Principles of Conduct: Aspects of Biblical Ethics

Principles of Conduct: Aspects of Biblical Ethics

Principles of Conduct: Aspects of Biblical Ethics

Principles of Conduct: Aspects of Biblical Ethics

Synopsis

This classic study by theologian John Murray clearly shows the organic unity and continuity of the biblical ethic. Murray addresses ethical questions relating to such topics as marriage, labor, capital punishment, truthfulness, Jesus teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, law and grace, and the fear of God. Though the Ten Commandments furnish the core of the biblical ethic, Murray points the reader again and again to all of Scripture as the basic authority in matters of Christian conduct.

Excerpt

Had John Murray been blessed with the luminous literary grace of a C. S. Lewis, or the punchy rhetoric of a Charles Hodge, his name would have been up in lights for the past half-century as the finest Reformed theologian of our time. Unfortunately, his genius was not in his prose style; his readers have always found him tough sledding. Also, he interacted mainly with older literature, so that those for whom history was bunk and who wanted only snappy comments on the latest theological fads and fancies had to go elsewhere. Few have yet appreciated him at his true worth.

He did not in fact lack lucidity; the precision with which he manipulated Latinized abstract nouns achieved a logical flow that was sharp-edged, never leaving the slightest doubt as to what he was saying or why he was saying it. Nor was he out of touch with the mid-twentieth-century’s theological headaches; he dealt with the mistakes of current biblicisms and anti-biblicisms fully and faithfully, as the reader of this book will see. But he invested his creativity not so much in apologetics and polemics as in strengthening the basic framework of the Reformed faith by a methodological marriage of confessional affirmation to what would nowadays be called a canonical exegetical technique. Himself an inheritor of the combined wisdom of Puritanism and Princeton, he did his work as a trustee of the Reformed tradition (the “purer theology” as it was once called, and, as Murray would have said, with good reason). His special contribution was to buttress and burnish this heritage through the discipline of biblical theology, practiced according to the redemptive-historical approach that the great (if occasionally muddy) Geerhardus Vos, one of Murray’s teachers, pioneered a century ago.

Principles of Conduct, first published in 1957, is in fact Murray’s masterpiece. It is best read as an exploring and fleshing out, and thereby a testing and verifying, of three . . .

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