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Adiaphora

(830 words)

Author(s): Ulrich, Hans G.
1. “Adiaphora,” from the Gk. pl. adiaphora (cf. Lat. sing. indifferens), denotes things that are indifferent. A broad range of usage for what is permitted or what is between permission and proscription has helped to determine its historical significance. The term occurs in the ethics of antiquity, especially in Stoicism. The Stoics tried to see how things that encounter us or acts that we perform have a moral significance that is not intrinsic to them. Christian ethics adopted the term but used it in many different ways as it fa…

Confession of Faith

(1,484 words)

Author(s): Ulrich, Hans G.
1. The Nature and Task of Confession In confession, the Christian community (Congregation) gives its expression to God’s saving action and fellowship with Christ. It accepts God’s saving action, his Word and sacrament, and it confesses Jesus Christ as the only basis of faith. In him the community also confesses God’s comprehensive work as the Trinity. Through confession, faith in Jesus Christ takes a binding communal form, even as it includes personal confession. It embraces faith, life, and action. As…

Neighbor

(996 words)

Author(s): Ulrich, Hans G.
1. Biblical Teaching In the biblical tradition the Christian concept of the neighbor finds its chief place in the twofold commandment of love (Matt. 22:35–40; Mark 12:28–34; Luke 10:25–37), which brings together two OT commandments (Deut. 6:4–5 and Lev. 19:18). The concept of the neighbor overlaps and impinges on that of the brother. In OT ethics it includes special protection for aliens. The aim of the so-called second table of the Decalogue is to secure the rights of the neighbor. Prophetic proclamation (Prophet, Prophecy, 1) also …

Property

(3,715 words)

Author(s): Ulrich, Hans G.
1. Concept “Property” is a basic concept in the ordering of human life in society to the extent that it is regulated and shaped in such a way that individuals, groups, and legal entities can own material goods or income-producing rights or goods. What counts as property in a society cannot be put in a single definition. There have always been many forms of property characterized by different spheres (landed, personal, income-producing), different handling (use, misuse, control), and different lega…

Discipleship, Christian

(4,235 words)

Author(s): Sim, David | Köpf, Ulrich | Ulrich, Hans G.
[German Version] I. New Testament – II. Church History – III. Ethics I. New Testament 1. Discipleship of Jesus in the Gospels An important aspect of the description of Jesus' activity in the Gospels is his call to discipleship. This call is issued unconditionally and requires an immediate decision. When the disciples hear Jesus' invitation to follow him, they obey at once and follow him (ἀκολουϑεῖν/ akoloutheín; Mark 1:16–20 parr.; 2:13–14 parr.; cf. Luke 5:1–11; John 1:35–51). Others, however,…

Nachfolge Christi

(3,699 words)

Author(s): Sim, David | Köpf, Ulrich | Ulrich, Hans G.
[English Version] I. Neues Testament 1.Nachfolge Jesu in den Evangelien Ein wichtiger Aspekt der Darstellung des Wirkens Jesu in den Evv. ist sein Ruf zur N. Dieser Ruf ergeht bedingungslos und fordert unmittelbare Entscheidung. Wenn die Jünger Jesu Einladung, ihm zu folgen, vernehmen, gehorchen sie sofort und folgen ihm (α᾿κολουϑει˜n̆/akolouthei´n; Mk 1,16–20 parr.; 2,13–14 parr.; vgl. Lk 5,1–11; Joh 1,35–51). Andere verkennen jedoch den bedingungslosen und unmittelbaren Charakter seines Rufes und verpassen so die Gelegenheit, Jesus zu folg…

Good Works

(1,920 words)

Author(s): Beltz, Walter | Krötke, Wolf | Ulrich, Hans G.
[German Version] I. Comparative Religion – II. Dogmatics – III. Ethics I. Comparative Religion In the vocabulary of comparative religious studies, the expression good works (Lat. opera bona) is a metalinguistic concept borrowed from the 16th-century debates of ¶ confessional Christian theologians. It falls within the ethical aspect of religion and presupposes innumerable object-language verifications. Good works are human acts that are assessed positively by a religious community. The criteria are social assent and subjective doctrinal assent. No…

Vocation

(5,411 words)

Author(s): Heesch, Matthias | Klöcker, Michael | Ulrich, Hans G. | Sprondel, Walter M. | Drehsen, Volker | Et al.
[German Version] I. Terminology No term equivalent to vocation is found in classical Greek and Latin. An officium was exercised by virtue of a preexisting status, usually by birth. Trades (including medicine) fulfilled the conditions of a regular vocation (τέχνη/ téchnē), but had no self-awareness reflected in terminology. In the New Testament, κλῆσις/ klḗsis mostly refers to the “calling” of a Christian (1 Cor 7:20); in the national church of Late Antiquity, it referred primarily to the call to the religious life ( vocatio) in contrast to lay status. In Middle High German mys…

Ethics

(14,936 words)

Author(s): Ritschl, Dietrich | Derbolav, Josef | Boraas, Roger S. | Merk, Otto | Gründel, Johannes | Et al.
Overview One may rightly ask whether Jews and Christians really have an ethics per se. For them the law of the Lord is perfect, “reviving the soul” and “making wise the simple” (Ps. 19:7; see also Psalm 119). The Jews carefully expound and specify this law in the Talmud, while Christians see it fulfilled in the risen Lord and find in it an offer of comprehensive freedom and direction. Theologians have made this point, especially when criticizing systems of ethics. Yet believers in every age have theorized about their conduct and fo…