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    SITUATIONAL ETHICS

    At the end of the Battle of Britain, British vice-marshal Alexander Adams was driving to a meeting at his headquarters when he came upon a sign: ROAD CLOSED -- UNEXPLODED BOMB. Adams called over the policeman on duty, hoping he might be able to suggest an alternate route. "Sorry, you can't go through," said the policeman as he approached the car. "The bomb is likely to go off at any minute now." Then he caught sight of Adams's uniform. "I'm very sorry, sir," he said, "I didn't know you were a wing commander. It is quite all right for you to go through."

    With "advisors" like that, who needs enemies! Although that policeman -- who was trained to respect rank -- momentarily allowed his deference to a vice-marshal to overcome his good sense, Adams had better sense than to follow his advice.

    Today in the Word, May 2, 1993.


    In the survey taken in early 1991, interviewees were asked, "Do you agree strongly, agree somewhat, disagree somewhat, or disagree strongly with the following statement: There is no such thing as absolute truth; different people can define truth in conflicting ways and still be correct." Only 28% of the respondents expressed strong belief in "absolute truth," and more surprisingly, only 23 percent of born-again or evangelical Christians accepted this idea! What a telling revelation! If more than 75 percent of the followers of Christ say nothing can be known for certain, does this indicate, as it seems, that they are not convinced that Jesus existed, that He is who He claimed to be, that His Word is authentic, that God created the heavens and earth, or that eternal life awaits the believer? That's what the findings appear to mean. If there is no absolute truth, then by definition nothing can be said to be absolutely true. To the majority, apparently, it's all relative. Nothing is certain. Might be. Might not be. Who knows for sure? Take your guess and hope for the best!

    James Dobson, December 1991 letter, quoting George Barna, What Americans Believe.


    When regard for truth has been broken down or even slightly weakened, all things will remain doubtful. St. Augustine I would not tell one lie to save the souls of all the world.

    John Wesley.


    One never errs more safely than when one errs by too much loving the truth.

    Augustine.


    News Events

    It's out, and it's hot: a discussion guide on sexuality for Lutherans. Released last month, it is sure to spark debate both in and out of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) between now and the next ELCA assembly in 1993. "Human Sexuality and the Christian Faith," a 55 page document produced by the denomination's Division for Church and Society, was designed to prompt dialogue and set the stage for a future ELCA social statement on sex issues. The material urges readers to examine with an open mind different views about marriage, promiscuity, and homosexuality.

    At it's core the document questions biblical passages concerning homosexuality and suggests that scriptural references to same-sex relationships need to be re-interpreted in light of modern theories about sexual orientation. "We must distinguish between moral judgments regarding same-sex activity in biblical times and in our own time," the report states. It differentiates "exploitative" homosexual activity from same-sex relationships" in which there is mutual love and commitment." The document challenges ELCA members to evaluate prejudices against homosexuals, insisting that "what we personally find offensive is not necessarily sinful."

    Members of a 24 member United Methodist Church (UMC) panel could not agree on whether homosexuality is a sin, so the committee's 14,000-word report on the subject was referred to the denomination's national policy-making body, which will convene in Louisville, Ky., in May. The report contains a majority statement, signed by 17 committee members, recommending the removal of an assertion in the church's book of rules that homosexual practice and Christianity are incompatible. A minority report, signed by four members, argues for retaining the current language. The panel agreed that biblical references to sexual practices should not be viewed as binding "just because they are in the Bible." Fierce debate is expected at this year's General Conference because at least 35 of the UMC's 72 regional bodies have approved resolutions calling for preserving the traditional stance.

    Copyright 1992 by Media Management, P.O. Box 21433, Roanoke,VA.

    Note: In 1992 these were issues facing the Methodist and Presbyterian Churches. The issues are still with us today. To date (1998), the Conservative positions have been upheld by both denominations.