough to steer them toward God.

Second, we would avoid speaking out against certain sins because we are sickened by them. In Revelation 3:16, we read that the Christians of Laodicea were lukewarm against sin and for God. Therefore, God was ready to “spew them out of His mouth” because they offended him so much. God has a far greater disgust and hatred of sin than we do. Yet, it never prevented him from speaking against certain kinds of sin.

Denial has never been a successful defense against sin. Lot and his family lived in Sodom and were in denial over what was happening there. When the angels came to take Lot and his family out of the city, they resisted. Lot’s wife longed for the city and mourned for its destruction. The sin around them had become so commonplace they had to be shaken out of their moral sleep.

Ethical issues are changing so fast that it is important to teach against them. If we fail to condemn them, our silence will be seen as endorsement. Satan is very convincing in his arguments and we must counter them ( John 8:44).

Let us say we refuse to preach on euthanasia, for example. Our children are taught in school and on television that it is morally acceptable. They hear nothing contrary from parents or preachers.

The time comes when we are older and in a nursing home. Our bills are mounting and our children are tired of taking care of us. Our children consider euthanasia, and since they have not been educated on the issue, they choose to end our lives. Subsequently, they lose their souls for being murderers. So how has it benefitted any of the people involved to have refused to preach or study about euthanasia?

Martin Niemoller, imprisoned for his stand against the Nazi Regime, said, “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”