Original Research

The church and moral decision-making

J. M. (Koos) Vorster
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 73, No 3 | a4567 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v73i3.4567 | © 2017 J. M. (Koos) Vorster | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 March 2017 | Published: 15 August 2017

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J. M. (Koos) Vorster, Faculty of Theology, Unit for Reformed Theology, North-West University, South Africa

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This article deals with the burning issue of moral decision-making by major church assemblies,such as regional and general synods. Moral decisions by church assemblies have createdmany conflicts in churches in the past and at times did an injustice to the prophetic testimonyof churches in society. The question arises as follows: To what extent should church assembliesbe involved in moral decision-making? The central theoretical argument of this study is thatalthough the notion of a ‘biblical ethic’ is valid, synods and council of churches should beextremely cautious and even hesitant to formulate moral decisions because of differences inhermeneutical approaches and the principle that the church is primarily the ‘local congregationof believers’. The church is not in the first instance a national, general or international socialstructure that should pass conclusive resolutions and that testifies by way of moderators orelected church leaders. To unfurl this central theoretical argument, the researcher refers to thecurrent hermeneutical discourses and proposes certain ideas regarding the possible role ofthe church with respect to moral decision-making. In view of the information provided, apoint of view is advocated regarding the way in which churches could be involved in moraldecision-making today.


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