(New Morality). Approach to human behavior that claims to make love the starting point and dominant control for every facet of human existence; cites such Bible passages as Lv 19:18; Mt 22:3739; Ro 13:810; Gl 5:14; Ja 2:8; 1 Jn 2:10. Does not try to eliminate laws but seeks flexibility in their application; holds a midway position bet. antinomianism and legalism. Based on presuppositions: (1) Persons are more important than things; (2) Love is the ultimate criterion for making ethical decisions; (3) What love demands in any specific instance depends on the situation; (4) Situation(al) ethics is in harmony with Scripture and great teachers of the ch.
The name and some proponents of situation(al) ethics have caused the term to be assoc. with sexual freedom, anarchy, relativism, and lawlessness. EL
J. A. T. Robinson, Christian Morals Today (Philadelphia, 1964); J. Fletcher, Situation Ethics: The New Morality (Philadelphia, 1966); J. Knox, The Ethic of Jesus in the Teaching of the Church: Its Authority and Its Relevance (New York, 1961); C. H. Dodd, Gospel and Law: The Relation of Faith and Ethics in Early Christianity (New York, 1951); O. S. Barr, The Christian New Morality: A Biblical Study of Situation Ethics (New York, 1969).
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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