The church and moral decision-making

Vorster, J.M. North-West University, SA (2017) CC
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 created many conflicts in churches in the past and at times did an injustice to the prophetic testimony of churches in society. The question arises as follows: To what extent should church assemblies be involved in moral decision-making? The central theoretical argument of this study is that although the notion of a ‘biblical ethic’ is valid, synods and council of churches should be extremely cautious and even hesitant to formulate moral decisions because of differences in hermeneutical approaches and the principle that the church is primarily the ‘local congregation of believers’. The church is not in the first instance a national, general or international social structure that should pass conclusive resolutions and that testifies by way of moderators or elected church leaders. To unfurl this central theoretical argument, the researcher refers to the current hermeneutical discourses and proposes certain ideas regarding the possible role of the church with respect to moral decision-making. In view of the information provided, a point of view is advocated regarding the way in which churches could be involved in moral decision-making today.