A Theology Of The New Covenant: The Foundations Of New Testament Theology -- By: Ronald E. Diprose

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 18:2 (Winter 2009)
Article: A Theology Of The New Covenant: The Foundations Of New Testament Theology
Author: Ronald E. Diprose

A Theology Of The New Covenant:
The Foundations Of New Testament Theology

Ronald E. Diprose

Ron Diprose is the academic dean at Istituto Biblico Evangelico Italiano. This work was published in Italian by I.B.E.I. edizioni as a Lux Biblica monograph in 2002. The original title was La Teologia del Nuovo Patto: Elementi Fondamentali della Teologia del Nuovo Testamento. This is the eighth of nine parts.

Chapter 8 New Covenant Ethics


Applying biblical ethics in real life is always challenging because we live in a less than ideal world. For example, how does one obey the apostolic directive to “honor the king” (1 Peter 2:17) when the king is evil or when the political structure of a country does not include a king at all? While obedience in this case calls for careful reflection, in the past there was a consensus that those who follow in the steps of Jesus (cf. 1 Peter 1:21) should obey in principle the words of Peter. Put concisely, they should honor those in authority. They are to do this “for the Lord’s sake” (1 Peter 2:13).1

Today the church is far less sure that biblical ethics are normative for professing Christians. In particular, ethicists question whether it is possible to move beyond statements of fact (descriptive ethics) to statements of value based on universal norms (prescriptive ethics).2 For example, we see the descriptive approach replacing the normative when the chief concern is to help Christians through an experience of divorce and re-marriage rather than to promote the

biblical axiom that God hates divorce (Mal. 2:16). Another field in which Judeo-Christian norms are challenged is bioethics. Nigel M. de S. Cameron foresees, for the field of bioethics, “a radical divergence of perspectives between those who would maintain the Judeo-Christian anthropology and those whose very starting point is its repudiation.”3 He comments, “In the twilight of our great civilization, we face not secularism but resurgent neo-paganism. Just as humane, Christian-Hippocratic medicine was the jewel in the crown of Judeo-Christian culture, so the new barbarism is making itself most evident in the restructuring of our medical values.”4

The Normative Nature Of New Covenant Ethics

Some evangeli...

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